Mānoa Heritage Center

Ke Alanui Polohiwa a Kāne: Sharing Practitioner Perspectives on the Summer Solstice

By Jenny Leung, Cultural Site Manager

He lawaiʻa no ke kai pāpaʻu, he pōkole ke aho; he lawaiʻa no ke kai hohonu he loa ke aho.

The fisherman of the shallow sea uses only a short line; a fisherman of the deep sea uses a long line.

(A person whose knowledge is shallow does not have much, but he whose knowledge is great, does)

ʻŌlelo Noeʻau 725

Why do we look to the sky? What is the power of knowing and understanding the movement of celestial bodies? How does this relate to time, moʻolelo (stories), and a kānaka maoli worldview? In our pursuit of lifelong learning, the staff at MHC wanted to engage our community in a discussion of these questions, and many more, as they relate to last weekend’s solar phenomenon, the Summer Solstice.

Sunrise over Waʻahila Ridge from Kūkaʻōʻō Heiau.

On Saturday, June 20, the sun reached Ke Alanui Polohiwa a Kāne (The Black Glistening Path of Kāne), its northernmost point in the sky, and the longest day of the year to those living in the Northern Hemisphere. With the goal of better understanding the significance of the Summer Solstice in this place and time, Mānoa Heritage Center invited educator, cultural practitioner, and MHC docent Taiwi Crouch to help put the solstice in perspective during our first Virtual Kahaukani Conversations via Zoom. 

Kumu Tai is a long-time educator in Hawaiian history, culture, and science (as well as Medieval and Asian history) and was a crew member aboard the Hōkūleʻa, navigating by traditional means to Tahiti, Samoa and the Marquesas in the mid-1980s. He further draws from his knowledge as a hula practitioner, member of hālau oli Na Waʻa Lalani Kahuna o Puʻukoholā and traditional carver. 

We invite you to watch the recorded talk below, and encourage you to take time to kilo (observe) a part of the world around you, and learn from the clues you find in nature. 

If you want to keep learning more (we do!), explore further by watching the webinar series hosted by Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, ATUA: Polynesian Ancestors, Stars, and Temples. Visit their Facebook page to view recordings of the webinar presentations.

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