Youths Discover Treasures Within Their Ancestors’ Domain

The following report was submitted by Kimi Apiki, who coordinated last month’s scavenger hunt for Ko’olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club.

A team of youths from King Intermediate School, calling themselves ‘Imi Na’auao-Kane’ohe, was the big winner March 17 in the first-ever Cultural Scavenger Hunt in Ko’olaupoko moku (land district).

They claimed the $1,000 grand prize for competing in “Legendary Places of Ko’olaupoko,” which raised awareness of the traditionally important sites located within the 11 ahupua’a of Ko’olaupoko. (Ko’olaupoko spans the eastern and southern shores of Oahu, from Kualoa to Maunalua.)

Six teams competed for the prize, but more importantly, to educate themselves on these historic and cultural treasures. The teams represented the following organizations:

* ‘Apuakea – post high Hawaiian Immersion school graduates whose team name honors the beautiful ‘apuakea rains of the Koolaus

* ‘Imi Na’auao – Kaneohe and Kailua programs that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career development in Native Hawaiian middle school youths

* Papahana Kuaola – ‘Aina-based educational group focused on Hawaii’s cultural and natural history, dedicated to restoring Hawaii’s native ecosystems and economic sustainability integrating Hawaiian knowledge

* Team HIMB – representing Hawaii Institute for Marine Biology, a world-class marine research facility on Moku o Lo’e (Coconut Island) in Kaneohe Bay

* CFES – Castle High School’s College For Every Student Club for those pursuing higher education; it promotes pathways to college, mentorship and leadership through service.

The teams met at Windward Mall and were given a map with clues to find up to 21 sites in four hours. They had to quickly determine a strategy of where to start. At each site, a monitor handed them a set of questions to complete, some observational (what types of trees lined the skyline), some historical (drawn from the club’s ahupua’a brochures).

For every site visited, teams earned an entry into the grand-prize drawing. An additional award went to the most creatively dressed team. Team HIMB won this title plus four $50 gift certificates to Manuheali’i clothing shop.

The teams regrouped at 1 p.m. at the mall’s IHOP to catch their breath, share their adventures and enjoy a meal with new friends. After going over the day’s results and questions, all entries were placed in a box, and Hawai’i Maoli executive director Maile Alau pulled out the winning ticket. Members of the winning King team were Kaili Montgomery, Austin Montgomery, Harlee Jay-Pedro and team leader Colleen Everett.