The Makahiki’s purpose throughout Hawaiian history was to signify a time of rest to honor the God of Peace, Lono. Labor was prohibited during this time for all to enjoy feasts, games, and strengthening of the body. On Thursday February 21st, 2019 the Panina Makahiki event was held on UHMC’s Great Lawn where all seven of the Hawaiian Immersion Schools on Maui gathered together to participate in Hawaiian games for the closing of the Makahiki season. In honor of the season, some of the games the children played during the Panina Makahiki were: alo ‘ia, kōnane, haka moa, loulou, kukini, pā uma, ‘ulu maika, moa pahe‘e, and hukihuki. Students of all ages were encouraged to interact amongst each other during the event for more exposure to ‘ōlelo Hawaii, or Hawaiian language. Music was also performed by King Kekaulike High School – students donned ukulele and guitars while singing to the other Hawaiian Immersion School students in ‘ōlelo Hawaii. Kaleo Kealoha of Wailuku’s Pūnanaleo O Maui, when asked for a quote, simply stated: “Lono hīkāmakahiki”, which means “To spread the makahiki traditions.”
Kumu Ipolani Medeirez of Kula Kaiapuni O Maui believes Panina Makahiki is all about showing the cultural value for students. Participating within this event was more for the community gathering aspects. By connecting the Hawaiian immersion schools and UHMC, the children are being exposed to ‘ōlelo Hawaii being used outside of the classroom, positively reinforcing this connection of language and application in Hawaii. Medierez even references the name of UHMC’s student lounge building, Pilina, which means relationship, as a nod toward what the Panina Makahiki is all about.
Kahele Dukelow, Ohua Morando, and Ka‘imi Hanohano have collaborated for over a decade now as the coordinators of the annual Panina Makahiki. Dukelow and Morando agreed that the most important aspect was bringing ‘ōlelo Hawaii together and participating in Hawaiian Tradition. From Lahaina, to Paia, Hana, Upcountry, and so forth, the seven immersion schools of Maui gathered to UHMC for the opportunity to learn, play, and experience a well-known cultural practice of Hawaii as a community. The isolation of ‘ōlelo Hawaii being used mostly within the classrooms of these immersion schools may create a disconnection for using the language in daily life, but with this opportunity, the children can see how much of an impact learning ‘ōlelo Hawaii truly has.