Nā Maka O Kalalea – Ambassadors Of Aloha

Timbers Kauaʻi recently had the privilege of welcoming the staff and students of Kanuikapono Public Charter School on property for a culturally-rich gathering that truly embodied aloha. Kanuikapono is located in Anahola here on Kauaʻi, on Hawaiian Homestead lands. They are a Hawaiian-focused K-12 school that provides cultural & experience-based learning opportunities for students and their ʻohana.

Among Kanuikapono’s nearly 300 students is a group called Nā Maka O Kalalea, a mix of students from elementary and secondary levels who are developing their leadership qualities by being student ambassadors of aloha and culture. This particular group of students represent the school and promote the Hawaiian culture across our Kauaʻi island communities and abroad. Nā Maka O Kalalea is also engaged in community voluntarism projects and actively fundraising to travel abroad to New Zealand in Fall 2023.


The hula is also known as “the heartbeat” of Hawaiian culture. It is not only a way of storytelling and honoring the gods in Polynesian culture, but also an expression of identity and native pride. During their visit, we were graced with a beautiful hula performance by the students of Nā Maka O Kalalea. The hula performances shared were songs and dances that the students had learned in school from the very respected Kumu Hula Pua Gomes. The songs speak of the beautiful natural resources significant to Hawaiʻi and showcase the rich history of Hawaiian composers, while also allowing our guests to share a piece of their hearts with us, rooted in a sense of place and cultural identity. It was truly breathtaking.


As we prepare for the start of Makahiki Season next month, our Aloha Ambassadors gave us a preview during our visit with the game of ʻulu maika. As you may remember from our previous blog on Makahiki Season, as the constellation, Makaliʻi or Pleiades reaches its eastern point on the horizon, this marks the changing of seasons and the time of Makahiki. The ʻāina, kai, and celestial bodies manifest the changes associated with the new season – rough seas, abundant rain, and the appearance of significant constellations. Political agendas and tactics are put to rest during this time while celebrating life, health, and vitality takes center stage. Lonoikamakahiki, the god of peace and prosperity is recognized and honored during this season. Makahiki events will host participants competing in the skillful games of ʻulu maika (stone disc bowling,) haka moa (chicken fight,) and hukihuki (tug-of-war.)

ʻUlu maika is game that takes skill and strength. ʻUlu maika stones were fashioned from wood, limestone, sandstone, and river rocks. The game was played traditionally in three (3) different versions.

  1. The first way of competing in ʻulu maika would have players challenge each other in seeing how far they could roll or throw their stone disks.
  2. Another variation of ʻulu maika would have opposing sides roll their stones towards each other. The losing party was determined by the turning or breaking of one’s stone as they collided with each other.
  3. The last and more commonly played variation of ʻulu maika involves the successful and skilled rolling of the stone disks through two stakes placed inches apart from each other on a field of 30-40 yards in length. Each successful pass of the ʻulu maika stones through the stakes would be tallied and the winner was declared with the most passes.

The mission of Kanuikapono Public Charter School is to nurture 21st Century skilled lifelong learners ready to embrace Hawaiian culture and the world of their ancestors with aloha and respect for self, family, community and the environment. We so enjoyed having them as our guests, and look forward to learning more from these talented young people in the very near future.