Health, Culture, Art At Hawaiians’ Aha Kane
Kane will converge on Windward Community College June 15-17 for a Native Hawaiian men’s health conference.
“Aha Kane” begins each day at 6 a.m. with a full slate of activities that include a Hawaiian language oration competition, health screenings, lomilomi, athletic competitions, chants and hula kahiko workshops, warrior arts demonstrations and more.
The conference first took place in 2006 and was repeated in 2010, with a plan to continue every four years. It has been so successful, however, that it is now scheduled for every two years. Already 600 participants are signed up, the majority from Oahu, but many from neighbor islands and the Mainland.
“This conference has been a very good vehicle for Hawaiian men as well as a very successful event for their wives and girlfriends,” said conference chairman Umi Kai, noting that only men attend the event itself. “This is a conference for the development of males, with a focus on their health – mentally, spiritually and physically. We try to teach them what their role or kuleana was in kahiko days and how that translates to today’s environment as being a provider to their family and their community. As a result they make better husbands, fathers and participants in the community.”
Opio, or males under the age of 18, are welcome to attend, but must be accompanied by kane. Kai said Aha Kane encourages men to bring their sons, nephews and neighbors along so they all can share in the experience.
The most challenging part of the conference has been the health screening, but it’s also been the most beneficial:
“At the first conference, a lot of the participants came in a little nervous because they were unsure of what was going to transpire and because we told them: health screening. A lot of men, they hesitate on going to a doctor. But once they went through the health screening, they found out how beneficial and informative it was, they enjoyed it.
“At the end of their screening they also have an appointment to go over their results with doctors who are volunteering their time to be there. It’s a very good experience for them. That was one of the highlights, and the other highlight was learning a little more of their culture. We use culture as a medium to give them more information on how to be a better person and to be the role model that they should be.”
For information on cost and to register, visit ahakane.org.