The kitchen is pau and open for business!

Posted by Stacy

Have you heard the good news?  The Waipa poi mill, kitchen and hale imu are complete!  Food entrepreneurs started using the kitchen in March, and applications are still being accepted.  Call our office at 826-9969 for information.

The new facilities are named Laukupu.  In the mo'olelo of 'Aukelenuia'iku, Laukupu was a mythical leaf that fed and caused man to thrive. As you can see in the photos, Waipa’s programs, staff and volunteers have been using the kitchen to experiment with all sorts of products like poi bread, pizza and prepared salads.  Laukupu is also home to Pili Au, our new food and farm tour.  *Pili Au info.

The imu (underground oven) works well and has been used since Laukupu’s blessing celebration last September.  At Thanksgiving, our team and folks from Kaua`i Mini Golf cooked 1,000 lbs of turkey, ulu and `uala for their free community Thanksgiving dinner, and for Waipa ‘ohana. 

Mahalo to your, our community, for all of your support, and mahalo also to our many patient funders and our amazing contractors- Chad Rausch, (General) and HokuSwartman (Septic & Wastewater), for helping make Laukupu a reality.

Entry posted on 03/21/2016


What's hiding in Waipa's Pu'uhonua?

Posted by Stacy

Ever wondered what’s up with those floating rafts of plants in Waipa'Halulu Fishpond?  Does anyone ever go out there and check on them?   We call those rafts our Waipa “pu`uh?nua” because they provide a place of refuge for baby fish, shrimp and other creatures which might get eaten by predators in the deeper parts of the pond.  Most of the pu`uhonua are planted with native plants and kalo, and two with the invasive Water Hyacinth, which were already in the pond, to create a clean mud-free habitat for creatures, and to see what kind of habitat they prefer.  The plants are planted on top and their roots hang down through the coconut fiber mat providing habitat both above and below the water.

In April, Dr. Carl Berg and Wiley Barker, along with a few volunteer helpers, had some pu`uhonua hukilau to count, weigh, and measure the fish, shrimp, snails and tadpoles on the rafts.  Carl and Wiley waded out into the stinky muck of the pond and put a seine net under each raft to capture whatever creatures were in, on, and around it.  Then, they hauled the raft onto the bank and took photos of the top and bottom of the raft before shaking the creatures off onto a tarp.  Helpers gathered up o`opu, opae, tadpoles and the odd frog, hapawai or `aholehole, and put them into containers of water before helping Wiley and Carl to measure, weigh, count and throw them back into the pond...except in the case of the tadpoles, since they are invasive. 

The highest count of one species was over 300 tadpoles counted on just one raft.  “The number and size of each species varies by season” says Carl, a biologist, “as well as who else is on the raft”.  “Just one big o`opu or bullfrog means there will be a lot less opae”.  The pu`uhonua project was Carl's idea, after creating the rafts for another purpose-to remove excess nutrients flowing from taro fields into Hanalei Bay.  Waipa's pu'uhonua are funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service Fish Habitat Restoration Project. 

Project assistant Wiley Barker is a senior at Kapa`a High School and joined the project about a year and a half ago after visiting Waip? with Kamehameha Schools Scholars Program.  She is doing her senior project on the pu`uhonua.   

If you love slimy creatures or recording data, volunteer helpers are welcome on the following dates at 2pm at Halulu Fishpond. 

Friday 5/22

Friday 6/26

Friday 7/24

Call our office, 826.9969 for more info!

Entry posted on 05/14/2015


Winter Reflection

Posted by Stacy

As we approach the end of 2014, we celebrate, with gratitude, the amazing natural beauty of this `aina of Waipa, of Kaua`i o Manokalanipo, of Hawai`i nei.  The opportunity to malama this place, to work and learn, teach and share, and deepen our connections with `aina and community is a true gift, as are those beautiful, crisp, clear and cool winter days here on Kaua`i?s north shore.

Friday, December 19th was one of those days.  It was the last day of school before Christmas Break, and a perfect day for a field trip!  Mr. Chris Skabo brought his 4th graders from Kilauea School on a visit to Waipa, as they had been studying the ahupua`a.    After preparing for a big hike, and looking at a model of the Waipa ahupua`a, we set off on a walk past the lo`i, a young koa forest, and an exciting-and cool-stream crossing. 

