President’s Thanksgiving Message

It is now November, and 2013 is winding down rapidly as we approach Thanksgiving, the Christmas holiday season and a new year! We give thanks for all the blessings received, for the health and love of our growing family and friends, for the opportunity to paddle and enjoy the beautiful waters that surround us, for the bounty and abundance of our ‘aina, and for the shared memories and legacy of all the kupuna who came before us and watch over us. We sadly note the passing of two Keouans this year, James Kalili and Nancy Griffith. Our condolences go out to their families and to all those who lost a loved one this year.

Although we may be relatively few in number, our spirit and perseverance will continue to carry us forward in furtherance of our mission: to perpetuate the ancient art and culture of Hawaiian outrigger canoe paddling as traditionally practiced in historic Honaunau Bay, and to promote awareness of Hawaiian culture and its preservation and perpetuation.

While competition and “winning” often seem to take the spotlight and command much attention, our true reward is found in the day to day sharing and working together to make Keoua a place where our ‘ohana can gather to restore our energy and develop the strength and determination to face the rigors of our busy and demanding schedules. We are made whole and gain the wisdom of our elders by practicing and embodying the Hawaiian principles of lokahi, ho‘oponopono, malama ‘aina, and, above all, aloha.

So. we look forward to a new year, 2014, hoping to attract and recruit more keiki, malihini and kama‘aina to embark on a journey of rediscovery by restoring our Hale o Ho‘oponopono and our first wa‘a, “Keoua.” While paddling and training become our primary focus, we have a privilege and responsibility, our kuleana, to educate ourselves and others on the rich history and traditions of our ahupua‘a from Ka’u to Kohala, but especially Honaunau.

We would also like to proactively maintain and steward the road between Honaunau and Napo‘opo‘o, which continues to be a dumping ground for tires, appliances and other household waste. This can complement our ongoing and successful HI-5 collection project, which is also in need of volunteers since it’s been a one-man operation for the past several years.

Another project we’ve been involved in and has been flying “under the radar” is the restoration of several ancient coastline trails. For details on how you can get involved, contact Kawika Spaulding or Roy Santana. These are activities that enhance, honor and re-create our cultural landscape for the benefit of our future generations. Working together, we can leave our footprints in the history of our community, much like Keoua’s army in the Ka‘u desert trail.

This coming year, we will again be sponsoring the Louis Kelekolio Memorial OC-1 race on March 1st, our 33rd Annual Mac-A-Thon on Easter Saturday (April 19th) and our 28th Annual Calvin Kelekolio Long Distance race on August 17th, so mark your calendars and get ready for some great competition and camaraderie.

On a final note, our Annual Meeting/Thanksgiving potluck will be on Saturday, November 30th from 12 noon to 4 p.m. Elections to our 2014 Board of Directors will also be held; ballots and more details to follow after November 15th.  So join us in Honaunau for an afternoon to kick off the holiday season and prepare for the New Year!

Mahalo nui loa,

Rafael Ramirez, Keoua President

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