|Author's note: The manhood rite Kahana Nui
is totally fictitious. Although it has been based on concepts borrowed from
various cultures, to my knowledge no such practice by any name exists in
Hawaii. There is no intent here to offend just write a fictional story.
"Well?" Kono Kalahauna asked expectantly, watching Dan Williams' expression and hoping for an approving look. He did not get it.
Danny turned over the leaflet again. "It used to be something important, Kono. I know that. I want to see the Hawaiian culture strengthen just like you do." He shook his head. "I don't think this will make any difference. It's just a rich boy hype now."
Kono scowled. "It don't have to be."
"But it is -- not to mention the expense."
"We can deal with that," Kono hastened to explain. "Look Mark Pauiuu is the best Kahuna I know. He agrees with me that we can get this back to what it should be -- a religious and cultural experience."
Danny nodded without conviction. "I've read his column in the newspaper, Kono. He's a great guy; his heart is in the right place. This isn't about Mark's convictions."
"You're right -- it's about yours," Kono commented.
Danny exhaled slowly and dropped the paper to the coffee table. "I can take Lonnie boar hunting any time out on Kauai."
"But you can't take him to Kipahulu Valley. I can." Kono hunched forward on the edge of the couch. "Danny, he has a right to this."
"A right!" He made a face. "Please, let's not get into that. There isn't anything magical about Kipahulu Valley." But Danny already knew the answer. The ancient manhood rights were always held in the sacred forests. Kipahulu Valley was the only place left. Federal restrictions limited access to only authorized Hawaiian religious sects and a few science teams. The scientists even had to get permission from the Kahuna. It was what made the Kahana Nui (Great Man) the specialized and expensive adventure.
Steve McGarrett sat by silently listening to the debate, appearing to focus on his iced tea. Kono had known that Steve would be at Danny's when he came to call. He had hoped Steve would back him up, but so far, the chief of Five-0 had said nothing. Duke Lukela completed the little group of men that encircled the coffee table upon which lay the small booklet about Kahana Nui.
Duke offered his opinion. "How long do you think it's been since there was a Kahana Nui in Mali's family?"
Danny gave a small smirk. "Generations -- if ever."
"What does Lonnie know of her genealogy?" Duke asked.
"He knows all he has to know," Danny fired back. "I made sure he learned five generations."
Duke rubbed his hands together. "Being Hawaiian is more than his five generations. Lonnie is Hawaiian, Danny, he needs his heritage."
"He knows his heritage. I have knocked myself out trying to help him learn the importance of the Hawaiian people." Danny was beginning to sound frustrated.
Steve spoke: "Then maybe you'd better knock yourself out just one more time."
Danny glared at him. "You're supposed to be on my side."
"Side?" Steve remarked. "I wasn't aware there were sides. I think we are all on Lonnie's side here. After the trouble he was in a few months ago, he needs to know that his identity is more than grass skirts and pigeon English."
Kono leaned forward again, trying to sound reassuring. "Mark and I have the best record of anyone on Kahana Nui, you know that. And besides -- you'll be there."
Kono nodded, looking solemn. "Maybe it time for you too, bruddah."
"I have pretty limited experience chasing boar around the jungle with spears," Danny remarked. But his tone betrayed he was yielding.
Carrie Donagon gave a small chuckle. "So you gave in."
Danny grinned sheepishly from his side of the table in the restaurant. "Ah, I guess so."
"I knew you would." She poked his shoulder. "You're a regular pushover."
She sipped her water. "Don't worry about it. I like my men as pushovers." She nibbled on a carrot stick. "It is kind of scary though."
"Yeah. Some of those boars are big. There's a stuffed one in the history museum -- must weigh over two hundred pounds and the tusks on that thing." She shivered. "Like I said -- scary."
"Well, the Kahana Nui right is kind of a win-win. The boy declares his sacred manhood by killing a boar. The park gets rid of a boar or two. The boar tears up the indigenous plant life. There are several botanical species that are nearly extinct because of the boar."
"Dan Williams, plant rights activist," Carrie kidded. "Well, when is this little adventure? I'd love to have Audrey stay with me."
