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Monday, March 11, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs March 11, 2024

Women's History month is being celebrated at Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Photo from HVNP

POWERFUL HAWAIIAN WOMEN IN HISTORY are some of the Women's History Month individuals highlighted by Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park during March. One of them is Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani, who owned thousands of acres of in Kaʻū, which became Kamehameha Schools property, sugar plantation lands and some of the recently protected coastal shoreline properties. Hawai'i Volcanoes posted a link to a story about Princess Ruth, written by Faith Bennett:
    Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani was a direct descendent of Kamehameha I, the leader who united the Hawaiian islands and founded the kingdom of Hawai‘i. She was an advocate for Hawaiian culture who was best known for defending the town of Hilo during the 1880–1881 eruption of the Mauna Loa Volcano, which is part of the Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park.

Princess Ruth Ke‘elikōlani owned thousands of acres in Kaʻū.
    Keʻelikōlani was born in Pohukaina, Oahu in 1826. Her mother, Chiefess Pauhi, married her third husband, Mataio Kekūanāoʻa, only three months before she died while giving birth to Princess Ruth. Both Kekūanāoʻa and the Chiefess’s second husband, High Chief Kahalaiʻa Luanuʻu, claimed Keʻelikōlani as a daughter. She was publicly recognized as keiki po‘olua, a “two heads” child, or someone who would inherit the mana (spiritual energy) of both fathers. This early controversy surrounding her paternity presented enduring challenges as she navigated the U.S. legal system to secure a vast land inheritance.
    When she was sixteen, the princess married Leleiohoku with whom she had two children. After Leleiohoku’s death, Keʻelikōlani married Isaac Young Davis, grandson of the haole (a white person) advisor to Kamehameha I. Together they had a son, whom she gave to her cousin Bernice Pauahi Bishop to raise in the Hawaiian tradition of hānai.
    Ke‘elikōlani maintained distinctive Hawaiian beliefs and practices during a period of ongoing tensions between self-proclaimed traditionalists and Christian Hawaiian chiefs. Educated by missionaries in English, she insisted on conducting business in the ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i (the Hawaiian language). Inheriting palaces from her father, she preferred to live in a traditional grass house (hale pili) in Kailua.
    Her rejection of Christianity and the Anglo-American culture made her revered by her countrymen and women, and they turned to her for intervention when the volcano Mauna Loa began erupting in 1880. Six months later in a second wave of eruptions, Mauna Loa’s rift zones released three steady streams of lava flowing toward the town of Hilo, as well as the bases of Mauna Kea and the district of Ka‘ū. Though the lava flows toward Ka‘ū District and Mauna Kea ceased, the lava heading toward the town of Hilo steadily advanced for months. In August 1881 Queen Liliʻuokalani and Princess Ke‘elikōlani arrived in Hilo. At the foot of the lava flow, Keʻelikōlani chanted (oli) and made offerings (ho‘okupu) to Pele, the volcano goddess. The lava flow soon ceased and, according to some reports, Keʻelikōlani then camped overnight just beyond the lava’s reach.

Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani chanted (oli) and made offerings (ho‘okupu) to Pele, the volcano goddess at the foot of a lava flow from Mauna Loa during the 1880-1881 eruption. The lava flow soon ceased and, according to some reports, Keʻelikōlani then camped overnight just beyond the lava’s reach. Charles Furneaux completed this painting of the eruption in 1880, as seen from Hilo Bay. Image from Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park
    She died in May 1883 after a brief illness. At the time of her death, she was proclaimed to be the highest-ranking descendant of Kamehameha I. She laid claim to 353,000 acres of Kamehameha land, all of which she bequeathed to Bernice Pauahi Bishop, who established the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate to set aside land for the preservation of Hawaiian culture and the advancement of Native Hawaiian people. In her will, Pauahi Bishop dedicated the estate to the development of the Kamehameha Schools for Hawaiian Children.
    A statement from Hawai‘i Volcanoes regarding Women's History Month says, "We're celebrating the remarkable women whose dedication has shaped the legacy of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park! From powerful eruptions to the lush landscapes, women have always played a vital role here. We're honoring the women scientists, conservationists, and cultural leaders who've worked hard to protect this special place. Their dedication helps keep our park beautiful and safe for everyone to enjoy." This and more stories about influential women of Hawaiʻi can be found here: https://go.nps.gov/Hawaii-women.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest events,  print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.

