I first met John John pounding poi at Kānewai. As a keiki of Hawaiʻi, raised in the waves and the earth of our islands, he was a natural. I was impressed! Several months later we visited with John John on the North Shore where he wanted to show me the taro he had planted from the huli (seeds) he had gathered at Kānewai. It was a surprise I was not ready for and was so stoked!
When he came to Hilo, I wanted to take him to my special place. It was there at Waipiʻo Valley, we spent a day in the loʻi. Pulling taro from the waters, we shared a tradition. For many generations, the wetland taro fields have produced root stock, feeding the extended ʻohana. On that day, John John and I stood in the quiet waters, inspired by place. We got to take the taro home with us, knowing that the “huli” could be planted.
I was inspired to create a design that reflected the experiences we shared. The huli is very important because it is the seed for the next generation of taro. But not all huli are equal. Only the best are chosen to be planted. This new design honors the tradition of growing taro and the practices of each family, perpetuating that important aspect of our islands.
The name of this design, Ka Huli Wae, literally means “the selected seed.” Figuratively, I gave this name to mean “The Chosen One” with a nod to John John, of the next generation, to represent our islands in the waves around the world.
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