"She'll like that," Danny agreed. Since Audrey's shooting, the child had had some lingering left-sided weakness. Doctors promised a complete recovery in time, but things had seemed to drag. Audrey adored Carrie, probably in part as a mother figure. The rest was simply because Lonnie loathed Carrie. Audrey seemed to lose no opportunity to irritate Lonnie about anything she could -- Carrie included. Danny had been patient. He and Carrie had limited their visits, both taken steps to encourage Lonnie's acceptance, but without success. Lonnie remained as immovable as ever. Danny often suspected it was because Lonnie believed it was one of the few things he could control.
"It will give us all a good opportunity," Carrie added. "You know, guys weekend, girls weekend."
"Just don't buy out the mall."
She grinned. "And don't you boys get gored by a boar."
Lonnie did not think he had slept a wink all night. Ever since Kono and Danny had told him about Kahana Nui he'd been counting the minutes and the great day was here at last. Even before the sun crept over the horizon high enough to come through the trees, he was out of bed and dressing for the trip. He had loaded his backpack repeatedly for the last three days and still thought he might have forgotten something. He smelled coffee and knew his dad was up.
Lonnie hurried to the kitchen, pulling his pack behind him. "When will Kono get here?" he asked expectantly.
Danny glanced at the clock. "An hour. Better eat breakfast."
Lonnie checked the cabinet. "There's no Cap'n Crunch."
"Boy, are you in for a dose of reality," Danny laughed. He left the kitchen and went to Audrey's room. She was still asleep. He looked at her small form. Audrey looks so innocent asleep. Carrie is good for her. Carrie is good for me. I like the way she thinks. I like having to keep up with her wit. I like having her be smarter than me. What I can't understand is why she hasn't been snapped up by the most eligible bachelor on Oahu -- she is too good for me. It was easy to use Lonnie as the reason he hesitated to deepen his relationship with Carrie. In reality Danny was just plain afraid. He had more or less resigned himself to the solitary life -- except he seemed to keep collecting dependants. Although he wanted to open the doors of his life to Carrie, every time he considered it, a knot of cold fear would start in his stomach.
Danny returned to the kitchen where Lonnie was satisfying himself with Cheerios. Danny poured himself another cup of coffee knowing it was the last he'd have for three days.
"Where's your pack, Dad?" Lonnie asked.
"I keep telling you we won't need much," Danny answered. "You've packed enough for both of us."
Lonnie's attention was taken by Carrie's car stopping in front of the house. "Why is she here?"
"She is going to take care of Audrey," Danny commented. "You'd better be glad she is."
"Humph." Lonnie took his cereal bowl to the sink.
Kono stood, hands on hips, examining Lonnie's pack. "Let me tell you right now, Lonnie, the next three days will be almost completely free of most of what you would call essentials." He pulled out Lonnie's clothing changes. "Won't need these."
"Not even my underwear?" Lonnie exclaimed.
"Gross. The same clothes for three days?"
Kono grinned. "Not this." He took out the Walkman.
Danny laughed. "There is probably a Gameboy in there somewhere, too."
There wasn't, but Kono did find paperback books, a toothbrush, comb, and four candy bars all of which he removed.
"There's nothing left!" Lonnie complained.
"See?" Danny raised an eyebrow. "You asked where my stuff was. I'm wearing it."
Lonnie frowned at all his careful choices that had just been so rudely discarded and began to wonder what he was getting in to.
The helicopter flight to Maui lasted less than an hour. Mark Pauiuu met Kono, Danny and Lonnie at the landing field. Mark was fifty-two but in better shape than most men half his age. Danny could not help think that Mark looked sort of like the letter 'Y': barrel-chested, narrow waist, and all muscle. Clad only in dark green canvas cutoffs and a necklace made up of six sets of boar's tusks in various sizes, Mark fit the image of a man who had learned to live off the land.
Lonnie was captivated by the neckpiece, but Mark's size and powerful impression intimidated him and he resisted commenting.
Mark sized up Lonnie quickly. "Well, you seem like you shall make a man of yourself over the next three days," he commented to the boy as they headed for the jeep. Mark then stepped away from the Williamses and commented quietly to Kono. "Aren't you rushing this a little bit? This boy is awfully small. How old did you say he was?"
