Topic: Indigenous

Pele brings new life to Hawai'i

By Rukuwai Tipene-Allen

Pele, the goddess of fire, lightning, dance, wind, and volcanoes.

One who takes and gives.  One of beauty and strength.

Many reports have come out of Hawai'i since the eruption of Kilauea, a lot of them depicting destruction but some Kalapana locals who are in New Zealand say there's a reason behind it.

The Kamehameha Dance Group has been traveling the North Island teaching and sharing.

"Where she's flowing right now is the main point where the 'Rapid Ohia Death' broke out and the first thing it takes out is ohia [trees], like pohutukawa," says Kapuaoluolumaikalani Peleiholani-Blankenfeld.  

The Rapid Ohia Death is a fungus that attacks and can quickly kill ohia trees.

"So when she comes and takes out the land the first thing that grows is the ohia."

'It's started in the Leilani Estates and now she's going in there and taking out all the ohia and making sure we can grow again without the rotten stuff,"' agrees Alohikapuamikiala Haia Akina. 

Correcting misconceptions from an indigenous perspective is a priority for these locals.

"The first thing we wanted to teach on this trip was our side of the story about Pele.  Don't listen to the hype perspective told by the news," says Kalani Wilson.

The group will return home and begin preparations for the World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education.