Children of the Turning Tide

Kanani Parrilla

Kapua Sterling

Rachel Kimura

Hi‘ilei Sniffen

Pu‘uwaialoha Patmont

Mikayla Markrich

Some are 17; some are 18; all have been with us since small kid time. Theyʻve danced at Nāwiliwili, Naue, Keahualaka, Keiki Hula, Hawai‘i Theater, ‘Īao, Puamana, Haleakalā, and Anaheim. Theyʻve colored, drawn, journalized, memorized, recited, chanted from their toes, lined up tall-to-short, waited patiently, written hands and feet, strung, braided, wrapped, knotted, frogged, waited patiently, tucked in, pinned back, done, undone, done over, Ho'onani-d, Tūnihi-d, waited patiently, eaten what was served, tried not to ask what didnʻt need asking, and didnʻt quit when their friends left for soccer, softball, and senior prom. 

In their last month of hula, they learn their last mele. It is "‘Au'a ‘Ia," the drum dance that gives their class its name and mission. They are "Kama, kama, kama o ka huliau" -- children of the turning tide and changing times. And they are urged to hold fast to their "moku" -- to this land, to their heritage, and to their years of study. Life will turn quickly now for them, one turning point after another, but the dance and the years leading up to it have given them a set of "pōhaku kū" -- of anchor stones -- that will ground their mats in the wind and steady their nets in the tide. We know this to be true; weʻve seen it, over and over, in 30 years of students and 17 years of ‘ūniki.  More important still, and far less certain, is whether they themselves can become pōhaku kū, anchors of our culture in this age of huliau. For this we pray.