After a really steep climb, we reached Makaihuwa`a ridge, the site where our ancestors used torches to guide fishermen in their canoes back to shore after dark. After taking in the view, and discussing the mo`olelo of Makaihuwa`a, it was a quick hike down for lunch and then back to school. 

While the rain helps to keep everything green and growing, we love those beautiful, sunny, cool, surf-filled winter days. 

Happy New Year everybody!



Entry posted on 12/31/2014


Kitchen and Poi Mill Construction Update

Posted by Stacy

Driven by Waipa during the last month wondering about our new construction project?  Or maybe you donated to our capital campaign for the Waipa Kitchen & Poi Mill a long time ago and wondered what ever happened to it?

We are so grateful and excited to report that construction of the Waipa Poi Mill, Kitchen and Hale Imu is underway!

Waipa  held a ceremonial groundbreaking on July 23rd, and work started in August.   From the start of conceptual design, it took 7 years to get permits, funding, and contractor in place, but these important new facilities will finally open in 2015.

Waipa looks forward to offering more classes, workshops and programs in the kitchen, as well as encouraging facility use by farmers and food entrepreneurs in our north shore communities, 

If you enjoy growing food or cooking, or if you own or are interested in owning a food related business like farming, catering and value added products, we encourage you to stay in touch by joining our “kitchen” list.  Contact Kalen Kelekoma at or 826-9969.

Pictured, top to bottom.

Chad Rausch and Dan Miller of Chad Rausch Construction, project general contractor; Removing dirt from the excavation for the imu; Forms set for concrete pad of the kitchen and poi mill.


Entry posted on 09/05/2014


Mele kalikimaka a hau`oli makahiki hou!

Posted by Stacy

NOTE:  Mahalo to Lea for the beautiful pics!

With the holiday season upon us and the new calendar year in sight, we take a moment to look back upon 2013.  Waipa had an epic year once again:  Welcoming the use of a new building-for both our programs and community gatherings and raising nearly $800,000 to almost complete our $1.7 million capital campaign for the kitchen.  We continued to run our regular programs with lifelong learners from near and far and co-created a homeschool program at Waipa.  We kept the gardens and kalo growing-feeding everyone kale-and through our weekly poi days we estimate having made about 50,000 pounds of poi this year.  Farmers markets continued to happen every week and our two festivals-Music and Mango in August and Kalo in December, were well attended and so much fun! 

Yes, our staff members are amazing, but it takes a community, and Waipa could not have accomplished all of this without our dedicated force of volunteers who help to lead our organization as board members, make and deliver poi, implement our festivals, cook food, play music, teach kids, and so much more.  We mahalo all of you, and look forward to many more good times together in this new year.

And to all of you individuals out there who have donated to support Waipa, our programs and our kitchen this year, as well as our partners and the many foundations whose funding, support, and tireless work makes our programs happen and are helping to bring our kitchen to fruition…mahalo, mahalo, mahalo to you too!

As the solstice has passed and we welcome longer days and more sunlight, we look forward to continuing to build and nurture a healthy and vibrant community-at Waipa and beyond-living and sharing our culture and taking care of our `aina.  We anticipate continuing our regular programs and activities as well as being open to new partnerships, experiences and opportunities for positive growth.

It all sounds so busy-and it is-but we want to remind everyone that within our busy lives we can take the time to spend with kupuna, and the keiki, go for a surf, or watch the sunset.  Remember sometimes to forget about the past and the future, and just be present in the very moment you’re in, to really savor the people and experiences that come our way, and make our lives so rich. 

Mele kalikimaka a hau`oli makahiki hou!

Entry posted on 12/23/2013


Waipa Christmas Tree Sale!

Posted by Stacy

Buy a local Christmas tree this year and enjoy knowing your purchase will help Waipa continue to serve the keiki and `ohana in our communities!  We are so grateful to share that like last year, Susie Pond has chosen to donate all proceeds from sales of her Kilauea farm’s Christmas Trees to Waipa Foundation.

Susie and her husband planted a couple acres of Norfolk Pines on their Kilauea farm 27 years ago.  They named the christmas tree farm, Pond’s Pines, and have been cutting and selling trees for over 20 years, as well as donating to churches such as Christ Memorial in Kilauea.  Many friends -such as Barbara and Scott Robeson- as well as returning visitors, come to get a tree every year, and much of the tree-cutting visit is spent catching up and talking story. 

