On 100 acres in the back of Kalihi valley, the community is gathering to restore a Hawaiian forest, breathing life into the ancient relationship between land and human. This kinship is honored through Ho'oulu 'Āina's native Hawaiian reforestation project, Koa 'Āina, where we harvest large invasive species to make room for native species to grow. We are developing a woodshop and a portable mill where we can engage community members in repurposing the invasive lumber into objects that bring waiwai – true wealth – back into the community.
We are aiming to create a sustainable native reforestation project, harvesting trees that damage Hawai'i's ecosystem and creating valuable carved and built products that reconnect us in our everyday lives to the mana of this land. The project is called Ola Koa, and we're inviting you to get involved!
Our understanding of sustainability comes from the ancestors of this land, Hawaiʻi. Investing in the skills of our youth ensures the perpetuation of ancient practice. Creating objects with a legacy ensures the survivial of our culture. And our choice to restore the native forest ensures water for future generations.
Ola Koa activities include carving, building, milling, sanding, creating, and dreaming! From an invasive albizia log, master and novice carvers created a sailing canoe, Keaolewaokalihi, and through this single-log vessel we perpetuate the ancient knowledge of carving, lashing, sailing, fishing, and even surfing. The development of intentional space for the repurposing of invasive lumber will provide opportunity for greater perpetuation of 'ike.
Our current programming engages thousands of volunteers every year. Each month, we host between 200 and 800 community members looking for opportunities to reconnect with 'āina, culture, community, and their own sense of health and spirituality. Ho'oulu 'Āina is a source of belonging, meaning, and wholeness for many people, and the engagement ranges from swinging machete in the forest to learning about native plant medicine to growing and sharing food together.