In Partnership with the Southern Weekend

Pounding poi with Keiki O Ka ‘Āina Family Learning Centers

HI Now host Kainoa Carlson learns how to make poi with Uncle Earl Kawa'a, a cultural specialist at Keiki O Ka 'Āina Family Learning Centers. Kawa'a began pounding poi when he was six years old and still loves it to this day.

Sponsored by Keiki O Ka Aina Family Learning Centers

First, they spread water across the board to prevent the taro from sticking. The next step is called naha, which involves taking the edge of the pounding stone and cutting the taro into pieces. They then combine all the broken pieces together with water, called mokumoku. They bring them together so that they stick and shape them into a ball. Poi is complete when it can ooze out from the tea leaf it is kept in.

Kawa’a introduced the board and stone class to Keiki O Ka ‘Āina about 12 years ago and has been teaching families how to pound poi ever since.

“I wanted to pass the knowledge of pounding poi, I wanted to pass the knowledge of carving boards and carving stones because they all go together,” he said. “I have a great deal of ‘ike, and so I want to pass on that ‘ike as much as possible to the next generation.”