I have some news about my trip to Maui that I've been waiting a while to share. I think that in the beginning I was so honored and amazed that I wondered if this project was even truly real! My second week in Maui seems in some ways like a dream, a wonderful dream that was actually real.
During my second week there I visited an organization called "Friends of Moku'ula" that was responsible for an incredible walking tour I'd been on 18 months or so before. I hadn't been able to forget about Moku'ula since I'd heard about it and wanted to visit the main offices and become a "Friend".
While there, my vision for Moku'ula was re-ignited. I visited with Akoni Akana, an inspired kumu, Hawaiian cultural expert, and the Executive Director of the Friends of Moku'ula. Moku'ula is a sacred site to the people of Hawaii; it was the spiritual and political center of the Hawaiian Kingdom for hundreds of years. Due to years of cultural upheaval and the influence of missionaries, Moku'ula fell into disrepair and neglect. In the early 1900's it was even covered over and became a baseball field.
Interestingly, the covering over of Moku'ula preserved it.
Now, there is a grassroots effort to restore Moku'ula to the glory it once held and still holds in the hearts of many who love Hawaii. Akoni Akana has a vision for Moku'ula that will restore this vital archaeological site to its former significance, complete with a royal residence, auxillary buildings, a mausoleum, a pond fed by underground springs, educational historical and cultural exhibits, and and more. Even more important than the physical significance and restoration is the spiritual significance of Moku'ula. It symbolizes many Hawaiian values that were suppressed and that unknowing but effectively predatory visitors attempted to stamp out, but that live on nevertheless.
Akoni Akana asked me to help him to tell the story of Moku'ula. I am now writing a book with him about Moku'ula that will be for visitors and tourists and others, to help them to understand the power and significance of Moku'ula. It will tell the stories about Moku'ula that are so important, and that are on the verge of becoming forgotten.
We hope that the restoration of Moku'ula will accelerate as more and more people understand the importance of this vital historic site to the Hawaiian people. Non-Hawaiians too can benefit enormously from learning about and incorporating into their own world-view vital Hawaiian values, such as Lokahi (oneness), Malama (caring for), Pono (Balance), and so much more.
I am very, very honored and blessed to be involved in this project. Although I'll be putting my novel on the back burner for a while, in a way I won't, as the project will assist in my understanding of the Hawaiian people, language, and values in a way that will dramatically enrich my novel; my novel takes place in Maui, of course :)
This brings me one step closer to my dream of living in Maui, and gives me ties to loved ones there in Lahaina. It is more than a project for me...it is my heart.
~Pictures by LoveHubbie Mark (except for pictures of Akoni Akana...not sure where I found them...if you know, please let me know)