"Almost twelve," Kono said quietly, confidence in his voice. "He's a good boy. Gonna be a good student."
Mark looked doubtful. "And the papa? You know I don't want haoles in our rites."
Kono pursed his lips. "Danno a man fulla surprises. He not gonna disappoint you neither."
"Hope not," Mark muttered. "Just tell me he got a little Hawaiian in him somewhere, eh?" He got into the driver's seat.
The small jeep sailed up the smooth asphalt road towards the park, then turned off onto a small dirt road that led up to the white construction trailer. A hand painted sign on the side of the trailer announced it was the headquarters for the Hawaiian Cultural Institute of Learning.
Inside, the air was conditioned. Danny wanted to remark about Mark profiting from the benefits of western civilization, but thought better of it. There were maps and lists posted on the walls and one old black dial phone on a beaten up desk. But the desk itself was orderly and a wooden hand carved plaque bore Mark's name and title: Kahuna Nui. It was a remarkable, reverent title.
Mark stood before Lonnie, crossed his arms and looked the boy up and down. "Okay, Lonnie, you won't need your shoes. Take them off."
He did so slowly, obviously unhappy.
"You too." Mark pointed at Danny.
Without hesitation, Danny slipped out of his hiking boots, noting that Kono had already shed everything but his jean shorts. Deciding not to wait for instructions, Danny did the same.
That seemed to please Mark who gave his attention back to Lonnie. "You won't need anything but this." Mark handed him a knife with a six-inch blade.
Lonnie's eyes got big with excitement. "Wow. Cool blade!"
"Our ancestors used whale bone," Mark told him. "But that's too hard to get now, so we have to use the steel blades." He handed another knife to Danny. "We must tolerate small amounts of the contamination of white man's progress," he added.
Danny did not reply. He had not really wanted to come and had suspected that Pauiuu did not really want him here either. He's gonna take little digs at me for the next three days, he thought miserably.
Mark picked up a form from his desk, filled in a few boxes and asked Danny to sign the bottom. It contained a waiver about injury and death on the hunt. Mark signed the other line and posted it on the bulletin board behind the desk. Satisfied that the paperwork was completed, Mark turned back to Lonnie. "Lonnie, do you understand the purpose of Kahana Nui?"
He wrinkled up his nose. "Sort of. I'm supposed to prove I'm a man."
"No," Mark corrected. "This will make you a man."
Mark led them out to the trailhead of 'Ohe'o Stream. It was well marked and worn. There were two backpacking tourists just coming off it. Everyone exchanged a word of greeting as they passed.
"I thought only Hawaiians can come up here," Lonnie asked.
"The trail through to Waimoku Falls is open to everyone," Kono explained. "It's beyond there it all changes."
The walk, for it was far too easy to have been called a hike, was pleasant and the beauty breathtaking. The stream flowed mirror-like beside them as the lush greenery closed around them, eventually hiding the ocean from view. The birds called and Lonnie spotted a bright red honeycreeper hopping from branch to branch. His excitement began to grow. He'd tried to study rare Hawaiian native birds in school and had always been bored. It wasn't boring today. He skipped back and forth along the path trying to be the first to site the next unique plant or animal. He played along the edges of the pools filled with darting fish. At last the sun was high through the jungle, he was beginning to feel hungry. It began to occur to Lonnie that they had brought no food. "Say, Dad," he whispered, dropping back to where Danny walked at a steady pace along the trail. "What about lunch?"
Just as Danny started to speak, the waterfall came into view. A 400-foot wall of water plunged down the ridge into the deep pool before them. The power was impressive, misting water danced on the air creating minute rainbows where the sunrays caught the droplets just right. It was depressing that there was a wooden post claiming this to be a picture taking spot.
"Don't people know enough to know that already?" Lonnie laughed.
Mark smiled. "Mainlanders don't do much of their own thinking." Without warning, he suddenly jumped out into the deep pool. Kono followed making a huge splash as his three hundred pounds hit the water surface.
Lonnie stood rigidly at the edge of the water. "Dad, are they allowed to do that?" He glanced around for no swimming signs.
