ʻOnipaʻa: Lahaina, Ulu i ka Malu

March 27, 2024 Kawena Komeiji
A social media post depicting pertinent information about an upcoming library event, "'Onipaʻa: Lahaina, Ulu i ka Malu." The post includes a picture of David Kawika Hall, on a boat and holding two fish in front of him.

The next ʻOnipaʻa speaker series will feature David Kawika Hall, who will share his experience as a cultural monitor during the Lahaina recovery process and how the traditional practice and teachings of lua have grounded and sustained him. This is a FREE virtual event and we welcome UHWO students, faculty, staff, and community members to attend to learn more about culture and recovery efforts in Lahaina.

Mahalo to the Nālimakui Native Hawaiian Council, UHWO Political Science, UHWO Hawaiian-Pacific Studies for their support in this series!


David Kawika Hall is born and raised in Wailuku, Maui. He is a cultural practitioner of Lua and an artisan of traditional weapons and fishhooks. Kawika has been practicing the art of lua with Nā Koa Lahaina since 2011 and was a Charter Captain out of Mala and Lahaina Harbor prior to the tragic wildfires. He is currently a Cultural Monitor for the Lahaina recovery process working with the non-profit, Nā ʻAikane ʻo Maui. Kawika is one of 20 cultural monitors from the nonprofit, whose Cultural Center on Front Street was among the 2,200 structures lost in the fires. This nonprofit, led by Keʻeaumoku and Uʻilani Kapu has been a critical part of the relief efforts.


This speaker series started in 2016 and is inspired by the idea of ʻOnipaʻa, its meaning and its history within various political contexts. ʻOnipaʻa was the motto of Kamehameha V who reigned from 1863-1872. During her reign, Queen Liliʻuokalani expanded her motto to “ʻOnipaʻa i ka ʻimi naʻauao” or to “Stand fast in your seeking of wisdom and knowledge.” Following the Overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, “ʻOnipaʻa” became a rallying cry for Kānaka Maoli national pride and resistance to American colonialism. In the modern era, ʻOnipaʻa was the name given to the 100-year commemoration of the Overthrow and mass march held in 1993.

The word, ʻOnipaʻa, combines two seemingly contradictory concepts–ʻoni, “to move, stir, shift, movement, motion” and paʻa, “Firm, solid,… fixed, stuck, secure.” When combined, they are difficult to translate in English and can only be closely approximated as “fixed movement.” In Hawaiian, however, ʻOnipaʻa conveys a sense of resolution, determination, and steadfastness that is grounded in action, motion, and passion, and also carries a historical and political genealogy that is closely tied to Hawaiian sovereignty and independence.


April 4, 2024 from 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Zoom link here: go.hawaii.edu/n5c
Passcode: onipaa

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