Kalama Trophy Goes To Kupuna Paddlers
A new award is now part of community history, following its presentation at the Waimanalo Makahiki. A senior crew of women paddlers from Keahi Aka Hoe accepted the Kahu Ryan K. Kalama Malama Award, “Perpetuating a Legacy in Excellence,” at the end of the annual event Nov. 22 at Bellows Beach, and coordinator/kahu Roy Brooks said their intensity and commitment mirrored the example set by the late kahu.
“Kahu Ryan perfected and practiced excellence in all that he endeavored,” said Brooks, “including the establishment and integration of our native practices in every element of our makahiki.” Calling him a “guiding light in cultural revitalization,” Brooks recalled his “integrity, professionalism and eye for perfection in all that he touched.” Kalama died just days before the 2013 makahiki, which he helped to establish.
The judges gave much thought to who the first awardee should be for the 20-year perpetual trophy. They found it in the kupuna “who link us to the past with their living wisdom and strength,” Brooks explained. The kupuna paddlers, ages 65-72, won for leading by example in each makahiki event they entered.
“They fought to excel,” he said, noting that “if this award were to set the standard, then these kupuna (are) the measure of excellence for generations to come.”
Local craftsman Jon Bopp made the trophy from mon-keypod he recovered on Kai‘one Beach. Kailua’s Marian Hawkins volunteered to laser-etch the name plate. Brooks said mud was gathered from the lo‘i so the keiki could stain its trim, and oil from kukui nuts by Waimanalo Health Center will lubricate the face of the plaque.
The trophy will be on display at Blanche Pope and Waimanalo elementary schools during the year, where the students will continue to care for it.