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Pono Me Ka ‘Aina, Nau Ke Koho

<p>Haliko Kona Kai O Pua</p>

Haliko Kona Kai O Pua

<p>Kumu Hula Kanani ENos</p>

Kumu Hula Kanani ENos

<p>Keiki hula dancers</p>

Keiki hula dancers

<p>Kumu Kanani and dancers</p>

Kumu Kanani and dancers

Our island lifestyle is so deeply connected and interwoven with our environment that we can’t discuss one without including the other. Our daily lives are shaped and defined by our natural surroundings and habitat. On Saturday, January 19 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Aloha Theater in Kainaliu, the community is invited to attend a collaborative performance of hula, music, spoken word, and imagery designed to express our deep connections to our environment.

This performance art presentation, “Pono Me Ka ‘Aina, Nau Ke Koho – Be right with the land. The choice is yours,” is the cumulative work of Rachelle Gould, PhD Candidate from Stanford University, who has spent the past four years conducting research in Kona. Her work focuses on the forested region of South Kona and the local people’s relationship with the land. The show will present the findings from that work, interpreted through the art and language of hula by Kumu Hula Kanani Enos and Halau Oka Haliko.

“The show is about taking a step back to consider the relationship between people and the natural world,” says Gould. “The title of the show, which was created by the Kumu Hula and producer, perfectly expresses the goal: to inspire audience members to consider their relationship with the land and realize that they have the power to make that relationship what they want it to be. I am thrilled to have this research interpreted in this format; it is a dream for me to have it shared with the community by such a dynamic group of artists.”

Gould’s work is an attempt to describe how we can create a valuable forest ecosystem that holds value and meaning for the Hawaiian people. In working to answer this question, she examines the multiple values associated with native Hawaiian forests, particularly those in the South Kona region, and explores how people perceive, value, and utilize the forest.

As residents of Hawaii, we gain valuable benefits from our local ecosystems. In addition to food and water, we also benefit culturally through non-material gifts such as spiritual enrichment, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic values. “Maintaining the balance that has sustained life in these islands for generations is of great importance,” says Kumu Hula Kanani Enos. “As we cultivate a deep respect and reverence for the land and waters of our precious Hawaii, we help create the future home we will leave for our keiki.”

Although we can’t put a value on the multitude of ways that nature enriches our lives, the benefits to living in a world with a strong and healthy environment are real. We are constantly interacting and affecting our environment, and in turn, our environment affects us. It influences our cultural, our economy and our social development, in addition to providing us with food, medicine, and emotional well-being.

“For me, this show is just as important as the academic outputs,” says Gould. “I think an essential role of research is to share information and inspire public discussion of complex issues. This show aims to do that through a beautiful art form. We hope it will be inspiring, and that we’ll all learn a little along the way.”

Tickets are $15 for general admission, $10 for students and seniors, children under the age of five are free. For more information, or to purchase tickets online, visit