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Manoa Valley Ahupua’a

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Manoa Valley Ahupua’a. An Ahupua’a is a natural land division, which is bordered by streams from Mauka to Makai. Typical Ahupua’a. Ohana: Family Life. Hawaiian tradition recognizes that people are descendants of the kalo plant Ohana comes from Kalo Makua = parent Oha (sprout) = child.

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manoa valley ahupua a
Manoa Valley Ahupua’a
  • An Ahupua’a is a natural land division, which is bordered by streams from Mauka to Makai

Ohana: Family Life

Hawaiian tradition recognizes that people are descendants of the kalo plant

Ohana comes from Kalo

Makua = parent

Oha (sprout) = child


Ohana were guided by family spirits called ‘Aumakua

They were ancestors of the family who provided guidance and advise

They took on forms of nature such as mano: sharks (most revered), honu: turtles, pueo: owls

Illustrates how Hawaiians are connected to nature, their surroundings

A premier of indigenous learning

indigenous learning
Indigenous Learning
  • Spiritual and secular worlds are connected
  • Knowledge embedded in cosmology
  • No clear distinctions between intangible and physical elements
  • Knowledge is holistic and cannot be separated from land, resources, nature
Early education
  • Strict discipline
  • What they needed to learn they learned at home
  • Child’s age based on his physical abilities
  • Chores based on child’s strengths, size
  • 2 year old = carries water
  • 6 year old = carries coconuts
  • 10 year old = carries sibling
pre contact education
Pre Contact Education
  • Education a child received depended on birth status:
  • Ali’I children had kahu (tutor) - they learned about leadership, royalty
  • Maka’ainana children taught by kupuna (grandparents) -- they learned about legends, their families kapu (guardian)
pre contact education1
Pre Contact Education
  • Goal: teach children to be responsible members of society
      • Content:
        • Chants
        • Hula
        • Genealogies,
        • Legends
      • Formal ways of learning:
        • Imitation
        • Oral history
        • Observation
      • Informal ways of learning:
        • Direction from kupunas
        • Play
Older boys learned as they worked side by side with the men.
  • They learned to plant, fish, make poi, prepare food for imu
Older girls worked with the women
  • They learned how to make baskets, mats, and gourds for carrying food and water
  • They took care of the children, cleaning, collected shells, seaweed, etc.
post contact
Post Contact
  • First material printed in Hawaiian was by missionaries -- contained sentences and spelling words from the Bible
  • 1830, over 1,000 schools -- taught by native teachers, under the guidance of the missionaries
  • Education in the Hawaiian language
  • Ho’ike -- a quarterly exam of students -- which were festive occasions attended by ali’i where students demonstrated what they had learned
post contact 1900
Post Contact 1900
  • Children ages 6 to 15 had to attend school
  • No longer run by missionaries but by state government
  • Underlying problem: why educate people if they are just going to work on the plantation?
  • Same problems today existed then: too little tax money supported education -- a federal commission found that too little tax money supported education - the old Territorial school which taught teachers became part of the new UH Manoa
  • Williams, J. S. (1997). From the Mountains to the Sea: Early Hawaiian Life.
  • Kamehameha Schools Press, 1997
  • Kamehameha Schools Hawaiian Studies Institute (1994). Life in Early Hawaii: The Ahupua’a, 3rd ed. Available online at,
  • Chapin, H. G. (1999). Hawaiian Historical Society. Available online at
  • Menton, L. K., & Tamura, E. H. (1999). A History of Hawaii, 2nd ed. Curriculum Research & Development Group, Honolulu, HI
  • Kamakua, S. M. (1991). Tales and Traditions of the People of Old. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, HI 1991
  • Kamakua, S. M. (1964). The People of Old. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, HI 1964