Makahiki Column

Aloha mai e nā hoa makamaka!

Each year since time immemorial, Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) await the arrival of Nā Huihui o Makaliʻi, the constellation of stars also known as the Pleiades or the seven little sisters.  When Makaliʻi rises at sunset, it is most visible in the night sky.  For Kānaka Maoli, this signifies the beginning of the Makahiki, a traditional celebration of the harvest and a time of personal rest and spiritual renewal.  Makaliʻi usually appears in late November when the sun turns to the North, which brings warmth to the earth and supports the growth of plants and the spawning of fish.  As the harvest is gathered, gifts are traditionally given as an expression of thanksgiving.

The rise of Makaliʻi (constellation Pleiades). Photo credits: NASA, ESA, AURA/Caltech, Palomar Observatory.

In celebration of Makahiki, the staff at Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law gives thanks for the many blessings reaped in 2018.  With great appreciation for your support, we have much to celebrate, including:

* Expanded program offerings, which served over 2,000 students and community members this year alone through classes, clinics, lectures, presentations, publications, trainings, LSAT preparatory classes, and other outreach efforts.

* A re-vamped website for our digital archives – – which was awarded the 2018 International Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Award for Archives Excellence.

* A successful launch of our I Mana I Ka Wai Water Law and Advocacy Training series, in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which aims to deepen the Native Hawaiian community’s collective knowledge in this area. Thus far, six workshops have been facilitated on Molokaʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, and Lānaʻi, and four more trainings are planned for Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island.

* The publication of 8 articles, book chapters, and essays on topics ranging from water and the Public Trust, collective memory and Hawaiʻi’s Crown Lands Trust, Hawaiian language legal history, U.S. territorial peoples, and a reparative justice response to the legal challenge to Guam’s decolonization process. 

* Nine law school graduates in May 2018, with Certificates in Native Hawaiian Law, bringing our total number of certificate graduates to 111.

Although we have much to be proud of, more work remains to be done.  To help with these and other Ka Huli Ao initiatives, please make a tax deductible donation at:  With your support, we look forward to continuing to draw the best from Maoli tradition in pursuit of scholarship, enlightenment, and justice for Kānaka Maoli and all of Hawaiʻi’s people.

To show our appreciation for contributions of $150 or more, we will send you a 18 oz. vacuum insulated Ka Huli Ao water bottle.  The bottle will be sent to the address you provide on the online gift form.  If you would like it sent elsewhere, please note that in the comment section.

Ka Huli Ao 18 oz. vacuum insulated flasks in assorted colors.

To mail your donation, please make checks payable to the “University of Hawaiʻi Foundation” and indicate “Ka Huli Ao” on the memo line.  Send your check to:

William S. Richardson School of Law
Attn:  Ka Huli Ao
2515 Dole Street, Suite 203
Honolulu, HI 96822

Mahalo piha!

Kapuaʻala Sproat
Professor & Director

Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie
Professor & Founding Director             

Ka Huli Ao Faculty and Staff
Susan Serrano, Mālia Akutagawa, Kamana Beamer, Avis Poai, Mahina Tuteur, Letani Peltier, Tereariʻi Chandler-ʻĪao, Sean Aronson & Lan Nguyen