Native Hawaiian leaders, others plan statewide vigil for Maui

Lahaina, Hawaii, residents, who are affected by a deadly wildfire that devastated the community, hold Hawaiian flags a news conference in Lahaina, Hawaii, Friday, Aug. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners will lead a one-day, statewide vigil Friday to aid the emotional and spiritual healing of those on Maui who suffered devastating loss from wildfires that swept through Lahaina and other areas of the island.

Native Hawaiian ceremonies will be conducted on all islands at sunrise, noon and sunset.


To unify the islands in support of Maui, the vigil will be rooted in traditional Native Hawaiian practices and ceremonies and streamed live in partnership with ‘Olelo, Akako Community Media, KAKU 88.5 FM, Maui Stream, Na Leo TV, Ho‘ike TV, Hawaii News Now, KHON-2 and KITV-4, and online on and on YouTube.

Individuals, businesses, and places of worship are encouraged to stream the 6 a.m. to 7:30 a.m. sunrise ceremony, the 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. noon ceremony, and the 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. sunset ceremony, which will be taking place concurrently across the islands.

The public is invited to attend the following ceremonies on Hawaii Island:

• Pu‘u Huluhulu on Saddle Road, all day. Kumu Noenoe Wong-Wilson will lead the daylong vigil with the Kanaka‘ole ‘Ohana and cultural practitioners. The sunrise, noon, and sunset vigils will be streamed live through Na Leo, ‘Olelo and other media partners.

• Four Corners at Kumukahi in Puna at sunrise, with pule by Uncle Keone Kalawe.

• Lili‘uokalani Gardens at the corner of Lihiwai Street and Banyan Drive in Hilo at noon. Ceremony led by Rabbi Rachel Short in partnership with Interfaith Communities in Action.

• Old Kona Airport Pavilions 3 and 4, 75-5500 Kuakini Highway in Kailua-Kona at Sunset. Ceremony led by Kumu Ka‘ea Lyons.

Places of worship, hotels and businesses are encouraged to hold their own in-place vigils and to stream the ceremonies at their venues and share a link to it on their social media.

The vigil also will be featured in Friday’s University of Hawaii vs. Stanford football pregame segment.

Hokulani Holt-Padilla, a Maui-based kumu hula and revered Hawaiian cultural elder, explained that while financial assistance and other resources are being provided to support the physical health of Maui families, many respected kupuna and Hawaiian cultural practitioners said emotional healing is also a need that must be addressed.

“There’s an urgent need for prayer, cleansing, and reflection so that together, we can help Maui and Hawaii heal,” Holt-Padilla said. “This vigil will help to create a space for grief and healing and the opportunity for Hawaii to be united.”

A member of the Rediscovering Hawaii’s Soul initiative supported by the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative, Holt-Padilla worked with HEC’s chairman Duane Kurisu and RHS executive lead Kamana‘opono Crabbe to enlist support for the vigil among leaders in the Native Hawaiian, faith-based, business, and nonprofit communities and state and county government, including Gov. Josh Green and all four county mayors.

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