Mana Maoli holds its biggest concert ever in support of Native Hawaiian charter schools

Feb. 17, 2012 | 23 Comments In the Star-Advertiser Friday Print Edition
Mana Maoli is a hui of local musicians who support Native Hawaiian charter schools. --Courtesy Mana Maoli

Mana Maoli is a hui of local musicians who support Native Hawaiian charter schools. --Courtesy Mana Maoli

Ho’okumu. Ho’okele. Ho’omana. The three Hawaiian words mean, respectively, “to build a foundation,” “to forge a direction and connections” and “to provide sustenance and empowerment,” according to Mana Maoli.

Those principles are the basis of the mission statement for the group, a nonprofit collective of teachers, artists, cultural practitioners, community organizers and families supporting Native Hawaiian charter schools.


and Mana Maoli CD Release Celebration

Where: Kakaako Waterfront Park Amphitheater

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday

Cost: $45, $80 VIP

Info: 855-235-2867 or

Musical outreach is part of the program. Mana Maoli sends musicians into the schools, and over the past several years, Mana Maoli has benefited from live concert fundraisers and the sales of CDs filled with the music of its supporters.

This year has been no exception, with the Valentine’s Day release of a limited-edition double CD — Mana Maoli, Volumes 4 (“This is Maoli Music”) and 5 (“Hui Na Moku”) — with traditional Hawaiian music, island-style pop, roots reggae and a music video featuring Jack Johnson, Paula Fuga and John Cruz.

Mana Maoli is marking its CD release Saturday with the biggest concert in its history, a festival featuring Jamaican artists Third World and Tarrus Riley, three local “all-star” bands and performances by charter school youth from Oahu.

Well-known Hawaii musicians participating include Paula Fuga, Sistah Roz, Jason “Bison” Friedmann of Go Jimmy Go, Lubei and Slo from the Tempo Valley Music Group, Kali Navales of Ooklah the Moc, Irie Love, Mike Love and Anuhea Jenkins.

The concert will benefit Mana Maoli’s music programs, the Halau Ku Mana charter school, schools with students whose music was recorded and its Kanehunamoku sailing canoe venture.

The Hawaii Unite Music Festival will celebrate the release of Mana Maoli's current CD with Tarrus Riley headlining. --Courtesy VP Records

The Hawaii Unite Music Festival will celebrate the release of Mana Maoli's current CD with Tarrus Riley headlining. --Courtesy VP Records

SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD Anuhea Ka’auwai-Herrod’s Hawaiian-language song for her late grandmother is one of the tracks on the new Mana Maoli release.

The teen, a senior at the tiny Kawaikini Public Charter School on “the Puhi side” (southeast) of Kauai that has just more than 100 students, was invited to record the song by Fuga, another guest artist.

“It’s great that she’s so young and writing her own music,” Fuga said. “I wanted to encourage her to keep it up.”

Ka’auwai-Herrod wrote “Ku’upua Aloha” last year. In September 2011, it won a haku mele song composition contest at Kauai’s Mokihana Festival.

“It talks about being in search of her, her beauty, and the memories I have of her,” Ka’auwai-Herrod said last week in a call from Kauai. “She holds a special place in my heart. I lived with her for 12 years and she basically raised me from a baby.”

Ka’auwai-Herrod recorded the song for the Mana Maoli collection with her uncle doing engineering duties and helping out on instruments and vocal harmonies.

Even though Ka’auwai-Herrod says she sees herself becoming a baker after graduation — “My grandma was a pastry chef,” she said, and she likes making Bavarian tarts, cookies and brownies — music could still be in her future.

“I’ve performed a little bit here and there with my dad,” she said. “His family is from the Haleiwa side of Oahu, and he’s a hula teacher. My mom is a supervisor for Child Protective Services.”

The Hawaii Unite Music Festival will include Paula Fuga and many others. --Star-Advertiser / 2008

The Hawaii Unite Music Festival will include Paula Fuga and many others. --Star-Advertiser / 2008

FUGA HERSELF lent her voice to a couple of tracks by students, both from Kauai, “and one of them having family from Niihau,” Fuga said.

“It was special being in the studio with the girls,” she said. “One of the songs was very spiritual, giving thanks and praise to the Creator.”

Other artists who collaborated with charter school youth include Ernie Cruz Jr., Natural Vibrations, Damon Williams and Sashamon.

Fuga said she’s been involved with Mana Maoli since early 2000, particularly with the Hakipu’u Learning Center in Kaneohe, and co-founder Calvin Hoe and his family.

“Mana Maoli has been at the forefront of publicizing the charter schools to the larger community and help raise awareness of the struggles to keep these schools afloat,” she said.

Anuhea Ka'auwai-Herrod was one of the few local unknowns who were invited to record a song for the new Mana Maoli CD. --Courtesy photo

Anuhea Ka'auwai-Herrod was one of the few young students who were invited to record a song for the new Mana Maoli CD. --Courtesy photo

ANUHEA JENKINS is another of the concert’s guest vocalists on Saturday, performing with an all-star band.