The trees re-grow from the stump, with each stump growing two, three or more trees.  If the re-growth is not cut the trees will grow to 80 feet or taller, becoming unmanageable.   More recently, Susie’s husband passed away, and while the farm is relatively low maintenance most of the year, harvesting and selling the trees became too much of a task for Susie to handle alone.  So last year, she teamed up with the folks at Waipa, who voluntarily help with harvesting, and trimming trees, and with sales.  Last year, some of Waipa’s more creative staff made beautiful wreaths for sale as well.  All of the proceeds from the sales go to support Waipa’s operations and programming. 

Norfolk pines make beautiful Christmas trees, and for the trees whose branches are too widely spaced, Susie has a special technique of wiring two trees together to make them appear to be one thick, beautiful tree. 

Waipa and Susie will be cutting trees at Pond’s Pines on Kuawa Road in Kilauea (the road to Common Ground, the old Guava Kai), on Saturday, December 8th between 10am and 4pm.  From 10-noon, those who have pre-ordered a tree in advance can come and choose their tree and take it home.  Unreserved trees will be available for sale from 12pm to 4pm.

Trees under 8 feet will be $35, and larger trees will be individually priced.  Pond’s Pines has a limited number of trees, so Waipa will accept pre-paid advance ordered until December 8th.

To place a pre-paid reservation, you can message us on facebook, call our office at 826-9969, or email us.  We will display a beautiful Pond’s Pines tree, and hopefully wreaths too, at Kalo Festival and accept orders then too. 

Wreaths will also be available on Saturday, December 8th.  

For more on Kalo Festival, check out:

Entry posted on 11/21/2012


Waipa is under construction!

Posted by Stacy

Anyone who has visited us since mid-September will have noticed there are some changes at Waipa, and a lot of activity going on in the big field.  What kind of changes?  Well, for starters, the big ironwood tree which used to provide shade for parking and for us to gather in piko is now gone.  Drivers at Waipa now need to dodge black silt cloth and lots of stakes and flags.  Activity and work is concentrated at the site where new buildings will be located, near the gardens. 

All of this activity is due to construction starting on a Multipurpose Building that Kamehameha Schools is building for Waipa’s use.  After more than six years of design, funding allocation, and permitting, the work has finally started, and the facility is quickly taking shape.  The building will provide Waipa Foundation staff and the thousands of learners that visit each year with a new space in support of educational programs and community gatherings.

After this first building is done, Waipa Foundation, will then begin construction on our new certified Community Kitchen, Poi Mill and Hale Imu (housed in two new buildings adjacent to the multipurpose building).  Permitting for those new facilities is nearly complete, and in the next seven months we will need to raise the remaining funds for construction.  We expect the next two buildings to take about a year more to construct, after which the kitchen and poi mill will be available for Waipa and community use.  In addition to providing new opportunities for community entrepreneurs and new "food focused" educational and training programs, the certified kitchen and poi mill will also help us to bring Waipa’s signature products to our Farmers Market, and other events celebrating local food!

So, if you visit Waipa anytime soon, please be sure to watch for the stakes, and don’t park in the big field- park in the yard in front of our offices.  We have already moved our Tuesday Farmers Market to the field by the Waipa Ranch, in front of our plant nursery.  Kalo Festival parking will be at this location as well, and the festival is definitely a great reason to come visit! For more on Kalo Festival this year, check out: 

Entry posted on 11/13/2012


Waipa veggies

Posted by Stacy

NOTE:  Mahalo to our Garden Manager Kari for contributing to this blog.


Get ready for Waipa Produce again! 

Waipa’s gardeners are gearing up for an extra productive growing season this year.  We produce veggies all year round that are sold at our Tuesday Market and eaten by volunteers and kids in our programs, and their `ohana. 

But the summer months are just too hot for most of the crops we like to grow and eat.  The lettuce bolts, the carrots get bitter, and the beets and cilantro just don’t even sprout! 

Kale is one of the few things that can handle the heat, and that’s just one more reason to love kale.  We grow a lot of it, since most of our program kids and Waipa `ohana are now addicted to Kale Salad. 

