In ancient Hawai'i, the ipu kukui, lantern was made by burning the nuts of the kukui plant. Each nut could burn for 2-3 minutes. there were different types of ipu kukui. One type was the ihoiho which was formed by stringing the nuts on a short coconut midrib or from a splinter of a babmboo. They were placed in a stone bowl filled with sand. The other types were lama ku (filling kukui nuts in babmboos or poho (filling kukui nuts in stone bowls) and then lighting them. In later years, an ipu kukui also a lighthouse. These lighthouses as you know were beacons of lights for ships in the ocean to find their way back in the night.
You can be in lost in total darkness, but then you are able to see your way by the lit of a kukui nut lantern or you are able to find your way back through help by the light of the lighthouse. With that idea, the light that is able to help you see is the symbol of knowledge. Once knowledge is there, you able to do things just like the light can help you to see things.
Hale Ipukukui, is the Hawaiian Studies program at Ha'aheo Elementary School in Hilo. At Hale Ipukukui, we teach students grade K - 6 to see, know, and discover things that are Hawaiian or about Hawai'i. We follow the traditional Hawaiian way of learning. Before each class goes to papa Hawai'i (Hawaiian Studies) the must chant from the outside asking permission to come in and learn. Being that this program is part of the State of Hawai'i D.O.E. Hawaiian Studies Kupuna Program, together with innovative ways of education we follow the traditional way of learning from a kupuna (elder) which is to nana (look), ho'olohe(listen), Ho'opili (follow), and hana (do). It is the hope of Hale Ipukukui is that they will ho'omau (continue) to use all that they have learned.
To learn about the entire school of Ha'aheo go to Ha'aheo School's website