TEACHER: Kawika Foster is the next-generation apprentice to the lineage-holder of 50 generations of Hawaiian teachings. He is holding workshops in Byron.
TEACHER: Kawika Foster is the next-generation apprentice to the lineage-holder of 50 generations of Hawaiian teachings. He is holding workshops in Byron. Contributed

Indigenous Hawaiian traditions offered as a way to heal

INDIGENOUS Hawaiian culture will be the subject of a series of traditional healing and hula dance workshops being held in Byron Bay from tonight through to Sunday.

Born in Hawaii, teacher Kawika Foster is a 51st generation apprentice of a traditional Hawaiian school of learning called Mana O Kahiko (spirit power of our ancestors), dedicated to preserving and sharing traditional Hawaiian ancestral teachings.

He will be presenting two talks on traditional Hawaiian healing and culture, including the art of hamohamo (traditional Hawaiian healing massage), precursor to modern lomilomi massage and Ho'oponopono (traditional Hawaiian healing process of conflict resolution).

Organiser of Kawika's visit, Byron Bay's Kathryn Roberts, said that given the effect missionaries had on the indigenous people of Hawaii, it was rare to find an unbroken indigenous lineage dating back this many generations.

"This family has maintained the traditional dances and stories and cultural practices despite the missionaries making it illegal to follow their cultural practices," she said.

"Kawika was adopted out to a white family, but around eight years ago he sought out his traditional culture and was apprenticed to Kumu Paa Lawrence Kalainia Kamani Aki of Halawa Valley, Molokai - the lineage-holder of 50 generations of Hawaiian teachings traditionally transmitted by story (Mo'olelo), chant (Oli) and dance (Hula).

"Western society is increasingly drawn to learning about indigenous cultures because we have lost contact with our own traditional spiritual practices.

"The workshops offer people teachings about Aloha - or unconditional love - and traditional protocols, or prayers. Ancient traditional Hawaiian knowledge is handed down in an oral fashion while the knowledge of the ancestors is preserved in Hula (Hawaiian dance form), Oli (chants or prayer), Mo'olelo (stories told to share teachings) and its Kaona or hidden meaning."

The dance to be shared during the hula workshop is called Life in These Islands.

Details

Kawika will be presenting two talks - Thursday and Sunday from 6-9pm on Traditional Hawaiian Teachings, Healing and Culture at Byron Kinesiology Centre, 28 Seaview St, Byron Bay. Cost: By donation.

The Hula workshops are on Friday and Saturday at Kulchajam, 1 Acacia St, Byron Bay, 10am-2pm. Costs $150 for both days.

There is also a farewell class on Monday from 5pm to 7pm at Coorabell Hall.

Contact Kathryn Roberts 0407 877 309 krobertsau@yahoo.com.au for more information.