Makaliʻi Rises and Makahiki Begins

ʻUlu maika or moa paheʻe? Kōnane or hei? Grade 4 students and Secondary students in Hawaiian Culture and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi had a chance to play them all at their first-ever Makahiki this month.

Beginning in mid-November, and lasting through January, the Makahiki season is a time of celebration of the beginning of the Hawaiian new year. It’s a time to harvest, a time of peace, and a time to play.

“The whole spirit of this is a season where it’s a time of peace and there’s no war, and it’s the time of festivities,” explained Saʻo Faulkner, Grade 4 teacher. “These games allowed young people to train and practice their warring skills, so they were kind of like their Olympics.”

The Grade 4 students have been learning about Makahiki games like ʻulu maika (rolling stone disks), moa paheʻe (dart sliding), hei (string fingers or catʻs cradle), and kōnanae (checkers) as part of their place-based learning of ʻaina and Hawaiian culture.

In the spirit of the season as a time of strengthening existing bonds and forging new relationships, this Makahiki brought together students from Elementary and Secondary to have fun and teach each other what they have been learning.

“This allowed us to bring the two divisions together to collaborate, and the kids are just so excited,” said Faulkner. “This also helps get them comfortable with sharing their learning so that when we start our big project-based learning, it’s not unfamiliar to them.”

Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou, Navigators!