Ka Welina About Our Program
This activity begins with traditional Hawaiian protocol, followed by a “talk-story” about the history of Hālawa Valley. Guests are then guided through our Hawaiian Learning Center, which is based on taro farming and lo‘i restoration. We then hike to Mo‘oula Waterfall, which is about 1.7 miles each way. Throughout the hike we identify the native plants and ancient archaeological sites that make Hālawa unique. At the falls we take some time to swim, eat, and enjoy the scenery before hiking back.
Hikes are offered Monday through Saturday, and go from approximately 9:30am to 2pm.
Rate – $75 per person. Lower rates are available for keiki (kids), large groups, and kama‘aina. Please contact us for more information.
Revenues generated through the hikes help to fund the Hawaiian Learning Center.
Volunteer at HOLK Hawaiian Learning Center
HOLK offers volunteer work days, which include taro farming, lo‘i maintenance and restoration, and related projects.
Open to various ages and group sizes (no more than 30). Please contact us for more information and to set up a date.
Intern Program (1-3 months)
Please contact us if you’re interested in our intern program that will tentatively start in January 2013.
‘Aina The Place
Our project is located on 2 acres of kuleana land within the ahupua‘a of Hālawa. Hālawa is located on the northeast corner of Molokai. The ahupua‘a consists of the floor of the valley and its lower slopes up to about the 250-foot elevation line, plus the adjacent shoreline and cove, altogether encompassing approximately 500 acres of land and about 20 acres of offshore waters. Hālawa’s breathtaking waterfalls are located in the back of the valley, providing the area with a continuous supply of fresh water, which runs through the taro lo‘i (patches/ponds), back into the stream, and eventually out into the bay.
Archeological evidence (radiocarbon dating) has been found that dates back to 650 A.D., making Hālawa one of the earliest recorded settlements in all of Hawaii (Kirch, 1969). Kirch’s studies indicate that by the 1300’s, the valley’s population had expanded inland, and irrigation systems were developed alongside the stream. Extensive taro lo‘i systems dominated the valley’s settlement pattern and covered about 55 acres, including well over 1,000 lo‘i. Up until the early 1900s, Hālawa was well-known for its poi, which was produced from the taro grown in these lo‘i, and processed in the poi factory that was in operation until it was wiped out by the 1946 tsunami. Hālawa poi was distributed throughout Molokai, as well as Maui.
In contrast to much of Hawaii, the ahupua‘a of Hālawa is still largely intact. Much of the population moved out around the time of World War II, to join the military and/or to move closer to the new “conveniences” springing up on Molokai, such as jobs (pineapple industry), schools, and entertainment. Today, there are only a handful of inhabitants. The valley is almost entirely privately owned, with numerous small parcels owned by various owners, and the majority of the land owned by Pu‘u O Hoku Ranch (approximately 400 acres).
One of the few full-time residents is Anakala (Uncle) Pilipo Solatorio, the oldest kūpuna living in the valley, who was born and raised here. Anakala is the landowner of the 2-acre parcel on which this program is based. We are very fortunate to have him guiding us and overseeing our Hawaiian Learning Center, Hālawa ‘Ohana Lo‘i Kalo (HOLK).
‘Ohana The People
Anakala Pilipo Solatorio is the oldest living descendant, born and raised in Hālawa valley. He lives here full-time now with his wife, Diane. The Hawaiian Learning Center is based on Anakala and his teachings. He was raised in a lifestyle rarely found today. In addition, he grew up farming these exact lo‘i, and knows them inside and out. Visitors enjoy a rare treat when Anakala sits down to share mo‘olelo about Hālawa with them.
Josh Pastrana is the primary farmer and HOLK program director. Anakala has taken Josh under his wing, and taught him for over 15 years. Josh now does a mix of taro farming, lo‘i maintenance, leading hikes, and overseeing volunteers.
Harmonee Williams is Josh’s wife and the program administrator.
Mo‘olelo Our Stories
Anakala Pilipo was born and raised in Hālawa. He left Hālawa to join the U.S. Navy when he was a teenager, and later moved back to Molokai with his wife Diane. He worked for Molokai Ranch, on the west end of the island, for 30 years. During that time he often visited Hālawa, and he started leading hikes to the waterfalls. His nephew ran the hiking business for many years.
Over the years, and with the help of his ‘ohana, Anakala re-opened his lo‘i, and started farming taro on his family land once again. He moved back to Hālawa full-time in 2008, and with Josh, began running the hikes again in 2010. During these years of lo‘i restoration, various individuals and groups came to help and to learn, so Anakala decided to start a grassroots program as a means of cultural education.
Today, there are two main aspects of this program: the guided hikes to the waterfalls, which is a for-profit business, and the HOLK Hawaiian Learning Center, which is a non-profit organization. The hiking business supports Anakala and Josh in their work at HOLK, which is mostly unfunded and based on their volunteer efforts.
E Pa‘alula Mai Protocols
We welcome anyone who is interested in visiting us, and who is respectful of Native Hawaiian cultural practices and protocol. Our activities are based on the availability of our kūpuna and guides, so visits must be scheduled ahead of time.
We emphasize and encourage the observance of traditional protocol on our property. Protocol of entry involves the reciting of oli (chants) asking for and granting permission to enter the site. Groups that are culturally oriented and have knowledge of such protocol generally come prepared with their entry oli. Visitors who do not have an oli prepared will also carry out protocol, but we will assist you.
Your safety is important, so we need to make sure that you have no allergies to insect bites (or that you bring the necessary medicine with you), nor any physical condition that would prevent you from participating safely. You should wear proper footwear for hiking, or wear clothes that you won’t mind getting muddy for working in the lo‘i. Bring a hat to protect you from the sun and a change of clothes. We have a composting toilet that you can use and if you need to use the bathroom during the hike, please let our guides know. We ask you to mālama this place like you would your own home. Hālawa has many cultural and historic sites and we ask that you respect this special place by not moving, removing, disturbing, or altering these special features.
For families with children, please note that the hike is through uneven terrain, so we generally do not recommend toddlers, infants, or individuals who might be at risk or have difficulty completing the hike to participate in this activity.
If you have any questions, please join us in the comments below. Have you visited with us before? Please share your stories and experiences.