Chris Manfredi, Government Affairs Coordinator
of Hawai‘i Coffee Association, pushes for 
a truth in labeling bill. Photo from HCA
HAWAI‘I COFFEE ASSOCIATION AND CHRIS MANFREDI are asking for support from Hawai‘i coffee consumers and the general public to push the 2024 Hawai‘i Legislature to require coffee sold as Hawai‘i Grown to be at least 50 percent of actual-Hawai‘i Grown coffee. The legislation is House Bill 2298.
    Manfredi, who worked as a Kaʻū land manager, coffee broker, leader of Hawai'i Farm Bureau and Hawai‘i Coffee Association, as well as a Kaʻū Coffee Fest organizer for years, remains Government Affairs Coordinator for Hawai‘i Coffee Association.
    The statement is titled Preserving the Integrity and Future of Hawai‘i-Grown Coffee. Manfredi writes: A bill advancing through the legislature establishes a timeline by which coffee sold as 'Hawai‘i-grown' must contain at least 50% of actual Hawai‘i-grown coffee. Coffee growers throughout the state overwhelmingly support this measure. A recent state-funded study showed this change would increase income to nearly 1,500 small farms that are only marginally profitable under the current law.
    Currently, farmers who built and preserve the reputation of Hawai‘i-grown coffee are unfairly forced to compete with fake products, often priced below their own cost of production.
    A few members of Hawai‘i's coffee industry import foreign-grown coffee and mix it with Hawai‘i-grown coffee at a ratio of 9 to 1, so it may be sold as a Hawai‘i origin product. The raw coffee they import commonly sells for less than $2/lb., is not subject to the strict grade standards applied to Hawai‘i-grown coffee, and can contain invasive pests and disease. These foreign-grown blends are then priced many times higher than the commodity coffee that comprises 90% of the blend; often selling for more than $20/lb. solely because of the Hawai'i origin name. Blenders are reaping huge profits while farmers get squeezed.
    When substandard fakes are profiteered in the market, Hawai‘i's reputation is undermined because the consumer can't taste one bean in 10 – they're tasting the $2 commodity coffee and paying a premium for it.
This is important because the practice creates downward price pressure. It's more expensive in Hawai‘i to produce coffee than any other growing region. The high cost of land, labor, farm inputs, transportation

and regulatory compliance have all risen sharply. Hawai‘i's growers are known for producing exceptionally high-quality coffee which allows them to earn prices that enable them to meet these elevated costs.
    After years of debate over this inequity, Hawai‘i's legislature directed the state's Department of Agriculture to conduct a market study to examine the impacts of increasing the minimum blend ratio of Hawai‘i coffee products. The study found increasing the blend ratio to 51 or even 100% will shift revenue away from the blenders and back to the growers. The study also indicated that consumers would be able to better identify and understand the authenticity of the product on the shelf.
   Farming is hard work. That's why the USDA has seen the average age of a farmer increase to nearly 60 years old. Shouldn't we be supporting our local farmers? Shouldn't we be encouraging young people to take up agriculture by rewarding them with a livelihood? Tell your legislature to preserve the integrity of Hawai‘i-grown coffee by supporting HB2298, 
writes Manfredi. He can be contacted at cmanfredi@hawaiicoffeeassoc.org.

COFFEE GROWERS LEARN ABOUT the world of fighting Coffee Leaf Rust in Puerto Rico at the University of Hawai‘i ag extension webinar on Tuesday. The disease also threatens coffee farms here. It starts at noon and features Paul Bayman of the University of Puerto Rico, and his presentation will be on Coffee Leaf Rust in Puerto Rico: Patterns and Pathogens.
    Andrea Kawabata will present on coffee pruning on March 19th and Melissa Johnson's presentation has been moved to April 9. Register at https://www.hawaiicoffeeed.com/coffeewebinars.html.

To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest events,  print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.

Shane Curry Bloking
HAWAI'I POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORTED MONDAY that Hawai‘i Island police arrested 49-year-old Shane Curry Bloking, of Nā‘ālehu, with fourth-degree sexual assault following an incident that occurred on Friday evening, March 8, on board an airline flight bound for Honolulu, from Hilo International Airport.
    As the flight was taxiing on the runway, Bloking reportedly touched and squeezed the leg of a 14-year-old girl he did not know, who was seated next to him, causing her to feel alarmed and unsafe. A passenger seated on the opposite side of the girl observed her to appear emotionally traumatized by Bloking’s actions, alerted a flight attendant, which resulted in the plane being diverted back to the terminal gate, where Bloking was detained by airport police until officers arrived and took him into custody.
   The 14-year-old victim had been in Hilo for several days for a function with other students and chaperones. After the plane returned to the terminal gate and Bloking was arrested, the flight was able to leave.
    On Saturday afternoon, March 9, after conferring with the County Prosecutor’s Office, detectives from the Area I Juvenile Aid Section were advised to release Bloking for the sexual assault offense, as according to the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, the elements for sexual assault had not been met by the actions of Bloking. He was then arrested and charged for harassment. The sexual assault case will be forwarded to the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney for further review.
    Bloking was later released from police custody on the harassment charge after posting $100 bail. He was issued a notice to appear for his initial court appearance schedule for Tuesday, April 2, at 1:30 p.m. in Hilo District Court.
To read comments, add your own, and like this story, see facebook.com/kaucalendar. See latest events,  print edition and archive at kaunews.com. See 7,500 copies the mail and on stands.