Danny touched his son's shoulder. "The Kahuna can do what he wants. It will be okay," he promised.
"Dad?" He wiggled his toes against the soft damp moss. "I don't want to."
Mark swam back across the pool towards them. "The water is cool here. It is important to refresh yourself."
"I'm okay." Lonnie sat down on the bank.
Mark got out of the water and sat beside him. "There is no room for fear of something like water here. There is enough fear that is real. Save it. You must conquer your fear in order to pass the test."
"Right now?" Lonnie whispered. "How about lunch first." He glanced at Danny who had moved a short distance away.
Mark rose and dove back into the water.
Lonnie drew his legs up and sat on the slippery moss watching.
Danny, struggling with the choice of urging Lonnie to go ahead, consoling him in his fear, or perhaps picking Lonnie up and throwing him in. He did nothing.
Lonnie stood up, grabbed his nose, and jumped, heart pounding in fear. As he hit the water, he stiffened. The water closed over his head for just a moment, but in that time he felt the panic of inky blackness holding him, squeezing him until he could not breathe. When he broke the surface, his arms and legs were splashing and flailing like a windmill gone mad. He had not expected the pool to be too deep for him to touch.
"Swim, Lonnie," Kono called.
Lonnie sputtered and gasped, still throwing his arms and legs around. "I can't!"
"You can," Kono insisted calmly. "Just relax."
Danny moved quietly into the water and slipped to just outside Lonnie's arm reach. He wished Kono had not wanted him to come. It was hard to just stand by and this was just the first half of the first day.
"Dad!" Lonnie screamed, spotting him.
"Don't touch him!" Mark shouted. "Lonnie, I want you to be a leaf."
"What!" Lonnie gasped. His arm motions were more controlled now, into a kind of doggie-paddle.
"Be light and relax," Mark ordered again. "You've seen the seals, they flow with the water. Let the water help you."
Lonnie struggled and floundered until he reached the edge of the pool. He gripped hold of the mossy bank, panting. "Not funny."
Kono moved close to him. "It's not supposed to be funny. We ain't laughing. Learning to be part of the land means learning to be part of the water as well." He lifted Lonnie out onto the bank, then pulled his own huge hulk out and lay out in the sun. "You know the story of Maui-of-a thousand-tricks?"
"Yeah," Lonnie replied rubbing his arms and feeling the warm sun against his skin.
"Tell it to me."
"Maui went fishing and caught the islands on his fish hook and pulled them all up out of the water."
"Maui had to go out onto the water to do that," Kono pointed out. "The water is our life. It gives us birth and receives us back in death."
Lonnie shivered. "The water killed my mother."
"It received her back," corrected Kono as Mark pulled himself out of the water near them.
"Come," Mark declared. "It's time to go on."
Mark led them to the end of the trail just past the thundering falls. A series of fences had had been erected spaced across a ten foot wide stretch of land. The first was of barbed wire atop chain link fencing. The second was of something like chicken wire, the same height with stakes in the bottom every six inches, securing it tightly to the ground. The third and forth fences were of a mesh material. All of them were 12 feet high. There was a gate with an electronic lock that looked strangely out of place at the trailhead.
"Gee looks like prison to keep somebody in," Lonnie remarked.
"Or out," Mark replied. "These are sacred lands, Lonnie. Not just anyone can come here. The valley is home to many nearly extinct forms of animals and plant life. The fences are to keep out what does not belong there."
"The sacred lands are connected to each of us. We care for the land; it cares for us." The gate hummed and he pushed it open as the magnetic lock clicked. After the party had passed through, Mark closed it firmly behind them. "We are now on the royal lands of King Kamehamaha. In his day, if we were to even have our shadow fall across these lands it would have meant certain and painful death. We will be passing temple remains and villages that still house the spirits of our distant ancestors."
A reverent silence fell over all of them as they made their way down into the valley. The trail was almost nonexistent and Danny was glad he was with a Kahuna who knew the way. This part of the Haleakala National Park was only about ten miles long and two miles wide, but it would be easy to get lost.
Lonnie remembered his stomach again and wondered if Mark would stop soon for lunch. He wondered what time it was.
