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June 3, 2011

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Ohana Adventures to Pu’uhonua O Honaunau and 2-step

Recently the Ohana group geared up with fins and snorkels to explore one of the most fascinating places on the island, Pu’ uhonua O Honaunau (City of Refuge).  The group set out to learn about tropical reef fish and remains of ancient Hawaiian culture first hand.  Pu’uhonua O Honaunau was home of the ali’i (royalty) of the Kona district. This compound consisted of more than 10 buildings within the coconut palm grove. A massive stone wall was built in 1550 and still stands today, separating the royal grounds from the Pu’uhonua. Pu’uhonua was a place of refuge for defeated warriors, and for citizens who violated the Kapu (sacred laws).  In 1819 Kamehameha II got rid of the traditional religious practices that took place here, destroying the huts or leaving them to their own fate. This area became a national park in 1961.

Ohana Adventures to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

The Ohana started their day snorkeling from the royal canoe landing reserved only for the chief and his attendants. The small group geared up with snorkels, goggles, and fins and slid their way down the two natural lava steps into the crystal clear blue water (hence the nickname “two-step”). The students grazed above glowing cauliflower coral reef, saw exotic reef fish and identified sea creatures such as the dragon muray eel, humuhumunukunukuapuaa (Hawaii state fish), and the aha (needlefish). The students were excited to be able to swim through an underwater arch formed by coral and lock eyes with a honu (Hawaiian sea turtle).

Ohana Adventures to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Ohana Adventures to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

After exploring the small bay the students explored the lively tide pools that stand with warm ocean water on the smoother pahoehoe lava. Gazing into these pools they initially seem lifeless, however with close attention they came alive and students began to see the loli ( sea cucumber), opihi and small fish living in what was their small home.

Ohana Adventures to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

After drying off the group made their way into the Pu’uhonua O Honaunau to eat lunch. The conversation topic revolved around “If we were an explorer in this day in age what three things would we bring with us to start a new prosperous civilization?” This invoked some creative conversation!  After lunch the group scouted out the old remains of the ali’i. Students were able to play konane (Hawaiian game played on a rock similar to checkers), watch a native Hawaiian weave coconut into fishing nets, and carve koa into canoe’s. It was a very packed day!

Ohana Adventures to Pu'uhonua O Honaunau - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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April 29, 2011

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Ohana Visits the Volcano Art Center

Today the Ohana went to the Volcano Art Center (VAC). The VAC is a nonprofit educational organization located in and around Hawaii Volcano National Park. Their mission is to promote, develop, and perpetuate the artistic and cultural heritage of Hawaii’s people and environment through activities in the visual, literary, and performing arts. The Ohana had the sweet opportunity to have a personal tour of a Hawaiian rain forest by a park botanist. Ohana members were taught how to identify the 4 components that make up the lush Hawaiian Rain Forest.
Ohana Visits the Volcano Art Center - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults
After a self- confidence boosting lunch conversation surrounding what “awesome” things the students accomplished in life, it was time to get dirty.  The group gave their “malama” (care) to the community by digging out the well known invasive species kahili ginger. Kahili ginger was brought over by the Polynesians as a decorative flower and is now over taking the important middle story plants that are essential in the Hawaiian rain forest. The ohana geared up with large trash bags and sturdy hand picks to tackle the invasive plants. A challenge to see which student could pick the most ginger was put into place. The Ohana started digging with enthusiasm and filled large bags to the brim. In the end the Ohana transformed a small section of the forest, making quite a difference.


Ohana Visits the Volcano Art Center - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young AdultsOhana Visits the Volcano Art Center - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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April 25, 2011

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Pacific Quest Ohana Volunteering with Ka’u Main Street at the Naohuleua Historical Garden

The second Saturday of every month Pacific Quest puts on their work gloves and heads off the farm over to the Naohuleua Historical Garden.  Students volunteer to work with Ka’u Main Street in an effort to keep the native garden blooming. Ka’u Main street is a Non-profit organization that was formed in 1991 to protect the economic future of the Ka’u downtown areas and rural communities.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Naohuleua Historical Garden is located on a beautiful 1864 Roman Catholic church site, rescued from being torn down 3 years ago, Ka’u Main Street was able to save the church and plant native Hawaiian plants as well as Canoe plants ( plants brought over to the island by the Polynesians ) on the surrounding property.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Pacific Quest is able to contribute by planting, weeding and developing the Historical Garden to its fullest. Students also help by collecting Kukui nuts and seed clippings of the Hibiscus (Hawaii’s state flower).  This was a big job, and great service work to contribute to help preserve the town history. In addition, On March 11 the students of Pacific Quest created a detailed map to scale of the Garden.  The map will be published and colored.

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

Click here to find out more about Ka’u Main street and the Historical Garden Project

Volunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young AdultsVolunteering at the Naohuleua Historical Garden - Pacific Quest: Wilderness Therapy for Teens & Young Adults

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