In 2014, at the request of kūpuna (elders) who gather and care for native Hawaiian limu (seaweed) around the islands, Kuaʻāina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA) partnered with the ʻEwa Limu Project in an initiative to “gather the gatherers.”
As a result, over 30 traditional limu practitioners representing six Hawaiian islands came together for four days of learning, knowledge sharing and discussion.
Gathering and network-building is a key approach for restoring limu knowledge, practice, and abundance. Gathering our limu gatherers nurtures trust, accelerates knowledge sharing, and grows collaboration towards common goals.
Limu knowledge and practice today endures, held primarily by elders in rural, sometimes remote communities. Their ability to maintain traditional limu practices and pass on their limu knowledge are hampered by the decreasing abundance of a resource that was once plentiful. Urban development, improper harvesting, climate change and other pressures continue to grow and affect limu around the islands.
As gatherers and keepers of the traditional uses of limu slowly age and fade away, so does their knowledge. There are still small pockets of mainly isolated communities where elders still hold much of this traditional knowledge.
The loss of native limu runs hand-in-hand with loss of Hawaiian cultural practice and loss of generational ancestral knowledge and their spiritual identity.
Reversing this co-extinction process will require effective and immediate efforts for co-restoration. The need is pressing, as limu declines continue and elders who hold traditional knowledge are aging.
A GROWING HUI
This hui is still being formed but participants at the first gathering include families and limu loea (limu masters) from ‘Ewa, He‘eia, Kaho‘olawe, Kahana, Kīpahulu, Kōloa, Kuli‘ou‘ou, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Wai‘anae, Waihe‘e, and Wailuku.