These significant Maui experiences will immerse you in Hawaiian tradition

These significant Maui experiences will immerse you in Hawaiian tradition

Maui Westin Resort and Spa, Kaanapali — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini

Although many guests to Maui, Hawaii dream of sipping cocktails whereas lounging poolside, there’s way more to the island than tropical drinks and lovely surroundings. If you want to profit from your trip, there’s an array of enjoyable and intriguing studying experiences that train youngsters and adults on the best way to embrace Hawaiian tradition.

Hawaii journey has opened up as soon as once more this yr, attracting guests from close to and much, and the islands are providing loads of genuine, hands-on cultural alternatives taught by revered island locals.

Hawaiian cultural skill, Oralani Koa, is the manager of Hawaiian programming at the Westin Maui Resort and Spa in Ka’anapali. She has developed and overseen a sturdy program of immersive actions for the company, which embody quite a lot of workshops associated with island traditions, akin to coconut frond weaving, hula dancing, Hawaiian language classes, lei-making, outrigger canoe rides, and extra.

Oralani Koa in Hawaii

Oralani Koa in Hawaii — Photo courtesy of Eric Frankum Maui Westin

Koa says, “Personally for me, these activities are successful if our guests walk away from their experience with a new appreciation and lasting memory of Hawaii.”

Additionally, Koa has performed a serious position on the Westin Ka’anapali, as she was instrumental in main the workforce in choosing the title for the resort’s newly renovated tower, which opened in 2020. After a lot of analysis, the title “Hokupa’a” (pronounced ho-ku-pá-a) which is the Hawaiian phrase for “north star,” was chosen for the construction.

As an educated Hawaiian language teacher, Koa was capable of diving into historic sources and translating some older paperwork throughout her quest for the tower’s re-naming. She defined, “My family comes from this side of the island, so it came easy for me because I have a history here and I was able to look closely at the area’s significance and determine the ideal name to convey a sense of place. And it’s been the biggest highlight of my career here at the Westin.”

Today, the Hokupa’a tower options spectacular seaside views and an expansive, trendy indoor-outdoor lounge overlooking the ocean. This new luxurious tower gives some further curated cultural actions for company who keep right here.

Oralani Koa weaving leavesOralani Koa weaving leaves — Photo courtesy of Eric Frankum Maui Westin

Below are a number of genuine actions that the company can take part in when visiting Maui. While these particular cultural alternatives can be found on the Maui Westin Ka’anapali, many different resorts and organizations throughout Hawaii provide comparable lessons and workshops. (Please go to your lodge’s website to search out which of them are supplied throughout your keep.)

Coconut frond weaving / lei-making classes

Oralani Koa leading lei-makingOralani Koa main lei-making — Photo courtesy of Eric Frankum Maui Westin

These two actions allow the company to make their very own pretty hats, baskets, headbands, colourful lei necklaces, and floral keepsakes. With guided instruction, contributors discover ways to tie, twist and weave the fragile pure supplies to create a completed piece of their selection.

Koa says, “We intentionally wanted to give guests a new perspective by teaching these two activities separately. It’s important that our guests see that I’m not just the ‘lady with the flowers.’ The weaving and lei-making are from cultural practices in our history and represent who we are as people, and these flowers are a special part of the environment that surrounds us.”

She purposely included the coconut frond weaving as a result of its thought-about distinctive.

“What I love about the coconut frond weaving is that we talk about the many different uses for coconut – including water, coconut meat, and the food that you can make from it. Also, guests get to broaden their perspectives and learn that the coconut and palm trees are not indigenous plants to Hawaii – they grow around the world and are used in many different ways, so participants gain a piece of deeper knowledge.”

Hula dancing classes

Hula dancing in HawaiiHula dancing in Hawaii — Photo courtesy of Eric Frankum Maui Westin

Traditional hula is a swish dance that makes use of motion set to island music to convey a significant story. Unsurprisingly, many guests to Hawaii may have the possibility to get pleasure from a genuine hula efficiency whereas at a luau, ceremony, or island cultural presence.

As a hula dancer with practically 30 years of expertise, Koa defined that hula means way more than simply leisure. She says, “Hula dance has helped to preserve our language during the time when the Hawaiian people were unable to speak our own mother tongue.”

