Contrast: Who is Hāloa and how is this icon of Hawaiian culture manifested into this project?
Daniel: Hāloanakalaukapalili is the ancestral name of the first child of Wakea and Hoʻohokukalani. Their child did not survive after birth, and from the spot of his burial came forth the first kalo plant. Their second child Hāloa became the first living Hawaiian from whom all Hawaiians have descended. In their relationship, each brother in his own way cares for the other and in so doing creates a perpetual, sustainable, healthy, rich lifestyle. As the three young women involved in this film seek out what it means to say “I am Hāloa,” they will explore their genealogical, practical and cultural connections to Hāloanakalaukapalili.
What is the difference between pa’ia’ai and poi?
Poi made in the kupunaʻs days was based on a recipe for food preservation. The ancestral recipe for poi first requires making paiai then mixing the pa’ia’ai with water to make poi. For folks today, the question between the difference between poi and pa’ia’ai is this: Commercial Poi is usually from “purple taro” and based on Department of Health Food Code is regulated based on the amount of “solids vs. water” in the finished product. Pa’ia’ai is based on different family techniques and is made from almost any type of Hawaiian kalo grown in backyards and valleys across the islands. pa’ia’ai is the term generally used for hand-pounded, undiluted kalo wrapped in ti leaf.
Where did you learn how to ku’i kalo?
My first experience with ku‘i‘ai was when i was 12 and my father started to work at Ka‘ala farms in Wai‘anae. He was introduced to ku‘i‘ai by community educators Eddie Kaanana and Walter Paolo. Today, I learn something different every time I sit down to ku‘i. Paying attention to the kalo, the board and the stone that I use means gaining something new in every encounter with Hāloa.
Why is the slow food movement important to the people of Hawai‘i?
Healthy, sustainable food is grown using practices that benefit the surrounding community, farms and families. This takes time and the slow food movement really helped to identify the needs of the farm to table movement by taking a two-fold approach: one being highlighting the practices of eating slow food and the other focusing on policies that enable slow food to grow. The food industry in Hawai‘i is one of the largest growth potential industries—as more people begin to value eating from the place they live, the practices that will ultimately help us to live abundantly as an island community will grow.
When will the “I Am Hāloa” 90-day journey of self-discovery under the guidance of their kumu and kalo ku’i practitioner begin?
The journey that Lahela, La‘ahia and Tayler began on February 18, and the girls recently celebrated the 30-day mark. Since their challenge began, they have inspired some of their siblings, parents, classmates and teachers to take the challenge alongside them.