Seminar 4 : O’ahu, Day 3

Seminar 4: Day 3, Out Playing In The Field

By Carolyn Unser

Our third day was spent on the east side of Oahu, getting dirty, learning leadership skills, talking story, and, of course, eating. Top 5 activities of the day include:

Punalu’u Beach Hale


1. Punalu’u is a place of abundance.

After waking up in Kamehameha Schools’ (KS) Punalu’u Beach Hale, we traveled mauka into the ahupuaʻa of Punaluʻu. The rich history of the Valley was evident. We learned about the tradition of farming in Punaluʻu for the Koʻolauloa region, as well as about Kamehameha School’s vision for restoring the natural meander to Punalu’u’s stream. Hiapo Cashman, Jr. of UH Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, shared his mana‘o and ʻōlelo for the valley, kalo, and it’s farming method in the loʻi.


Harvesting kalo to process and eat later.


2. Leading with Integrity

Developing leaders isn’t all mud and games; we also take the time to hear from others and tackle tough topics. M’Randa Sandlin is an Assistant Researcher in Public Issues Education at UH Mānoa CTAHR and challenged us to learn critical skills during a presentation that included topics such as ethics vs morals, subjective value systems, and the integral role of leaders for organizational success.

Having the opportunity to learn about leadership qualities is a key component to these four day seminars. We are eager to learn from qualified professionals like M’Randa who has understanding and experience with  societal challenges in situations likely faced in our leadership roles. We are taught and practice valuable tools and strategies to impartially handle ourselves and others in order to move forward, hopefully towards a solution or fair compromise.

3. Ko koa uka, ko koa kai

We were honored with Uncle Danny and his son Kanaloa Bishop in joining us back at the Beach Hale where they were set up to cook the Kalo that we harvested earlier in the day. After introduction to the Bishop’s tie to Punalu‘u and kalo farming, Kanaloa narrated the ʻōlelo of “Ko koa uka, ko koa kai,” meaning “Those of the upland, those of the shore,” speaking to the relationship of sharing abundance between those living in the upland and those living near the shore. This activity set a theme for a fun, casual, and respectful approach to cleaning and pounding the kalo into poi.



4. Social Enterprises Toward Self Sufficiency and Ecological Food Systems

After pounding kalo, we stayed around same area to talk story with Kamuela Enos, Director of Social Enterprise of MAʻO Organic Farms, and Professor Albie Miles of the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu. Both are extraordinary individuals who joined us to talk about their visions and work in the field of agriculture. Kamuela shared his personal experiences and tied them together with the impact MAʻO Farms has had on the community of Waiʻanae and beyond.  Their farming program teaches skills needed for personal and professional development, while providing a pathway of encouragement for youth to further their education at a University level. The farm provides job training and financial opportunities of employment that can be furthered within their program or elsewhere. Prof. Miles supports MAʻO’s program at the University level by teaching agroecology, etc. and encouraging involvement at the political level. Prof. Miles supports his students to use data and science to formulate ideals for sustainable farming systems. He is an advocate for ecological food production and wants to advance the UH program with field trials and involvement at the legislative level.

4. And again, We Know How To Eat!

Pounding poi and learning leadership skills can make a group hungry. Luckily we have those in our group who know where the ono grinds are at! Mahalo to Kealoha Domingo the chef, cultural practitioner, and owner of Nui Kealoha Hawaiʻi, a catering operation. There is little that words can do to capture the tastes of the fresh salad from MAʻO farms, the Kualoa beef lau stew or sweet potato dish with huapia-kine sauce…..simply “broke da mouth” will have to do.


Mahalo to those that helped to organize, host, and teach us. A hui hou kākou!



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