Provisioning the Future
One of the ways Paishon and Na Kalai Wa`a Moku o Hawai`i is passing on this knowledge is by working with local schools — 10 of them —
both in the classroom and in the school gardens, on a provisioning program for the Makali`i’s planned 2019 voyage to the Northwest Hawaiian Islands.
“I asked the schools, ‘Is it possible to provision one canoe ... 14 people for 30 days?’” Paishon says. “I asked them to grow the foods that do well in their communities, whether it be Waikoloa, Hawi, or Honokaa. This is what our ancestors did when they would voyage, and in so doing we are bringing the entire community together.
“The wa`a belongs to the community,” Paishon says. “And without the community the wa`a would not exist.”
Paishon says that in many ways, when the canoe is at sea, it is a microcosm of Hawai`i Island itself. “This is us,” he says, “right on the deck of the canoe, we are a tiny floating island. We take care of one another. And it’s no different when we get back to the island. We have an obligation to one another.”
That message, delivered in classrooms and talks throughout the island, is Paishon’s passion. “If we can provision one canoe,” he asks, “why can’t we then provision our entire island? Through the canoe we are creating a model for the island to act as one community, in order to sustain itself in both food and humanitarian ways.”