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Hawaii Ambassadors

Industry contemporaries keep practicing ancient island traditions that sustain us

Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama is a kalo farmer at Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill on Kauai. -- Photo courtesy Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau

Native Hawaiians know that the human world and the natural world are reciprocal. Simple in its concept as well as powerful in action, the notion is that if people “malama,” or “care for,” the land, the land will provide an abundance of life. This concept, in Hawaiian antiquity a guiding principle in the lives of all people, instilled in them an integral sense of “kuleana,” or “responsibility,” to protect and perpetuate the oceans, the land and all living beings therein.

The modern-day model of the reciprocal bonding between humans and nature is found in the minds, practices and examples of cultural practitioners in Hawaii who live by the sustainable doctrines of their ancestors.

Here are stories provided by the Hawaii Visitors and Conventions Bureau.

KAUAI

Kauai Kalo Farmer Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama

Greg Solatorio (at left) is a cultural practitioner with his dad, Pilipo, at the Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike on Molokai. -- Photo courtesy Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau

There’s rarely a break and never a day off in the life of a kalo, or taro, farmer, especially one who is as driven as Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama. At her job at Hoopulapula Haraguchi Rice Mill on Kauai, she won’t have it any other way.

For Lyndsey, each day is an opportunity to contribute to the legacy passed down to her from great-great-grandparents who worked the very same fields she does in Hanalei on Kauai’s North Shore. Whether harvesting kalo in preparation for her ecotours, or delivering a load of kalo burgers, kalo hummus or kulolo (a kalo dessert) to her lunch wagon just down the road in Hanalei, Lyndsey works each day to perpetuate traditional farming practices and to breathe life into the land that has sustained her family for generations.

To see it firsthand, visit the century-old rice mill and the popular food truck Hanalei Taro & Juice.

For more details on Lyndsey Haraguchi-Nakayama, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3UncG2Mzuk.

MAUI

Maui boy Isaac Bancaco is executive chef of Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort. -- Photo courtesy Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau

Isaac Bancaco, executive chef of Andaz Maui, Wailea Resort.

Food is a universal mode of connectivity. It’s a reason for the coming together of people for the shared experience of nourishing the body, mind and soul. Maui boy Isaac Bancaco, executive chef at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort, keeps all of this in mind in cooking, blending the Filipino-Hawaiian cuisine of his childhood, his eco-conscious knowledge as a lifelong fisherman and the culinary expertise gained in his professional studies to infuse each of his artfully prepared dishes with the flavors and spirit of Hawaii. Taught from a young age the importance of conserving ocean, plant and land resources, Isaac learned to take only what was needed from nature and never leave anything wasted. He brings that same perspective to every dish he serves at Andaz Maui, adapting his menus to reflect ingredients local fishermen and farmers are harvesting at any given time of the year.

To learn more: Taste Isaac’s sustainable cuisine at Kaana Kitchen at the Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort.

For more details on Isaac Bancaco, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4JODO18ndc.

MOLOKAI

Big Island surfer Cliff Kapono applies Western academics to his study of Hawaiiana. -- Photo courtesy Hawaii Convention & Visitors Bureau

Greg Solatorio, a cultural practitioner, Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike.

Halawa, its name deriving from Hawaiian translating to “sufficient breath” or “life,” is a protected and verdant valley tucked into Molokai’s remote east side. The valley is home to father-son team Pilipo and Greg Solatorio, descendants of the first settlers of Molokai and Halawa Valley. His knowledge shaped by his father, Greg lives sustainably off of resources provided him throughout the Halawa Valley watershed as his ancestors did for hundreds of years. Whether tending to kalo fields and fruit orchards in Halawa, or fishing from the valley’s ocean-facing shore, Greg lives his kuleana as a steward of his family land. The owner and operator of Halawa Valley Falls Cultural Hike, he also shepherds visitors through his ancestral lands, sharing the history of Halawa Valley, the people who once resided there and the culture.

For more details on Greg Solatorio, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTtbXUf-t_A.

HAWAII ISLAND

Cliff Kapono, pro surfer and chemist.

When not out on the ocean surfing waves, Cliff Kapono applies his western education as a chemist to examine the relationship between people and nature. He links human interconnectedness with the natural environment down to a molecular level, proving that humans not only have an impact on nature, but that nature leaves its mark on humans.

Through his research, Cliff has been able to scientifically articulate a relationship his Hawaiian ancestors have long understood: that the undeniable interdependence of people and the elements exist.

In identifying the similarities between the DNA of humans and that of the natural world, Cliff hopes to show people how all living things are truly connected.

For more details on Cliff Kapono, visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DN-0w_FzMpI.