Huaka’i to Big Island

It’s taken me about a week to process and absorb my trip to the Big Island with my halau for a workshop. I learned so much and came back with a warm, filled heart. This post is mainly a travel diary of the things I saw and learned. Be sure to click the pictures and read the captions because they are all part of this story!

Thursday, May 17

It was difficult getting to Hawaii. This trip meant a lot to me and it was important for me to go because I had missed the first workshop with my halau. I didn’t have much trouble choosing between my college’s annual luau or this trip with my halau, but I still felt bittersweet that I was missing out on something. I knew I had to go.

Right when the wheels touched the ground, I began to tear up. I knew that this trip was going to change my life.

I saw my hula sisters for the first time in forever. It was like nothing changed! They missed my goofiness during class and I missed being with my second family. We visited a lot of sacred and historical places around the island.

The “grass hut” is called a heiau, placed in honor of King Kamehameha the Great’s death in Kona, HI.
The area where around the birthplace of Kamehameha IV.
This is the map of where we were walking around.
We visited the Lekeleke Burial Grounds which was a very sacred and spiritual place.
This may look like a bunch of rocks to tourists, but it is sacred land. These grounds had lots of energy and emotion attached to it.

I remember feeling energized, extremely curious, and wanting to “go-go-go” right when I got there. Thank goodness we went to go settle down inside our Airbnb after a day of adventuring. Here are some pictures from outside of the house we stayed in Hilo, HI. (away from the erupting Kilauea volcano)

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Friday, May 18

Most of our workshop took place inside our home. I learned a couple of Hawaiian chants and a dance about the snow goddess, Poliahu. Later that day we drove to Mauna Kea but our car couldn’t make it to the top. It was okay though because everything happened for a reason.

The sun popped out just for us at the base of Mauna Kea. There, we got to speak to the Kanaka Rangers–men who stay at the base of the mountain in light of the issues about Mauna Kea and Hawaiian land. They stay to “keep Hawaiian land in Hawaiian hands.”

Saturday, May 19


I visited Waipi’o Valley and I was in absolute awe. The nature all around us spoke to us in special ways that I can barely describe and put into words. There, we learned another dance about the waterfall: Hi’ilawe.

I was able to dance in front of Hi’ilawe and that was the highlight of my trip. I’ve been dancing for 13 years now but I have never been able to dance in front of the subject my song was talking about. This was a moment I will never forget.

Later that night, we had ho’ike or a show for ourselves. Without a big audience, the purpose was to dance for the land. Because we learned so much from it, it was only right to give back to the land. It was nice to dance next to my hula sisters again!

Sunday, May 20

This was my last day on the island because I had to go back to school the next day. Our workshop neared to an end. We took pictures as a group and reflected on our time there. The bonds that we all made on the island will never be forgotten.

Ha'a Hula
Why can’t I find the normal picture? This sums us up in a nutshell.

The day ended with us visiting the beach and giving back to the ocean. As you can see, all of us have an adornment worn in our hair which we made from the leaf called palapalai, which is like a fern. Because we borrowed from the land, we gave it back to the ocean to close up our workshop and trip. I was the first one to leave, so all of my hula sisters dropped me off the airport after.


This is only a small look into my trip. If I were to write about every single detail, it would be a short book! Plus, these aren’t even ALL of the pictures because many of us were living in the moment and absorbing it all in. Being on the island was truly an amazing experience. I still find it difficult to put most of it into words because I learned and saw so much, thanks to my Kumu and Auntie Noe Noe. I know that we will be back again one day, and I look forward to the rest of my dance journey alongside my Kumu, alaka’i sisters, and the rest of the haumana.

Thank you for listening.




2 thoughts on “Huaka’i to Big Island

  1. MAMA DUCK says:

    Loved this! You’re correct. There are NO words in describing this trip. You just have to had been there ! Love you !


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