17 Apr 2014

Bridging Heaven and Earth, Nurturing the cultural ties of Lanikuhonua

Bridging Heaven and Earth, Nurturing the cultural ties of Lanikuhonua

Lanikūhonua, “Where Heaven Meets Earth,” is the cultural refuge at the entrance to Ko Olina, where kupuna, the respected elders, teach a variety of Hawaiian arts from singing, hula and music to knowledge about medicine plants and other natural resources.

Here, Aunty Nettie Tiffany shares personal stories of Alice Kamokila Campbell, who moved to this secluded spot in the 1930s and transformed the one-time barren fishing village into a tropical Eden. Nettie’s mother, a kahu, or spiritual adviser, befriended Mrs. Campbell.

“We started coming out to Ko Olina in the ’50s. Kamokila became like a hanai (adoptive) grandmother.

“Being Hawaiian wasn't fashionable when I was growing up. I was very fortunate. As a kahu, my mother retained the language, the art and the crafts—the culture and rituals."

“My dad was the original Indiana Jones. He’d wake us in the morning and tell us we’re going to go holo holo, which meant down to the ocean. We’d go fishing. We’d dive in and hook the nets on rocks. It was wonderful.”

When her mother passed, Nettie would inherit her position as kahu. Now, Aunty’s days are devoted to weddings, baby blessings and the blessing of new houses and businesses.

“I blessed a baby and they want me to come and get my hoʻokupu (gift). The last time they did this, it was a Pomeranian. I have this feeling it’s another four-legged hoʻokupu.”

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