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  • Writer's pictureWedding Estates Hawaii

Hawai`i’s Culture and Tradition in Your Event at Na Mea Kupono

Updated: Aug 10, 2021

Aloha ʻāina. Love the land. Over the past 40 years, this movement has grown significantly in Hawai`i to educate and grow a love and respect for Hawai`i’s land. Na Mea Kupono, a working taro (kalo) farm in Waialua, O`ahu, was established to do this and is illustrated in their mission: perpetuate the concepts of aloha ʻāina and Hawaiian culture values with people of the community and the world, through environmental awareness and interaction, and to improve the quality of life by way of diverse cultural activities.

We talked story with co-founder and kumu hula, Ku`uipo Garrido, about the lo`i, their education program and weddings.

How It All Started

Working the aina started for Ku`uipo in 1996 when Lili`uokalani Trust embarked on creating a community lo`i at the same time Ku`uipo and Steven (her kāne) were thinking the same thing. After working a lo`i for several years, and, with the help of her cousin, they established the current spot where Na Mea Kupono is situated.

Over the years, the lo`i has been used as a working farm and classroom to teach keiki (children) about Native Hawaiian cultural practices, awareness of Native Hawaiian culture, to educate and share the knowledge with others.

Motivated By Love Of Hawai`i

Ku`uipo’s passion was fueled by her love of Hawai`i. Though she has Hawai`i roots, her father’s military career in her earlier years caused her to live in Texas, California and Haleiwa-Waialua, Hawai`i. Once out, her father moved the family to California, where she fell in love with hula and connected with the Hawaiian community there. After high school, she moved back to Hawai`i and never looked back. Over the years she’s worked in Hawaiian education, filmmaking and even sang with Butch Helemano and had her own band.

Planting Kalo Farmers

Her goal is to “plant kalo farmers” by planting the seed of aloha ʻāina, watch it blossom and take over. One day she’d like to build a deck on the house, drink her coffee and see young work the land. She believes the planet is in jeopardy due to what man has done with overbuilding and trashing it through incorporated Western practices. There’s been a disconnect between the planet for most people, but Indigenous peoples have been connected. She wants resources to become intact to sustain life.

Why Weddings At The Lo`i?

Ku`uipo has always thought about holding weddings at the lo`i because it’s a beautiful setting, there’s lots of love on the land and there’s an opportunity to create a special thing on a beautiful land. They hosted Steven’s daughter’s wedding, it was held at the lo`i and, after that, they decided the lo`i was an exceptional location to share for weddings. There’s even a special gazebo gifted to them by a Japanese group that can add additional intimacy to an event.

Na Mea Kupono is a special place for those who have a love for Native Hawaiian culture, aloha ʻāina, and want to incorporate the spirit of Hawaiian culture into one of the most important events of their lives, connecting couples and others there to the mana (supernatural, divine power). It’s for those who highly regard Hawai`i’s indigenous culture and values and want a more intimate event during and beyond COVID-19.

I ka Wa Ma Hope, I ka Wa Ma Mua. The future is in the past. Small change is a big change. ~Ku`uipo Garrido, Na Mea Kupono

To learn more about Na Mea Kupono, click here.

If you are planning an intimate vow renewal or elopement (Tier 1 and 2) now, or are planning to get married in 2021 or later, go to our website and subscribe to our updates. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. Stay safe and healthy.

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