Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Sunday, Nov. 13, 2016

Tiapala, friend to many Kaʻū people, has gone home to the Nechung Temple in India after more than 30 years living in Kaʻū.
Photo by Julia Neal
WOOD VALLEY’S RESIDENT TIBETAN BUDDHIST MONK HAS DEPARTED. Lobzang Toldan, best known as “Tiapala,” recently moved home to Nechung Monastery in India after living for more than 30 years in Kaʻū.
     Tiapala moved to the Nechung Temple in Wood Valley in 1984. The temple opened in 1973 and is closely associated with the Dalai Lama who visited in 1980 and 1994.
     Tiapala is known to be very friendly. He led public Buddhist services at the temple, and participated in interfaith services and blessings throughout the Kaʻū community. He rang the gong for prayers and greeted guests. He helped with a coffee farm on the temple grounds and enjoyed picking coffee while listening to Dalai Lama teachings. Most local residents knew him.
     Nechung Temple is today a retreat and active Tibetan Buddhist temple located on 25 acres. The temple has hosted over 50 programs led by Tibetan Buddhist lamas.
Tiapala welcomed people for prayers and lessons. Photo by Julia Neal   
     The temple is located in Wood Valley on the former site of a Nichiren Shu sect Buddhist temple dedicated by Japanese residents of the area in 1902. A flood destroyed the temple in the early 1920s. After rebuilding, the temple reopened but was closed during World War II when its Japanese language teacher and priest were sent to holding camps for internment. In the 1950s the temple again reopened, but shut its doors in 1963, as most of the Japanese sugar workers had moved from camps in the area to houses in Pahala.
     In the early 1970s Tibetan Buddhist students invited Nechung Rinpoche, the head lama from Nechung Monestery in India, to come to Hawaiʻi. The students found the Wood Valley temple site and thought it would be a perfect place for a temple and retreat center for Rinpoche. Rinpoche came to Hawaiʻi and stayed at the Wood Valley temple for eight years.
     Tiapala served as Rinpoche’s assistant in Tibet and India. After Rinpoche passed away in 1983, the temple in Wood Valley invited Tiapala to be the resident monk. With his departure, a new resident monk is expected to arrive  in the future, coming from from Nichung Monastery in India.
   Today, “Just outside Pahala, this century-old, colorful Tibetan Buddhist temple is wonderfully juxtaposed against a lush 25-acre retreat center where peacocks roam free,” is how the Lonely Planet guidebook for Hawai‘i Island describes the center.
     Visitors are welcome to join in chanting and meditation sessions (held daily at 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.), or to just visit the temple and its gift shop. Rooms in a meditative guesthouse are available for stays of a few nights for individuals and groups. See www.nechung.org 
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Kumu Hula Debbie Ryder, on drums, accompanies 
dancers from Hālau Hula O Leonalani of Pahala, as
they celebrate Kahuku with the forest behind them.
Photo by Ann Bosted
Iwao Yonemitsu
Photo by Ron Johnson
THE WESTERN SIDE OF HAWAIʻI VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK            experienced a double celebration on Friday, Nov. 11. The Kahuku Unit celebrated Veterans’ Day and Fridays becoming permanently open to the public.

     The 116,000-acre Kahuku unit was added to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes Naitonal Park in 2003, doubling its size. Since about 2010, this vast area has been open to the public only on weekends from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., often with some Saturdays closed. The extra visitation day each week means more time for Kaʻū residents and visitors to enjoy the unit’s five trails, and will be a small step in closing the gap between the highly visited and publicized eastern side, and the far less visited and essentially undeveloped western side, with its history of ranching, native forests and wildlife.
    Hundreds of people, mostly Kaʻū residents, joined the double celebration, which included a special ranger-led hike, keiki activities, a Hawaiian game like horseshoes, Hawaiian music, hula, educational and activity booths and three food trucks.
     Debbie Ryder and her Hālau Hula Leonalani performed with musicians Gene Beck and Demetrius Oliveira.
     Keola Awong, the Area Manager for Kahuku, welcomed the crowd to the historic celebration. Kaʻū s State Representative, Dr. Richard Creagan, introduced the well-known WWII veteran and Kaʻū personality, Iwao Yonemitsu, who was honored for his military service.
     Yonemitsu, 93, said he was a “buck sergeant” in the army, who, at the age of 20, chose to serve his country instead of being interned with other members of his generation who were of Japanese ancestry.
   “We were trained in Mississippi for 14 months, before being sent to combat. We were on board a ship for 28 days without knowing which part of Europe we were travelling to.
    “We were landed in Italy. I was in charge of four guys, and we had the responsibility of carrying and firing 60mm mortar shells, to support riflemen. We fought from 1943 to 1945. We worked our way from Rome to Florence in Italy, where at least the weather was warm. We were shocked to encounter Italian families begging us for left-over food.
     “France was colder and wetter, but we never pitched a tent.”
SusZan Warner, National Park ranger based in Kahuku Unit, shows keiki how
 to make attractive bookmarks honoring  Hawai'i Volcanoes
 National Park by pressing inked molds onto the paper. Clockwise from
 bottom left are JerenaVierra-Mukini, Suszan, Sean Self-Ahyee,
Dreana Vierra-Mukini and La'akea Kaawaloa-Okita. Photo by Ann Bosted
    Yonemitsu was in New York City when V Day was declared, and in San Francisco for VJ day.  Back in civilian life, Yonemitsu settled in Naʻalehu, where he became the cost control superintendent for the sugar plantation and an agronomist. He is well known for his history lectures and photo shows on sugar plantation life and its economy. He and his wife Alice have four children.
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NATIVE HAWAIIAN FORESTS and the ‘Ōhi‘a Lehua, Sunday, Nov 13, 9:30 a.m., is the program at Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park. Participants learn about the vital role of ‘ōhi‘a lehua in native Hawaiian forests, its many forms and flower on this free, easy, one-mile walk. nps.gov/havo
Dick Hershberger wrote the dialogue and plays Jaggar in the
vignettes about the 1916 founding of Kilauea Miltary Camp and
 Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, and the their ongoing history.
KMC Theater today. Photo from KDEN

