Halau’s new home subject of presentation

Keali‘i Reichel (left) and Koa Hewahewa will highlight efforts to create a new home for Reichel’s halau at Hokunui Maui LLC Upcountry in the Pi‘iholo area.

Koa Hewahewa, director of forestry operations for Hokunui Maui LLC, and kumu hula Keali’i Reichel will be featured speakers at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s Talk Story social at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Maui Tropical Plantation Tram Station.

Renowned as one of Hawaii’s most popular recording artists, Reichel is the kumu hula of multi-award winning Halau Ke’alaokamaile, and Koa Hewahewa oversees forestry operations for Hokunui Maui LLC. Their presentation will highlight their collaboration in reforesting a native ecosystem as part of the construction of a new permanent home for Halau Ke’alaokamaile on four acres of donated land in Pi’iholo. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs has provided a grant of $240,000 and project partners include the Hewahewa family (Koa, Kepa, Ka’awa and Kahaku Hewahewa) and Hokunui Maui LLC. The Hewahewa ‘ohana are native reforestation experts. Hokunui Maui, LLC is a land management group developing an innovative regenerative project on a 258-acre property in the Pi’iholo region of Upcountry Maui.

The Frost family purchased the 258-acre Hokunui property in 2012 after more than a century of it having been planted in sugar cane and pineapple.

Efforts to create the halau’s new home and to restore Hokunui’s native ecosystem links culture and agriculture. According to Reichel, “It deepens the practices of halau, because it gets the dancers into the dirt where all of our power comes from. Every chant that we do, everything we chant about — our pule — all has to do with the forest and with the plants that we chant about. It’s all elemental, that part was separated. Here, for us, it’s a melding.”

No-host cocktails and networking will begin at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Dinner is catered by Aria’s Restaurant. RSVP and pay in advance at www.mnhcoc.org or call (808) 757-3045 to pay by phone. The deadline to RSVP is today.

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