a Hopeful Future
KAULUAKALANA is a community-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that was founded in 2019 by kamaʻāina of Kailua, those who have been raised by the lands and leaders of their ahupuaʻa to chart and navigate a course leading to kanaka (people) and ʻāina (land) reunited in a relationship that feeds us physically, intellectually, culturally, and spiritually. Traveling in the wake of those who came before, we are committed to ʻāina restoration and education, cultural revitalization, community regeneration, identity reclamation, and the renewal of kuleana in Kailua, one of the most storied ahupuaʻa on Oʻahu.
With a restored Ulupō heiau and Kawainui fishpond at its piko, we see our ahupuaʻa of Kailua lashed together by a braid of ʻāina, kanaka, and culture, forming an enduring bond that generates balance and abundance for our community.
Our mission is to restore and grow healthy relationships between people and place through the aloha ʻāina practices of retelling our Kailua-specific stories, replanting and eating our ancestral foods, and caring for the sacred sites, lands, and waters of our beloved ahupuaʻa of Kailua.
Ulu: to sprout, grow
Lana: floating, calm, hopeful
Together these words conjure up images of the sprouting and growing of an abundance of resources—natural and cultural—that lift up and support a community, bring balance, and ensure a hopeful future for generations to come.
We are named after Kauluakalana, the 12th century Kailua navigator who is credited with voyaging across oceans and returning to his homeland with the lepo ʻai (edible mud), which he placed into Kawainui fishpond at the center of our ahupuaʻa. The story of Kaulu and the lepo ʻai paints a vivid picture of the resources contained within Kailua for at least a thousand years. It was a place where the art of celestial navigation was practiced, taught, and learned. It was a place that had enough resources not only to provision canoes for epic, deep-ocean voyages but also to build the canoes themselves. Kawainui, the second largest fishpond in Hawaiʻi (and now the largest remaining wetland in Hawaiʻi) was so productive that not only was it capable of growing upwards of 500,000 pounds of fish per year, but it was so clean that the mud at the bottom of the pond was sought after as a delicacy that fed aliʻi and makaʻāinana alike.
This is the Kailua of our past, the Kailua we have drifted away from in recent times, and the Kailua that we envision and are longing to return. Hence, by naming our organization after Kauluakalana the navigator, we are constantly reminded of where we come from and where we are striving to navigate back. And this hopeful future is possible if, like Master Pwo Navigator Pius Mau Pialug said, we turn to and trust in the teachings of our ancestors.
“We view this as the passing of a legacy of stewardship across three generations of a single family, from the hi‘ikua (carried on the back, no longer present) generation of Uncle Charlie Rose, to our own kaniko‘o (cane-using, twilight) generation of Kailua descendants, to the ao mālamalama (full light of day, enlightened) generation that we have helped to raise. We are confident that Ulupo is now directly in the hands of those best equipped to “hear” and honor it, to act in its best interest, and to ensure that it serves as both inspiration for and model of a permanent, thriving Hawaiian presence in the heart of our Kailua home. We affirm in proud-parent fashion, the “birth” of Kauluakalana and the in-family transition of leadership that it exemplifies. This is about continuity, about the student surpassing the teacher, about legacy upheld and improved upon. Ulupō, in Kauluakalana’s hands, is in the best hands possible.”
–Māpuana & Kīhei de Silva, on behalf of Hikaʻalani