Aloha, we are pleased to announce the formation of Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities, Inc., (“PUEO”) a non-profit dedicated to enhancing the educational opportunities of Hawaii’s youth and their communities.
PUEO recognizes the importance of Hawaii’s children to seek knowledge from all sources in order to survive and thrive to create careers that sustain the survival of their needs and families in Hawaii. PUEO was born to assist our children in this noble and traditional journey.
Keahi Warfield is the current president of PUEO and has served the community for many years with a strong focus on helping today’s youth. He leads the RISE 21st Century After School Program which serves as a community resource bank for Native Hawaiian, underprivileged youth ages 12 – 17. Keahi believes strongly that Hawaiian culture, science and technology can work together to produce a better future for everyone. Recently he spearheaded the effort for the Keaukaha community to restore and use the Hokualaka‘i double voyaging canoe for its kids and families to regain a relationship with the wa‘a (canoe), the island, the ocean, and the culture.
Our Board of Directors
PUEO’s board members are native Hawaiians from the Keaukaha-Paneewa Hawaiian Homesteads in Hilo who exercise customary and traditional native Hawaiian rights on Mauna Kea. Our intent is based on a unifying vision of Hawaiian language, culture, science, technology and exploration. PUEO seeks to provide and enhance the opportunities for our children to continue the tradition of Hawaiian culture of exploration and learning to all members of our communities. Board members include: Richard Ha, Bill Brown, Mapuana Waipa, and Patrick Kahawaiolaa.
Board Member Statements Of Support
Patrick Le’o Kahawailoa’a
I am native Hawaiian born and raised in Keaukaha, Hawaii. I was taught about my culture and traditional protocols and customs in the traditional ways from my na kupuna from Keaukaha/Kau/Kauai. I was born in 1944 in the territory of Hawaii before Statehood and before the construction of any telescopes on Mauna Kea, however as a native Hawaiian growing up in the oldest native Hawaiian community on leands having the status of Hawaiian Home lands in Keaukaha my experiences on Mauna Kea was mostly for accessing to conduct our traditional gathering rights as I was taken on hunting trips and trips to gather ohelo, ieie vines, tree ferns and orchards crops at Puu OO to help supplement our ohana at home in Keaukaha. We gathered adzes at the adzes quarry at Kanakaleonui and fallen Koa for our traditional art and craft work for summer school tought by cultural practitioner Papa Henry Auwae, and for sale by our na kupuna at the Hawaiian Village in Keaukaha. As was tought to me by Anake Nani Whitney. We gathered the water from Lake Waiau for medicinal purposes for our na kupuna who practiced traditional healing. As taught to me by cultural practitioner Albert Iokepa. I left in 1963 to serve in the United States Navy in Vietnam aboard a Destroyer. I served two tours of combat duty until 1967 whereby I was discharged in Los Angeles, California, got married raised my family there and coming home on vacations from time to time and seeing the progress of the telescopes being developed on Mauna Kea.
The presence of the telescopes has not diminished my ability to practice my culture if I desire to do so, to worship, or to pay respects to our ancestral spirit of Poliahu, wahine kapu. In fact, I’ve found that the telescopes development has made it easier to continue our cultural practices at the summit area of Mauna Kea, however it’s our gathering rights which appears to be challenged by the DLNR. Before construction of the summit road, our na kupuna walked or rode horses and or needed a 4 wheeled vehicle to get to the top. They even kept it open in the winter after their snow plows clear the roadway for the safety of all the people. In all my years since my return to Hawaii over 30 years ago and visiting Mauna Kea, no one has interfered with or disrespected my cultural practices, however it was my gathering rights called into question, I do feel that one’s right to practice one’s culture needs to be balanced with other things, such as safety on Mauna Kea — for example when the Mauan Kea access road needs to be temporarily closed because of the snow.
The telescopes on Mauna Kea represents mandkind’s most advanced search for knowledge and understanding, as learning has been and will continue to be an important part of our cultural practices. In a way the study of Astronomy and the look into the universe using these new telescopes is like searching for the ancestral origins of the universe. How is this any different from us as native Hawaiians searching for our own mookuauhau in things both natural and spiritual?
I mean no disrespect for anyone’s religious beliefs and cultural practices, but everybody has their own way of worshiping, and everyone is free to have and practice their own religious beliefs so long as they don’t hurt anyone. But I don’t agree that we should oppose things on Mauna Kea just because it’s a modern thing, as Hawaiians have always been a creative and adaptive people.
I am native Hawaiian, born and raised in HILO, Hawaii. I learned about my culture and customs in the traditional way, from my grandparents and other members of our family. Our family roots are in the ‘aina and kai.
The construction of the telescopes on Mauna Kea has not diminished my ability to pay respects to our ancestral spirit and for theose that practice our unique religion and beliefs. Before the construction of the summit road, our grandparents and their grandparents had to walk or ride horses to get to the summit. But now, because of the telescopes, they maintain the road so that we can drive to the top. They even keep it open in the winter after their snow plows clear the roadway. In all my years of visiting Maunakea, no one has interfered with or disrespected my cultural practices.
As a young keiki fishing and foraging with my family, I learned the old ways of conservative practices with take what you need and to respect nature and its wisdom. This wisdom has filtered to my children, nieces, and nephew, who would themselves follow the footsteps of the voyaging canoe Hokule’a, their curiosity and hunger for knowledge only grew more. They’re persistent with learning the stars and the moon, and how important the study of the heavens was to the ancient Hawaiians. It is this quest for knowledge that is the main reason I support the TMT — because it will help my progenies to learn more about themselves, our culture and heritage, and God, and what’s out there beyond the stars that we can see with only our eyes.
In my own backyard, we practice ancient husbandries to grow mea’ai (food) to include modern techniques, knowledge, equipments to grow the necessary perishable items for our family and community, but for the most part, we still consider this to be traditional and cultural as it allows us to survive and follow the ways and lifestyles of our ancestors. And along the Hilo and Puna coastline, where we the Lawai’a (fishermen) continue to this day to traverse the rocky coast, looking for edible sustenance like Opihi, Limukohu, and A’ama, diving for Wana and Pipi’i, spearing Manini, Kole, Weke, and Kumu but most of all throwing our traditional net on a bounty of I’a schools is a technique of old but modern material usage to construct the net, the diving equipment, and the tool to collect mea’ai on the rocky coast. This does not make fishing along the Hilo and Puna Coast any less traditional or the lifestyle any less Hawaiian, as we must learn to use the tools that God has given us.
I am proud to support yet another tool that will only add to our search for knowledge, and I am proud that we, as Hawaiians, will have the opportunity to have this project built on the best place in the world — right here on Maunakea.
We are located in Hilo and we can be contacted by email, phone or twitter and facebook.
120 Pauahi Street Ste. 312
Hilo, Hawaii 96720
Our Community Involvement
Members of PUEO have been active in the Big Island community for many years. These activities include apprenticeships, supporting Hawaiian cultural practices, finding internships, working with performing arts, student exchanges and work study initiatives.