Kaimuki High unveils dazzling mural inspired by Malama Honua


Students in the Hospitality Academy researched themes and connected to cultural values to bring "Ho‘o Kahewai, Ho‘oulu ‘Aina" to life. The Worldwide Voyage of the Hōkūle‘ā is represented as a reminder of the courage of that journey, and to inspire Mālama Honua — care for Island Earth.

​​​​​​​​​​A new mural graces Building D at Kaimuki High School showcasing the ancient Hawaiian value of wahi pana (sense of place), and celebrating the Worldwide Voyage of Hōkūle‘ā, and the call to Mālama Honua​. The Mele Mural project is the culmination of work by 184 Kaimuki Hospitality Academy students. The title of the vibrant mural is Ho‘o Kahewai, Ho‘oulu ‘Aina — “when the water flows, the land thrives.”

More than 180 students worked on project over four months, with guidance from artist Estria​ and Kaimuki High teachers Lori Chun and Kaleo Hanohano. It represents a source of Kaimuki pride and an example of service to community.

"The project design required all students to contribute their individual interests and talents to the mural,” said Hanohano. “The conceptual phase included techniques of graphic design as well as contemplation and meditation to determine the themes of the mural." Fleshing out these themes required that the students gain an understanding about the Hawaiian cultural connection with water by visiting the Kānewai Lo‘i at UH Mānoa. (The water that feeds the taro patches there runs adjacent to the school on the ewa side of campus.)

In the production phase, students brush-painted, shaded, and then spray-painted under the tutelage of artist and mentor Estria. In the presentation (unveiling) stage, students introduced the mural to the community via Hawaiian chanting, singing, symbolic alignment of the stone boundaries (pōhaku) of the ahupua‘a, and offering hoʻokupu in celebration.

The 200-foot, five-panel mural describes the tale of the beautiful princess of Mānoa, Kahala o Puna, and the co-mingling of the fresh waters of Kane and the salt waters of Kanaloa in Kaimuki (Waikiki Ahupua‘a). Familiar creatures of the land and sea — the pueo (owl), heʻe (octopus), and the manō (shark) — are the ʻaumakua (guardians) that represent an ancient relationship between people and the land. The mural brings this relationship to life with a tangible connection to the land that inspires the need for Mālama Honua, as an encroaching concrete jungle frames the landscapes. (See gallery, below, or view here​.)

The project not only reinforced the Hawaiian values, but it also enabled students to achieve the Hospitality Academy standards, and exercise general learner outcomes (GLOs).

Throughout the project, the students were called upon to display ahonui, patience and perseverance to achieve the goal, as a Self-directed Learner (GLO 1); olu olu, a sense of peacefulness and harmony, as a Community Contributor (GLO 2); ha‘aha, humility and modesty, as a Complex Thinker (GLO 3); akahai, deep sense of appreciation, as a Quality Producer (GLO 4); lokahi, unity and harmony in action, as an Effective Communicator (GLO 5); and ‘ike, the proper acquisition of knowledge, as an Ethical User of Technology (GLO 6).

While the mural project concludes months of lessons for the students, the learning continues for all those who gaze upon it. 

  • VIew Oiwi TV video​ of the mural in progress


Contact Information

Communications and Community Affairs Office

Phone: 808-586-3232

Email: doe_info@hawaiidoe.org


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