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Pohaku Hapai

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

Photo: Ku'ialuaopuna

Photo: Ku'ialuaopuna

Steve Maxwell: Tahiti Stone Lifting Contest. 4,434 views4.4K views. Dec 11, 2010. Like. Dislike. Share. Save. steve maxwell. steve maxwell.

YouTube · steve maxwell · Dec 11, 2010

Hapai Pohaku is an ancient tradition found in many cultures around the Pacific and the world. This tradition is also know in the lua arts as it was probably introduced to Hawaii during the early migrations from Tahiti. In ancient times malihini visiting the different villages had to hapai the village pohaku in order to enter the village and cont. If no one from the malihini hui could hapai the pohaku of the village, they could not progress forward. In later times after contact from outside nations, little changes to the protocals were allowed, so that malihini could enter. The village would call one of their own skilled kane and wahine to kokua the malihini and be a proxy for their hui in lifting the traditional pohaku of the village so they could enter and visit. This tradition of hapai was one of the sports of entertainment for the warriors. It tested skill, strength and mental ability, while under pressure from the hundreds of spectators that were present. Visiting parties that went from village to village showed they were well prepared for the many challenges and tasks that were needed from their tribe. This also helped to build bonds and friendships between various tribal communities through the use of a friendly contest that required strength and skill. Both kane and wahine participated in this tradition. The pohaku in ancient times were stationed outside the village on the path that continued on to the village's entry. These pohaku were stationed standing upright to mark the kapu boundary of that land. the placement of the pohaku upon entry to the kauhale is where the greetings and ceremonial chants would be held for incoming travelers. Usually the village had two pohaku, one was Pohaku Kane and a Pohaku Wahine. Both had names and traditional ties to the area. In old Hawaii, this was also part of the ancient traditions for each ahupuaa, or village. This tradition slowly faded out at the time of Kamehameha. Pohaku hapai is still a part of Hawaii's traditional sport during makahiki. Slowly this too is fading away and is only seen now amongst a few pa lua who still practice this art. There is a pohaku Hapai that is known and the name is Kahoahu'ulua, which is a Pohaku Kane. I still know of its location as i was, maybe the last to place it back to where it was resting over twenty years ago. This was the pohaku of our olohe Lua kukui, Likeke Richard Kekumuikaaiokeola Paglinawan, Olohe Lua of the Koolaus.


Photo: Ku'ialuaopuna

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