"Lonnie," Kono called to him, "do you want something?"
"Yeah, I'm hungry," he declared.
They all stopped. "What should you do?" Mark asked.
"Nothing in your pack, right?" he guessed gesturing to the small canvas backpack Mark carried.
Mark gave a broad toothy smile. "Right. We live off the land. It will care for us."
Lonnie squinted and looked around, then up into the trees. There were no palms from which to get coconuts. He looked around again. "Breadfruit." He walked to the base of the tree.
"It's up there. You are down here," Kono hinted.
"It's kind of high." Lonnie sighed and glanced at Danny who offered no help. "I gotta climb it, huh?"
They all nodded.
It took several attempts for him to get started up the trunk, but at last, Lonnie managed to shinny up using his knees and bare feet. As he got higher, he glanced down at one point and gave a little gasp at the ground twenty feet below him.
"Where is the fruit?" Mark reminded him.
He looked upwards. "Yeah." He continued to climb.
"He's a good boy," Mark commented quietly to Kono as they watched Lonnie's progress.
"Special -- like I said," Kono replied.
Mark stubbed a toe at the ground. "Here." He pulled up a large taro root. Kono shoved it into the pack. They both scouted around and found several other leaves and tubers they put into the pack.
Having reached the top of the tree, Lonnie dropped down the mango-like fruit one at a time to Danny who caught them. With a pile of ten on the ground, Lonnie shinnied back to the ground.
They all squatted under the shade of the dense forest growth and ate the meaty breadfruit. Lonnie grinned as the juice dripped off his arms. He felt a sense of pride at having delivered the meal to them all.
"When do we get a boar?" he asked.
"They are all around," Kono responded. "You don't see them too much during the daytime, but at sunset you will hear them. Maybe tonight."
The foursome made their way quietly down into the Valley until Mark came to the remains of an old temple. There wasn't much left except for some primitive markings on the stonework and a few large boulders that looked like they had been intentionally placed. Mark dropped the small canvas backpack and pulled out four softball sized wads of netting. "String up your hammock," he ordered, tossing one to each person.
Lonnie looked at the material in his hands, then around the small clearing. He wasn't sure what to do, but did not want to ask.
Kono expertly selected his trees and in less than a minute and strung his bed about five feet above the ground. He glanced at Lonnie. "I'll sleep good tonight -- after we get that boar."
Danny finished tying up his hammock and glanced at Lonnie. "Want some help?"
He hesitated, wanting to say 'yes.' "No, I can handle this," he replied in grownup fashion. He chose two trees, stretched out the hammock to discover they were too far apart. Moving a few steps across the clearing, he picked another spot. The trees were in the right position, but he had trouble getting the knots tied. At last, he had the hammock up. It looked great -- until he hopped into it, and it crashed to the ground. Angrily, Lonnie glared at the knot that had given way. He started over.
Mark hid his grin as he put the roots into an old beaten up blackened pot that had been in the pack. Stubborn boy. Not a quitter. That's good. I can see why Kono wanted him to be part of this. Too bad he is not pure Hawaiian. It will always be hard for him. "Lonnie," he called the boy over.
Lonnie approached, embarrassed at his failure. "Yes?"
"Like this." He used the strings of the pack to demonstrate a sheep shank knot. "This won't slip loose on you."
Lonnie walked back to his hammock and attacked the problem again. Five minutes later, he was swinging triumphantly back and forth.
Kono appeared from the brush with four long bamboo stalks he had chopped down. He and Danny began to shave each one to a razor-sharp point with the knives Mark had provided. "You doin' okay, Bruddah?" Kono asked.
Danny shrugged. "I'm glad you insisted, Kono." He glanced around the dense forest. "It's going to be all right."
Kono nodded and hoped so. He knew that after the incident with the Fijians over a decade ago Danny had never returned to the primeval jungle. He wondered if Danny was thinking about that.
I like feel there is a boogieman behind every trunk. It is just fine. It isn't the same. Danny could not shake the shivers that occasionally sent goose bumps across his flesh. "I am glad I came," he said reassuringly to Kono as though hearing it would convince himself.
