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APASS: Aloha ‘Āina: “Love of the Land”


Noa VierraNoa Vierra
February 11, 2022

Lūʻau, meaning feast, is a common event back in Hawaiʻi. Lū’aus are held for many occasions and could commonly be explained as a celebration. The first Lū‘aus in Hawaii were called pāʻina (party) or ʻahaʻaina (dinner party/banquet). These events date back before the 19th century and occurred frequently within the islands of Hawaiʻi. Now you can find lūʻaus across the nation and are vital to the cultivation of Native Hawaiian culture.

The University of Northern Colorado’s Ha'aheo 'O Hawai'i Club has annually hosted a lūʻau for the past 31 years. For the past two years, we have hosted a virtual experience of lūʻau, but it has not quite grasped the full experience of the event. Thankfully, this Spring Semester, we will be returning to an in-person Lū‘au and we could not be more excited. Having this event each year creates an amazing opportunity for all UNC students to experience the Hawaiian culture and cultivate relationships with our Hawaiian community on campus. It also allows us to share the real Hawaiian culture with individuals who are only educated about common stereotypes.

This year, the theme for Lūʻau is Aloha ʻĀina. As you learn and dive deeper into the Hawaiian language, you begin to realize that words and phrases have more than one meaning. Aloha ʻĀina is an example of this. The phrase itself means love of the land. The phrase became widely known due to the protest over on Mauna Kea on Hawaiʻi island (the Big Island). Our mountains are very spiritual to Native Hawaiians and it is known as Wao Akua, The Realm of the Gods. Here on these mountains are where Hawaiians were known to oli (chant) and pule (pray) since it is the closest to the Hawaiian Gods. Mauna Kea is known to be one of the most spiritual mountains in Hawaiʻi, and despite opposition from Native Hawaiians, multiple telescopes have been built upon its summit.  Now, they plan to build a thirty-meter telescope (TMT) that would further desecrate the land. People from all around the world have gathered upon Mauna Kea in protest to stop the building of the telescope. You can visit our Hawaiʻi Clubs Instagram, @uncohawaiiclub, for more information on the topic under the post of the Hawaiian flag. We also plan on putting together a donation opportunity at this year’s Lū’au to see if anyone would like to help to the cause. All money collected will be donated to help with those who seek to protect and stay upon the mauna. With inspiration of those protecting the mauna, we would like to do our part to Aloha ʻĀina and we are determined to display its deeper meaning within this year’s Lūʻau.

The educational components will be shared through the speech, dance, and food of the Lūʻau. Throughout the event the host will educate the audience of the history and the present occurrences happening back in Hawaiʻi. Further into the educational aspect, the Lūʻau includes a dance performance by UNC students. The student members of Halau Hula 'O Ha'aheo will be dancing hula, which is a teaching of its own. From the words to the motions, each component of dancing hula teaches you a little bit of the history and/or teaches you through the expressions of the mele (song).

As we have shared, every part of the Lū’au demonstrates the values and culture of Hawai‘i and we invite to please join us on April 9th, 2022 at 5 p.m. in the University Center Grand Ballroom for a fun night showcasing the values and culture of Hawai‘i. Our dinner menu includes Hawaiian foods like Kalua Pork, Lomi Salmon, Mac Salad and more. Throughout the Lū’au, there will be activities to engage in such as our keiki corner which has fun games for all ages, along with our country store in which guests would be able to purchase a bunch of goodies and items from the Islands.

Limited tickets available through the UNC Ticketing Office
Call: 970-351-4849
Online: bit.ly/luau-2022

We are looking to raise $5,000 to help us cover the costs of the Lū’au. Your gift will support everything from entertainment, food, decorations and other miscellaneous supplies. With your support the Hawai’i Club can plan a Lū’au that is close to being true and authentic to what we celebrate back home with music, live entertainment and the delicious foods.

Consider making a gift and support the Lū’au

Asian Pacific Student Services (APASS)

AsianPacificAmerican.StudentServices@unco.edu | 970-351-1909
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