New Educational Videos Showcase the Ahupua‘a System

Brilliant Minds Media Inc. has released a series of three educational videos to help raise awareness of the traditional Hawaiian culture of the Ahupua‘a system.

The videos are part of the Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project, a community-based, collaborative signage program created to educate residents and visitors about Hawai‘i’s ancient land division system.

Maui’s Branscombe Richmond was contracted to produce the videos which feature residents: Hōkūlani Holt (Hawai‘i culture historian); Kui Gapero (school teacher and Hawaiian Cultural historian); and Clifford Nae‘ole (cultural advisor and Hawaiian practitioner); and video host Leiohu Richmond.

The video project was funded through the Kahului Economic Development, Environmental, and Cultural Programs and managed through County of Maui Office of Economic Development.

“There are many things we can learn from the ancient ahupua‘a. It was an honor and land division system set by nature. It guided our way of life, encouraged a sense of place, and instilled the concept of sustainability. These are importance lessons that we can all learn and benefit from today,” said Richmond, the show’s producer.

Educating people about traditional Hawaiian ahupua‘a system is also at the heart of the Maui Nui Ahupua‘a Project. Since 2017, the project’s coordinator/designer Vernon Kalanikau has been working with community stakeholders, Hawaiian cultural practitioners, kumu and people from their respective ahupuaʻa to review land divisions, boundaries, and to gather moʻolelo (stories, legend, history) to help design signs for the ahupuaʻa on Maui.

The first ahupua‘a signage project Kula Kai (Kīhei area in the Moku ʻO Kula) was completed in October 2019. Signs for the Moku ʻO Wailuku (Central Maui area) are in the process of being located and installed. Kalanikau is also working with the community on the signage for Kula Uka (Upcountry area in the Moku ʻO Kula).

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