Once educated about the movement, Jenkins said, she threw her support behind Mana Maoli, even joining the collective of artists that visited Aotearoa (New Zealand) in March 2011, to bring Hawaiian music and culture to the Pasifika Festival.

Jenkins herself went to a Hawaiian immersion school, Kula Kaiapuni, on her home island of Maui.

“Once I moved to Oahu, I became aware that it was beneficial to me to connect to my culture,” she said. “So my association with Mana Maoli is a win-win for both of us. We have an amazing group of artists and we love interacting with the students on a one-on-one basis.”

Jenkins will be performing some songs from her new album, “For Love.”

–Gary Chun /

A supporter of Mana Maoli, Anuhea Jenkins will be performing with many other musical guests Saturday. --Courtesy photo

A supporter of Mana Maoli, Anuhea Jenkins will be performing with many other musical guests Saturday. --Courtesy photo

Isles hold special place in heart of famed Jamaican singer Riley

The headliner for Saturdays’ show is Tarrus Riley, a Jamaican singer and bandleader who is very popular with Hawaii audiences.

Hawaii record label Mountain Apple is distributing Riley’s new “Reggae Masterpiece” collection, a reflection of the local appetite for his music.

He was last here in August for a concert at The Waterfront at Aloha Tower Marketplace.

Riley will be joined on the bill by another popular reggae act with local fans, Third World.

“Hawaii people are beautiful,” the versatile and well-traveled singer said by phone from Jamaica last month.

“The people there show a lot of love. It was hard for me to leave.”

He’s quick to note that even though his CD collection is filled with “nice songs, they’re not greatest hits.” He’ll be reaching into the repertoire found on the record at Saturday’s show.

While not on the compilation, Riley said the Hawaii audience can also expect to hear songs that have garnered island airplay and become local favorites, such as “Good Girl Gone Bad” and “Love’s Contagious.”

“There’s a good energy from the Hawaii crowd,” he said. “The vibe is crazy-cool and I love how they yell ‘chee-hoo!'”

The son of the great Jimmy Riley, Tarrus said, “I’ve got some time before I get to what my father accomplished.

“I’m mindful of what I record and perform. I don’t want to pigeonhole what I do. I can do dancehall or songs with a message,” he said.

–Gary Chun /

  • Ken Conklin

    I guess it’s time to establish a Mana Haole group.  Ho’opono, ho’o’onipa’a, ho’oikaika.

    • Anonymous

      Try hitting gym first before you establish anything Mr. Cocklin. Health should always come first :)

    • Eri Oura

       Mana Haole has already been coined by Mike Love, a member of the Mana Maoli Collective. Nothing but love from our haole braddahs and sistas.

  • Anonymous

    Stop racism. Stop Polynesian-Hawaiian only raced based programs, supported with non-profit tax status!

    • Anonymous

      All of the charter schools admit non-Hawaiians. To what are you referring?

      • Anonymous

        Why say “Native-Hawaiian” charter schools then?  Do they own them?  If they are everyone’s then why call them “Native-Hawaiian” charter schools.
        How would you like it if they were called Native-White schools? Apparently, racism is OK as long as it is done by Polynesian-Hawaiians against all other races in Hawaii.

        • Maile Thompson

          It’s called “Native-Hawaiian” charter schools because they are Hawaiian-based schools.  In other words, they teach academics based on Hawaiian history, language, values, and culture.  Would you consider hula as a form of racism? A hula class teaches people (Hawaiian and non-Hawaiian) the art of traditional and modern Hawaiian dancing. What about Taekwondo? Taekwondo classes teach Korean martial arts to both Koreans and non-Koreans.  Would that be considered racism?  Native-Hawaiian charter schools are schools for individuals who are interested and want to learn about  Hawai’i’s history and it’s culture.  It is nowhere close to racism.

          • Anonymous

            Why have a school based on any race?  History of Hawaii is taught in all public schools.  This is a school based on a particular race’s agenda, not everyone’s. If parents want their children to learn more about a particular culture’s traditions or language they can start an after school or weekend club.  A particular races agenda should not be supported with government funds.  We are all natives of the planet earth.  This school is nothing short of indoctrination into the sovereignty movement, and creating racial seperatism.  Anything that does that is by definition “racism”.

          • Davan Gonzales

            Interesting that you leave out the part about the wholesale destuction of Indigenous Hawaiian culture back in the day after people like you & of like mind, UNLAWFULLY  STOLE THE HAWAIIAN KINGDOM (I’m NOT looking for a GD debate with you, I can clearly see who is here!) Same as Jim Crow racism THEY let that go for a hundred 100  MF years before MLK Jr cried “ENOUGH!” But ,WAIT there’s more – Along comes affirmative action  (that is, affirming that something agregiously wrong was perpetrated against a certain race or culture)  to supposedly “make up” for the admitted wrong doing. Guess what? That didn’t even GO for 15 years before they tore that down!  SO, I would say that your people (as above)  have a problem with the truth & “taking” what was NOT YOURS to take. You & these other jackasses really don’t have a place here on fb – This is where they’re celebrating the empowerment of a people through education. Calling one self a HAOLE (a cute trick) is an indication that you want to put labels on individuals, so that you can easily divide people.”Those people over there!” Good Luck Diver Dave hope you come up soon for air. 