VIGNETTES ON KĪLAUEA MILITARY CAMP'S HISTORY and its partnership with Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park are on tap for 2 p.m. at Kīlauea Military Camp Theater. The Sunday afternoon event is hosted by Kīlauea Drama & Entertainment Network and entitled Kīlauea 1916...and Beyond: A Centennial Celebration. The vignettes, with dialogue written by Dick Hershberger, look back at the people involved with the beginning of KMC and the park, which both opened in 1916. Tickets are $10 and will be available at the door.

SUPERMOON RISING, A supermoon is rising in the Kaʻū sky. This will be the closest full moon to Earth since 1948, according to NASA. The supermoon rises from the ENE at 5:38 p.m. today, and sets on Monday morning in the WNW at 6:50 a.m. The oversize moon, though it will be visually slightly smaller, rises again on Monday at 6:32 p.m. and sets on Tuesday at 7:56 a.m., and rises again on Tuesday at 7:29 p.m.
   The visual effect of a supermoon is due to the eliptical orbit of the moon, a NASA report states. One side of the moon (the perigee) is about 30,000 miles closer than the other side (the apogee).  When the perigee faces the earth the moon looks larger. The moon rising tonight will look about 14 percent larger than usual, and will shine about 30 percent more moonlight on Kaʻū. Watch for another supermoon on Dec. 14. A supermoon already appeared on Oct. 16.

MEDICINE FOR THE MIND, Sunday, Nov 13, 4 p.m. – 5:45 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. Buddhist healing meditation for beginners through advanced. Free. Patty, 985-7470.

VAC COMMUNITY OUTREACH, Sunday, Nov 13, 4 p.m. – 7 p.m., Volcano Art Center in Volcano Village. At the first semi-annual potluck event, members, board of directors and staff share and discuss plans for future programs and events. All are encouraged to attend. 967-8222.

Annual Makahiki Run passed through Kaʻū on Friday.
Photo by Ann Bosted
THE ANNUAL MAKAHIKI RUN AROUND THE ISLAND passed through Kaʻū on Friday. Runners said the circling of the island marks the season for connection and rejuvenation. They described it as a prayer run. It began on Nov. 9, and is scheduled to end today.
    Physical feats are very much a part of Hawaiian culture, and this one is no exception. In four days the runners cover 175 miles, while carrying the staff of the ancient Hawaiian god Lono. Any runner along the way is welcome to join in, for whatever distance. Supporters are available to drive cars for those who spontaneously join the run.
     The first run was held in 2014, and was the brainchild of Lanakila Mangauil, a cultural practitioner from Hāmākua. Originally the Makahiki was the traditional practice of the circuit of the high chiefs and the kahuna. In early times the procession would go clockwise around the island, beginning in Kealakekua, said participants.

BEAUTY OF KAʻŪ ARTWORK IS DUE TOMORROW, Monday, Nov. 14 at Naʻalehu Hongwanji between 9 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. The annual Chamber of Commerce art show opens to the public Tuesday with free entry through Friday, Nov. 18, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Naʻalehu Hongwanji Breezeway.
     A popular vote will determine the cover of The Directory, the 2017 Kaʻū Chamber of Commerce community resource and business guide. All entries are eligible to win the popular vote (the cover) including youth and keiki art, with the exception of previous cover winners for The Directory. Registration is $5 per adult entry, $2.50 per youth entry and $1 per keiki entry. Prizes will be given for: photography, sculpture, woodworking, quilting, jewelry, lei, graphics, painting and weaving.
    During the show, works of art  for sale will be priced on a list available from art show volunteers. The results of judging and the selection for The Directory cover will be announced Saturday, Nov. 19 at 11 a.m. at Naʻalehu Hongwanji, with artists invited to a reception and awards ceremony.  Entry forms are available at local schools and from merchants, on the Chamber website and at the door during art drop-off hours. The Directory is published in January.
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PAINTING WITH PEGGY, Monday, Nov 14, 12 – 3 p.m., Volcano Art Center acrylic workshop returns. $20/$15 VAC members. Students bring supplies. 967-8222

JUMP ROPE CHALLENGE, Monday and Wednesday, Nov 14 ans 16, 2:15 – 3:15 p.m., Kahuku County Park. Ages 6 – 12 . 929-9113


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