On Friday July 8th, Maui Ocean Center celebrated the planting of kalo, the Hawaiian name for taro. Taro is a vegetable plant, producing a starchy tuber oftentimes used to make poi. Kalo requires great cultivation and care; Hawaiian culture describes the relationship between farmers and their kalo as if the plants were their “beloved children”:  He keiki aloha na mea kanu (Beloved children are the plants).

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According to our Cultural Director, Kekai Kapu, July 8th was the best time for planting kalo and to go fishing, as the kalo is said to grow straight up for three to six nights after the new moon. Fishing is optimal before the ocean tide change along with the moon’s waxing and waning phases.

The celebration included Hawaiian oli (chant), planting of the kalo by Maui Ocean Center’s directors and managers, and a traditional ‘awa ceremony – a ritual that brings leaders together to set the foundation for commitments made to support the kumu, or root, of Maui Ocean Center.

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Mahalo nui loa to our Cultural Director, Kekai Kapu, guest Hawaiian cultural practitioner and advisor Ke’eaumoku Kapu, Hawaiian cultural practitioner and farmer Namea’a Hoshino, Hawaiian cultural practitioner, Hawaiian language makua, and farmer Kumu Koi Lum, and lo’i kalo farmer apprentice Bronson Adric.

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The kalo represents the cultural, physical, and spiritual anchor of Maui Ocean Center.