          • Anonymous

            You say you don’t want to debate, yet you throw all kinds of accusations at me that are false. It looks like you are the one that has their facts twisted!  Firstly, my Chickasaw Indian ancestry is clearly documented in my posts.
            I, nor my descendants, never took anything from anybody.  But, I can speak to the distructive nature of seperatism. It has only hurt my people, as it is hurting Polynesian-Hawaiians now. 
            I also take exception to you calling Polynesian-Hawaiians “indigenous”, as they were only in Hawaii for 500 years at the time of contact with Capt. Cook.  My people have been proven to be in North America for at least 10,000 or more!  White people have now been in North America for 500 years.  Does that make them indigenous too? I never have called myself a “Haole”.  Everyone knows that whatever it once meant
            it is now used, usually preceeded by the “f” word, as a derogitory racial slur, like the “N” word is for blacks.  Your racist prejudice against white people clearly shows, and it is unfortunate.  I believe it is you that is full of hot air!

          • Maile Thompson


          • Anonymous

            “I also take exception to you calling Polynesian-Hawaiians “indigenous”, as they were only in Hawaii for 500 years at the time of contact with Capt. Cook. ”
            Your facts are all wrong here. Where did you get your education from? Iʻm assuming youʻre not born or raised her in Hawaii because you obviously donʻt know the history of it. You claim youʻre a descendant from native Americans but than again you attack native Hawaiian based programs used only to enrich and perpetuate the culture. Maybe the federal government should stop giving money to all NATIVE Americans and the natives should give back all reservation lands to the government. Is that not fair? By the way, Charter schools do not discriminate against non-native Hawaiians and anyone is welcome to attend. So stop attacking native Hawaianʻs, and get youʻre facts straight before you come up in here and start an argument which yourʻre clearly not doing well to rebuttal.

          • Anonymous

            Once again, “dklulu” you are the one unaware of the facts.  Probably because of your poor education in a slanted educational system.  Google:”East Polynesia colonized faster and more recently than previously thought”.  University of Hawaii at Manoa Professor of Anthropology Terry Hunt in his now universally accepted research published last year in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences with four other anthropologists from others major universities have proven that Hawaii was settled by Polynesians much later than claimed, around the year 1290.
             I am against all racism, no matter who is participating in it.  And clearly, these “Native-Hawaiian” charter schools are all about “seperate but equal” which the Supreme Court has ruled as illegal already!

          • LIL JON

            “History of Hawaii is taught in all public schools.”  I went to McKinley for 2 years.  And I went to Farrington for the last 2 years of high school.  I don’t remember learning anything about the history of Hawai’i.

          • Anonymous

            Perhaps you should take your lack of education up with the teacher’s union.  But, last time I checked there was no armed guard keeping anyone out of the public library. Read and you will be set free!

          • LIL JON

            I’m just correcting your inaccurate information that you are sharing.  I’m neutral to this whole issue, but I just thought I’d let you know that not ALL schools (like you said) teach Hawaiian History and culture.

          • Anonymous

            “Lil Jon” you are not reading correctly.  I said “History of Hawaii”. The history of Hawaii is made up of many, many races.  The schools
            should not ever be teaching a particular race’s slant, or culture.  Do schools in Hawaii teach my culture?  If you want to learn more about your particular culture do what everyone else does.  Start a club.

          • LIL JON

            I’m white. I’m Irish.And frankly, I could careless about my culture.  But yes I’ve never learned HAWAIIAN HISTORY in school either, just let you know that all schools DO NOT in fact teach HAWAIIAN HISTORY (as you previously claimed) either. Oh, and I’m not going to reply back because the words are getting smaller and smaller. To make it easier, if you don’t like a certian school, don’t sned your kids there, if you do, that’s your personal choice.

          • Kenny Ortega

            Why would parents/guardians start an after school program when they have schools that offer what they want their children to learn without all the hassle?  Besides many parents don’t have they time to start an after school program.  When I was growing up, my dad worked two jobs, so my teenage sister pretty much looked over me. 

        • hawaii T

          Actually, they’re called “public charter schools” or just plain “charter schools.”  Not native Hawaiian charter schools.

    • Anonymous

      Dear Diverdave,

      What do you mean racism ? I feel bad for you if you think that calling an organization “Native Hawaiian” is racism . When people use the title Native Hawaiian, they aren’t trying to exclude others of different race . Also, it has nothing to do with Native Hawaiians “owning” anything . I would really appreciate it if you changed your way of thinking and stop attacking HAWAIIANS . It’s you with the problem so YOU need to find a solution to fix it . Mahalo Nui and have a nice day !

      – swt_serendipity

  • Anonymous

    “DIVERDAVE” i hope your mask falls off your face when you go in the water!!!
    and don’t say anything about Natives if your NOT ONE! you don’t no naten!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous