Taken by Feki (email@example.com)
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Monday, May 4, 2009
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
What got you started with Iosepa?
Around the end of the year 2000 my mother, who was a co-worker with Uncle Kawika Eskaran at QLCC, told me that he had left his position for another in the Hawaiian Studies Program at BYUH and that he would be carving a canoe. A few years before that when Uncle Kawika was working at QLCC, I was in his arts and crafts class where we had crafted fishhooks, lu he’e, konane boards, and other Hawaiian objects. Through that experience I got to know Uncle Kawika and Aunty Terry and their family. It was this connection, among others, that helped me to get involved with Iosepa.
I was a new student at BYUH in the summer of 2001 and was unsure about what major I wanted to pursue. I remember declaring English as a major but that would change.
Meanwhile, as work had begun and progressed on Iosepa I felt a desire to participate and gathered courage to go and help Uncle Kawika. I remember being around the canoe consistently to kokua right around when the joining of the hulls took place. I’m not sure where the fear of helping comes from, but I think it comes when you feel inadequate and without talent. I also think adverse thoughts enter one’s mind to prevent them from growing and succeeding.
At first I felt out of place “helping” these ‘giants’: Uncle Tuione, Uncle Kawika, Uncle Bill, Kamoa‘e and his ‘ohana, along with other kupuna and those who had already been involved with the wa‘a for a longer time than I had. But as time progressed and as I had become serious about my dedication to the program, I realized that what I needed to do was to put my heart and mind into the work assigned to me, listen well, and diligently complete the tasks given to me. I was amazed that when I followed this pattern, I was able to help and feel confident that what I was doing was helpful.
Over the period of a few weeks, I realized that I had ties to the people working on Iosepa. I had known Uncle Kawika for several years, but I began to realize other relationships which made me feel more at home. These relationships were always there, I just never realized it. Uncle Tuione was a labor missionary in the 1960’s here in Laie alongside my grandpa Feki, of whom I am named after. Because of his friendship with my grandpa, who passed away when my dad was an adolescent, I consider him along with other Tongan labor missionaries as surrogate grandfathers for me. Kamoa‘e and Ka‘umealani had been in the same ward as my parents when I was a small child, and even recounted when I was kolohe kid at church with the long hair I had. I think they might have scolded me as I ran around the chapel as a little kid. Hau‘ula is my hometown and I feel that growing up in this ahupua‘a helped me to have a greater interest in a canoe from our moku. Another connection that is quite interesting is that of the Kamehameha schools graduates (or all the “Imua's”). Over time, I began to realize that many people participating in the construction of Iosepa had graduated from Kamehameha Schools or had relatives who went there. There are other ties that made me feel more at home, but these will suffice recognition.
At that time when Iosepa was being constructed, I was working in the EXS Issue Room and taking classes and spending most of my free time at the canoe. For me, it eventually became encompassing to do the adequate for classes and work, and spend time at the canoe helping. I can remember at the final weeks before the launching of Iosepa, there was such a high level of dedication and commitment to finish that sleeping occurred when your body made itself shut-down, and going home (especially for Uncle Tuione and Uncle Kawika) was barely an option. I recall being caked in dust and using the sander over and over again. I remember also all the cars that would drive by Laniloa Park and honk their horns as a sign of aloha.
I wanted to be a part of the canoe program because I felt it was pono and that I could be helpful. In hindsight I was helped by the canoe to focus what I wanted to do with my life.
What does Kihe ka ihu i ka 'ale mean to you?
Means to know where you are going and make sure its where you want to go and apply as much energy as you can, not allowing any challenges to get in your way. I learned more about this from Kamoa‘e in his olelo classes. I remembered hearing about professors from byuh and other people who said that because Iosepa was not constructed with computers and precision instruments it would sink upon entering the water. This phrase in this context teaches that whatever waves contributions like the aforementioned makes will just be ridden over. Perhaps that is an incorrect interpretation, but that’s what I gather from that phrase.
What do you remember about Elder Ballard's blessing of Iosepa?
I remember him being very warm about the building of the canoe and the name that it would posses. I remember him complimenting the master carvers and the rest of the community for their efforts. I just remember feeling that this day was truly remarkable to have a voyaging canoe in the midst of the community while being at the feet of great people and an Apostle of Jesus Christ. The entire moment was awesome. I don’t remember vividly what he said, but I do remember that he blessed the canoe to basically be a symbol of peace, sort of representing the Lord and His work upon the earth to bring souls to him. I interpreted this to mean that Iosepa was a fine instrument in the Lords hand to do missionary work and build Zion. It is very interesting how this has come to pass.
Do you feel his blessing has been fulfilled?
Yes, in the fact that lives have been brought to a true knowledge of God. But no because there are more lives that Iosepa will influence. How that is to be done will reveal itself.
What is being pono and how does it relate to serving on Iosepa?
Being pono means that everything is right. It is in a state of balance and of being proper. One often goes into stages of pono imbalance and must take appropriate actions to make it balanced again. One of the best indicators of being pono is by evaluating ones feelings. Do feelings of anxiety, anguish, deep remorse, regret, guilt, or a knowledge that you have caused some kind of offense beset you? If one answers yes to any of these feelings, then he or she probably needs to ho‘oponopono, or cause things to be right again.
How did the canoe experience challenge you?
By causing me to master my fear of being in the water at depths several times my height. I also had to overcome all the ocean movies like Jaws playing over and over in my head. I was also challenged to make sure I knew how to tie the right knots at the right time in all circumstances. I also needed to make sure I was prepared to work in any capacity aboard the wa’a.
How has being involved with Iosepa affected your life?
Through the associations I gained while helping with Iosepa, I was able to find an eternal companion. Paliku and I were good friends as a result of serving together on Iosepa, and when I returned from serving a full-time mission, Paliku was the only crewmember still at BYUH (barely) and single. As he was in the student activities I visited him and volunteered to help him with whatever activities he had going on. Little did I know that his sister Kieiki was checking me out and trying to get my attention. For me she was the President of student activities and Paliku’s sister, nothing more. But what caught my attention was when Paliku asked me a day or two before the Spring 2005 ball to go with his sister because he trusted me. I guess when someone says they asked you because they trusted you, it means you should help them. So I went through with it and it was great. Kieiki and I began our relationship quickly and in three weeks I proposed marriage to her. At first when I finally noticed Kieiki and wanted to advance our friendship further, I was unsure how Paliku would feel about me dating his sister. Even further than that, I worried that if Kieiki and I broke up that Paliku and I would have a strained and perhaps shattered friendship. But as I later found out, he was in the thick of things and set me up with his sister intentionally at her request. When I found out, I thought “suckin guy…setting me up.” I even mentioned often to family and friends that I had been set up by Paliku. But I was grateful to be set up with a wonderful Hawaiian Woman who is gently firm and strong in her identity and direction.
Kieiki and I on our Sealing Day
La'iku, Me, Kia'i at Kakela
I have learned so much from the canoe about my culture to the point that when I came back from serving a full-time mission, I decided to change my major from English to Hawaiian Studies. I had not done the major courses of English, so it did not put me back several years. I have tried to become fluent in Olelo Hawaii, but its not quite there yet. I can understand a lot more now, and I have a greater appreciation and understanding for my Hawaiian culture.
I more fully realize, as a result of learning and serving on Iosepa, that my ancestors were not indignant creatures with dominant inhumane functions, but were wise people (who may have had follies) who were acutely aware of their place in the order of things and were great stewards of what they had.
What inside jokes or one-liners do you remember?
The top two are: Leopard Undies and my nickname Pooh Bear.
I’ll save the Undies for later, but the nickname came about because of how ma’a I became with swimming/floating in the water. On the day of Iosepa’s birthing (launching) after we had uni’d the heavy sweeps and secured everything, we were instructed to swim to shore. This was something that I was petrified about and it showed on my face. As an aside, Paliku had similar feelings like I did on that occasion, but at the time I never knew it. I think I grabbed the pfd (personal floatation device) and tried to float to shore. But after that scary and embarrassing experience, I gradually grew more accustomed to being in relatively deep water with the help of the swim tests on Saturday mornings at 7, no matter what the weather. Thanks to Lono, who observed and then told everyone one day that I looked so comfortable in the water like Pooh Bear in honey with his honey jar, everyone caught on to the nickname and its still with me til today. I am grateful for the opportunity to master my fears and work through them with caring people.
The Leopard Undies are an incorrect observation of Derrick Logan (I think). Allow me to explain and settle this matter. During our training at Kawaihae with Makali’i, we staying at the old train station (I think) at Mahukona. When we first arrived there we setup everything and cleaned the area. When we were pau with that, we all took a little rest and checked our coolers (which functioned as our luggage). I did this (as everyone else did) and when I opened my cooler there was my clothes in several zip lock bags. One of these bags had my bbd’s in it AND a long pants sweat pants rolled up on top of it. Upon seeing this, Derrick yelled out something like, “Is that Leopard Undies!!??” to which I replied “No.” From then on everyone in the whole creation said I had leopard undies (or speedos). That pants was my dad’s and I was kinda hesitant to bring it on the trip anyway, but he said that I should take it just in case it got cold. So when Derrick interrogated me I was very defensive and that probably fueled the rampant heresy from the true nature of the leopard-pattern-pants. There, it is settled now, no more wondering if Feki has leopard undies.
Others have been mentioned already.
What were some memorable stories you can share?
On a serious note I remember when Uncle Bill asked me to present Cap with a Makana, at the end of a training session in Kawaihae, which I believe was made by Uncle Kawika. He asked me to do it because I was the youngest of the crew and there was some protocol for that. It was a small moment, but it was an honor to do a small act on behalf of our crew to Cap. I get chicken skin when I think of that.
I also remember, as a crew, singing Put You Shoulder to the Wheel in Hawaiian in the Waimea 2nd ward, I believe. Although I forgot the words, its still a good memory.
What are your feelings about Iosepa going into the Halau Wa'a?
Iosepa should not be housed at PCC if it is not accessible to Uncle Kawika, Kamoa‘e, the Makali’i ‘ohana, crew, students of BYUH and the ‘ohana/community at-large. In an interview that I had with President Wheelwright on April 30th, 2008 he expressed his concern for the community’s involvement with Iosepa while in PCC and the water. I also know that PCC’s nature needs some reforming, along with an upgrade in the Hawaiian village.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Mahalo Ke Akua for permission to voyage and now we see what our captains say.
Iosepa is set to sail when it is right.
Preparations are also being made for the Halau Wa'a dedication at the end of June.