Kono inspected the end of the spear. "Haven't even got to the good part yet."
Mark squatted before the little bed of twigs and leaves, carefully demonstrating to Lonnie how to start a fire using a bit of thread and spinning a stick back and forth between his hands.
Lonnie had not thought starting a fire this way was really possible -- it was only done that way on TV. "Wow," he whispered in awe as the little flame sparked, then, with Mark's gentle blowing and adding of tiny shreds of leaf gradually grew. In short time, they were adding twigs, then small branches.
"Not bad for an old man, huh?" Mark remarked to Lonnie.
Lonnie blinked. "I--"
He smiled. "All you young folk think that way. The Old Ones are good for nothing. Maybe not so good for nothing, huh?"
Lonnie gazed at the little fire. "You know what the problem is here?" he suddenly said. "Everybody treats me like a kid."
Mark gave him a sideways look and a little smile. "Okay, Kahana, let's see what you're made of." He tossed Lonnie the pot. "Half fill it with water. The stream is that way." He pointed the direction. After Lonnie left, Mark started looking through the shrubbery and picking little bright red berries that he brought back by the fire and put in a little pile. Kono joined him after a few minutes and by the time Lonnie had returned there were three small mounds of colored berries red, yellow, and purple.
Mark built up a frame of wood around the fire and set the small pot above the flame to boil. "Hawaii has been poisoned, Lonnie. Even in the sacred lands the water must be boiled." He glanced up towards the sky noting that the darkness would be upon them in just another hour or so. "Here night comes early, and stays late. The ridges around us keep shadows. He sat down Indian style before the fire and scooped up some of the yellow berries that he crushed in his hand. He spit into the mixture, mashed it some more, then began to paint small pattern of circles on the skin of his chest. "The story of my first hunt," he told Lonnie. "This is the way of our ancestors." He painted another spiraling circle, a little larger over his other breast.
Lonnie crouched next to Mark, fascinated.
"Here," Mark pointed to the first circle. "My first hunt. I was thirteen. I came to the Royal Kipahulu Valley and on the afternoon of my second day I captured a young boar -- a small one." He sounded disappointed. "Here--" He pointed to the second spiral. "Next hunt I took a one hundred pound male boar." He touched a tooth on his necklace. "This one."
Lonnie looked suspiciously at the boar's tooth. "Looks sharp."
"It was," Mark said enthusiastically. "Boar are dangerous, Lonnie. Don't forget that. Big ones can kill a man. They run him right over, break his legs, stick these tusks into his flesh--" He jabbed an index finger at Lonnie's stomach and the boy flinched. Mark gave a little chuckle. "You not a boy anymore, Lonnie. Here you hold your own like a man." He returned to his painting and put several more designs on his arms. He reached out and painted a small stripe of yellow across Lonnie's nose. "I have taken six boar in all my hunts. Maybe someday you can do better, huh?" He motioned to Kono who came over and he painted Kono's chest.
"How many boar did you get, Kono?" Lonnie asked.
"Two," Kono replied. "But they were big pigs. One almost two hundred pounds. We ate good that night!"
Mark continued his designs with the red and yellow berry stain.
Kono picked up some of the purple berries, mashed them and painted a jagged pattern on his upper arms.
Mark glanced at the pot, noting the boiling water, and dropped in the tubers and herbs he had collected along the trail.
"That looks nasty," Lonnie muttered.
"That's supper," Mark laughed.
He wrinkled his nose. "I don't think so."
Mark picked up a small white shell and ground it to powder with the butt of his knife, spit into the powder and it turned to white paste. He painted several lines and swirls on Lonnie's face, chest, and back. "Now you are ready."
Danny noted the action, knowing the white paint had been so that they could identify Lonnie in the dark. Not bad, Mark. He felt out of place, unwelcome, and shrugged the feeling off. Unexpectedly, he was suddenly enveloped by a tight fear in his chest and an image of poster paint and two Fijian men sniffing hallucinogenic herbs flashed before him. The leering face of Hobi smiled at him: "Before the westerners, our leaders would gain strength by the consumption of their enemies "
Danny blinked quickly, running a hand a cross his eyes. Get a grip on yourself.
End Part 1
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