Celebrating Makahiki

Rear Adm. Brian Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific (fourth from left), and Capt. Marc Delao, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii, commanding officer (fifth from left), paddle to Rainbow Bay Marina during the 17th annual Makahiki Festival, Nov. 3. Photo by MC2 Melvin J. Gonzalvo

MCC Donald W. Randall

Navy Region Hawaii Regional Operations Center

The annual Makahiki was celebrated at Rainbow Bay Marina, Nov. 3. The Makahiki, or Thanksgiving festival, featured ho‘okupu (gift) presentations, cultural demonstrations and ancient traditional games. The event was free and open to the public.

Guests from Native Hawaiian organizations included the Royal Order of Kamehameha, Ali‘i Pauahi Hawaiian Civic Club, Daughers of Hawai‘i, Na Wahine Hui O Kamehameha, Aiea Community Association and Oahu Council of Hawaiian Civic Clubs.

The beginning of the Makahiki festival was marked by the arrival of Lono to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam (JBPHH). Lono, a deified guardian of agriculture, rain, health and peace, arrived via double-hulled canoe paddled by dignitaries.

This year’s paddlers included Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort, commander, Navy Region Hawaii (CNRH) and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific; Capt. Marc R. Delao, commander, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) Hawaii; Cmdr. Corey Hurd, JBPHH chief staff officer; Cmdr. Blaine Pitkin, JBPHH operations officer.

Col. Douglas E. Pierce, commander, 647th Air Base Group, and deputy commander, JBPHH, welcomed Lono to Ke Awa Lau O Pu‘uloa, now known by most simply as Pearl Harbor.

“(Military members coming to this event) is an important aspect to our relationship not only with the local population but the native Hawaiian groups as well,” Fort said.

“It shows that we’re not just visitors and we don’t just come here to serve; we come here to be members of the community. We come here to be an important aspect of their cultural awareness as well. In fact, we’re very proud at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam,” he added.

Fort added that JBPHH has most recently introduced the Aloha Welcome Academy, a class which introduces incoming Sailors to Hawaii and its culture.

Operations Specialist 1st Class Steven Smith, a CNRH reservist supporting the event said the experience was rewarding.

The Makahiki festival provided an opportunity for military families and civilians alike to learn and appreciate some of the cultural traditions of native Hawaiians.

NAVFAC Hawaii, CNRH and JBPHH coordinated with Kupuna Shad Kane and various other organizations to make this annual Makahiki a success.

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Category: FeaturedNews