HONOLULU (KHON2) – I’m sure you’re familiar with different variations from this to this to the lazy man where we just go “oh” or right here on KHON when we’re like this.

We are talking about the shaka and its origins.

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Something that now is expressed across the globe originally comes from right here on this part of Oʻahu, the Lāʻie and Kahuku side and it is really fascinating to know there is a documentary being made currently that is going to help to share this story. 

The documentary is called “Shaka: A Story of Aloha,” and to find out more, we are here with the producer, Steve Sue. 

I am fascinated by this story so just to paint a little foundation, what is this story about and when does this come about?

“It came about 3 years ago,” says Sue.

“I was interested in the shaka story like many people on this island.  I know that 91% of our population in Hawaiʻi have no clue where it came from.  So, like the rest, I asked where did it come from?  A friend of mine says go to Lāʻie, meet my aunties and uncles.  They will tell you the story. So, I come up to this place and they start to tell me the story and they say this is important to preserve for the keiki because once they go, nobody knows the story,” Sue says.

Sue continues, “So, I thought let’s bring up a test crew, shoot some shots because they were completely insistent that we do a movie on this, and I was like “I’m not sure if we want to do that, but we’ll see.” And as soon as we saw the test shots, it was obvious. This needed to be made into something that is shared with the world because the shaka is Hawaiʻi’s gift to the world.”

“It’s the power of Aloha and so I am super excited to be part of the project. Kamehameha Schools funded it, they brought in cultural consultants. It’s been just this amazing collaboration among the LDS community up here, Polynesian Culture Center, BYU Hawaiʻi. It’s just amazing how people have come together, and I have not had an experience of people fighting about the story. They all want to contribute in a really respectful way. So, I am super stoked,” says Sue.

I know there is something that is taking place tomorrow as part of this documentary which you will be filming is bringing back this grand hukilau or this practice that communities come together to harvest fish and pull in the fish net as a community to feed that community. 

Tell us about what is taking place tomorrow.

“Yah, so the Grand Hukilau in the olden days, which is 1948 to 19, I think about 63, they held these hukilau to raise money for the LSD church that had burned down,” says Sue. 

“And so that event ended in 1964 after the Polynesian Culture Center opened so the goal of this event was really to raise money then they stopped doing it.  We are bringing it back 60 years later for this one-time event and the significance of it is that this event largely helped the shaka get out to the world. Took it to the Honolulu side, lots of people came to this event. So, it helped to popularize the gesture,” says Sue.

So, when are you expecting to complete this documentary?

“Mid-next year. We will do the film festival circuit, hopefully, get it online distribution. It was originally created for classrooms, so Kamehameha Schools, DOE system and beyond. That is kind of our goal.”

Awesome, thank you very much Steve, and thank you for working on such a story. 

Now, the public, you have an opportunity to be part of this grand hukilau that is being filmed tomorrow right here at Hukilau Beach in Lāʻie from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Come down, check it out and be a part of this event that hasn’t been done for a really long time in this community. 

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For all the information about that and the Shaka: A Story of Aloha documentary, click here.