Future Search The Method

Printer FriendlySpeaking with the Ancients

What the Community Wants

A heavy concentration of ethnic Hawaiians - 24 percent of 20,000 residents - live in Ko'olau Loa on Oahu's north shore, along with people of Caucasian, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Samoan, and other descents.

Ko'olau Loa's seven coastal villages retain separate identities, but all were shaped by ancient values. Centuries ago, the land was divided into sections called ahupua'a, which extended from the top of the mountain to the sea. Each ahupua'a supported all life-sustaining activities - hunting, fanning, and fishing - so that families living there had access to resources that enabled them to be self-sufficient.

In 1994 the Queen Lili'uokalani Trust invited The Queen Emma Foundation to build a medical clinic at its children's center in Ko'olau Loa. The Foundation staff held town meetings in each village and asked what the community wanted and whether they wanted the Foundation in their area. The staff were surprised to learn that residents wanted more than medical care: They spoke about education, jobs, family, recreation, safety, community values, and quality of life.

The villages, the Foundation learned, shared an ancient culture based on family; community well-being; commitment to a place of refuge (pu'uhonua); oneness with the earth; and unity of body, mind, and spirit. This was demonstrated in the Hawaiians' rich, value-laden vocabulary. The word laulima, for example, means many hands working together to accomplish a common goal. Ho'opono means to make things right. Lokahi means harmony, unity - of spirit, mind, and body.

They also shared a legacy of mutual suspicion and distrust of "outsiders"- even citizc-ns of other district villages.

Despite its rural character, Ko'olau Loa also is home to two major Mormon institutions, Brigham Young University's Hawaii campus and the Polynesian Cultural Center, which attracts more than a million visitors a year. A coalition of environmental groups had recently sued the church's land management company to prevent the expansion of a sewage treatment plant adjacent to an ancient heiau, a religious site. Many Hawaiians are also Mormons. The issue had become a divisive one in Ko'olau Loa.





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