We also are now experimenting with greenhouse tomatoes and Japanese cucumbers thanks to our old greenhouse that got fixed up, and Joseph Dunsmoor, our garden expert. 

So, look for our produce at Tuesday market, and contact us if you’re from our north shore communities and are interested in getting produce, but can’t make it to market…we’re thinking of maybe starting a Kilauea delivery once a week and pick-up at Waipa. 

Everyone’s been asking for the Kale Salad recipe….

So here it is!

You can use this as a base and add other things like quinoa, cucumbers, tomatoes, seaweed, etc. to create your own variation.



Kale (Fresh)

Olive Oil

Balsamic Vinegar

Braggs (Liquid Aminos-like shoyu)

Sesame Seeds (optional)

Sesame Oil (optional)

Rinse kale and shake off water. Rip kale leaves from stems and into bite sized pieces, into a medium large bowl. Sprinkle generously with olive oil, and with a little Balsamic Vinegar and Braggs to taste. Toss the kale with the mixture, add more oil, vinegar, Braggs to taste, and add a little Sesame oil at this point, if desired. In order to wilt the kale, lomi the salad with a clean hand. Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Entry posted on 10/02/2012


Reforesting Waipa is a Community Effort

Posted by Stacy

Just over a year ago, Waipa began expanding our reforestation plantings into a new site.  This 1.3 acre area, on the south facing slope of Kuahua (the ridge which forms a boundary between the ahupua`a of Waipa and Waikoko), was cleared of non-native vegetation in early August, 2010.

Every year, for years now, on Admissions Day weekend in August, the Nakamura, Shiramizu, Loo-Marshall `ohana have come camping at Waipa, and their trip always includes a project to give back to the `aina.  Last year, they became the first of many groups to begin planting this site, primarily with Koai`a, a native lowland Koa.  A couple of weeks ago, this same group of families returned to camp once again, and we hiked up to check out the trees.  In a year they had grown so that some of them were nearly five feet tall, the beginning of another native forest at Waipa!  We had finished planting the site, so after giving our trees some good mana, we hiked back down and weeded the lo`i kalo.

Since that first planting in August 2010, through May of this year, numerous groups and individuals have contributed to the reforestation at this site.  They include:  Aunty Puna Kalama’s Halau, Ms. Shelby Dabin’s first grade class from Kanuikapono School, Peter Vitousek and Stanford University’s Hawaii Field School, Earthday Rising, Doug Sears and the Grand Hyatt Po`ipu Management Team, Raleigh Fisher and his dad Jon, among many others. 

In November of last year, a couple of us planted about 25 Koai`a trees right at the top of the planting site in honor of Uncle Gary Blaich, and indeed this has become a place for us to remember him, and his love of Waipa and the outdoors.

Mahalo to all of you, and the Waipa staff and `ohana who help to facilitate this work, we hope that in a few years, these trees will be thriving like those in some of our previous plantings, and we look forward to acres of beautiful native forests at Waipa in the decades to come. 

A USDA-NRCS Wildlife Habitat Incentive Program contract helped to provide some funds for clearing and planting.


Entry posted on 09/12/2011


Refurbishing Wa`a, Just In Time for Summer!

Posted by Stacy

During the winter and spring of 2011, Waipa staff and interns, led by Trevor Cabell, built and refurbished four wa`a for use in our programs. A four man wa`a pe`a (sailing canoe), two four-man paddling canoes, and one six-man Albesia canoe were readied for use this summer.

The wa`a were blessed by Aunty Puna Kalama Dawson, in a beautiful ceremony and celebration held in April. Her halau, Waipa `ohana, and members of Kaiola Canoe Club and the local paddling/sailing community were all present.

Keiki participating in Waipa’s Summer programs this year indeed benefitted from these wa`a, as they explored the waters of Hanalei Bay, deepening their connection with the kai, gaining new skills and experiences, and having fun! Now that the early summer rush is over, Waipa plans to continue to utilize the wa`a in it’s programs, and also to begin it’s own monitoring program of Waipa’s nearshore resources.

Mahalo to Trevor, Kapule and Kaipo, the Waipa Interns, Aunty Puna, the Hau`oli Mau Loa Foundation, the Kamehameha Schools `Aina Ulu program, and all those who contributed to providing Waipa with these valuable learning resources.

Entry posted on 07/27/2011


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