She teaches the fundamentals of hula to offer guests an understanding of the dance and explains how the hula saved traditions alive. Participants of all ages obtain a fundamental introduction to the revered dance, whereas studying a bit in regards to the true that means behind the actions. It’s additionally an unbelievable alternative to learn the way the hula has performed a necessary position in the Hawaiian historical past and why it’s essential to future generations as effectively.

Outrigger canoe paddling expertise

Outrigger canoe paddling in HawaiiOutrigger canoe paddling in Hawaii — Photo courtesy of Eric Frankum Maui Westin

Newly launched in 2022 on the Westin Ka’anapali, the outrigger canoe expertise is actually a historical past lesson on the water, as you possibly can paddle into the ocean on a slim four-person conventional canoe (with skilled guides onboard).

Depending on water circumstances, contributors have the chance to leap into the ocean for some snorkeling, catch waves, and (when you’re fortunate) spot some whales. The canoe guides are islanders who come from a protracted line of native households who’re canoe and paddling specialists, they usually share tales and backgrounds with the contributors.

Koa says, “This experience aligns with our pillars of who we are, as Hawaiians, through the land, water, and sky. It’s all about honoring the ocean, telling the story of our people, and how we arrived here in Hawaii. So, in essence, paddling an outrigger canoe offers visitors the chance to see the ocean through the eyes of our people.”

Beach clean-ups

Zane Kekoa Schweitzer leading beach clean-upZane Kekoa Schweitzer main seaside clean-up — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini

Visitors to Hawaii are more and more changing into extra involved in studying methods to be extra eco-friendly. The Westin Waterman program connects the company with native environmentalists – for seaside clean-ups and sustainability workshops – who occur to be world-class surfers, windsurfers, and paddlers who share their love of the ocean. For this exercise, the specialists lead a small group of island guests on an academic seaside stroll to select plastic and focus on the best way to assist fight ocean air pollution.

The program is directed by Eric Frankum, advertising manager on the Westin, who explains that the Maui seaside clean-up experiences are instructional and enjoyable for all ages. He says, “We’re surrounded by the ocean here, and we created this program to really resonate with our community. Most importantly, by participating in beach clean-ups, visitors are encouraged to make a real difference while they are vacationing and when they return home.”

Beach clean-up on MauiBeach clean-up on Maui — Photo courtesy of Marla Cimini

World champion windsurfer and Maui native Zane Kekoa Schweitzer is concerned with the Westin Waterman program and guides coastal clean-ups. He is keen on inspiring mindfulness in others while striving to enhance the setting. He stated, “The start of being an ocean guardian is a shift in mindset, and you can actually begin with small, positive actions.”

He identified, “It’s very eye-opening to know that even in Hawaii – with one of the most beautiful, healthy ecosystems in the world and top-rated beaches, we are sadly still finding plastics.”

Schweitzer’s household owns Maui Sports Adventures, which hosts seaside clean-up actions as effectively. He says, “Our story is to truly connect all of our different ocean communities, and also share the history and the legacy that my grandparents have left for the world, which I’m so proud to follow each day as a windsurfer.”

Hawaiian language classes

For guests who arrive on the island and discover it a bit formidable to pronounce the Hawaiian phrases, an introductory language lesson with a teacher is useful expertise. As the Hawaiian alphabet has twelve letters, and the pronunciation is just like English, a somewhat little bit of following goes a great distance. Although studying Hawaiian just isn’t a requirement for a go-to, it supplies an insightful glimpse into the island’s historical past.

“I’ve seen an increased interest in learning about the Hawaiian language, from residents as well as visitors to Hawaii,” explains Koa, who’s a skilled language teacher. “Tourists in Hawaii who want to grow to be acquainted with the fundamentals of the language will most definitely come away with particularly precious and enriching expertise. We all the time welcome guests who want to study Hawaiian tradition whereas on the trip.”

If you go

Travelers who’re involved in studying extra about Hawaiian tradition (and probably volunteering throughout their trip) may go to the state of Hawaii’s website for extra details about the “Malama” program. (Note: some actions could  be scheduled upfront.)



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