Chanting and bearing ho'okupu (gifts), Kahu Lyons Naeone of Kipahulu entered and greeted the Save Honolua Coalition. Kahu Naeone is a native Hawaiian healer and teacher. He has never taken any formal classes, but rather learned the old ways having been raised by his grandmother (also a practioner) from the age of six. Kahu Naeone had been practicing his culture in seclusion, but recently kupuna have asked him to come and teach before the knowledge is lost--now he teaches La'au Lapa'au at Maui Community College.
Kahu Naeone encourages those with hidden agendas/oversized egos to put those aside. He doesn't get involved politically nor does he sit on any boards or commissions because he feels a strong responsibility to generations past to say what he feels without the restrictions placed on those in that type of position. He feels its important to ask the 'aina what's going on, to go and communicate with what's out there--touch the lepo, the pohaku, look at the la'au. All the data and statistics compiled can't tell what the land itself reveals, the land doesn't lie.
According to Kahu Naeone, Honolua is in a lot of pain, pain that is getting worse, not better. He said, "If you really want to bring it back, you gotta leave it alone." We need to make sure we aren't the ones Honolua needs to be saved from. The American attitude is one of entitlement and empowerment, whereas the traditional Hawaiian outlook was to ask permission and bring ho'okupu. Kahu Naeone quoted a traditional Hawaiian belief: Huna na mea huna -- if you want a place to be sacred, you have to keep it sacred. Keep it sacred, and it will be sacred. When asked specifically what we should do to "Save" Honolua, how to control/manage the many threats to this area, Kahu Naeone did not know, but he urged us to think about it and look within because the crowds, noise and lights interupts the migration cycle of plants and fish contributing to the decline.
The primary reason Kahu Naeone came to speak to the coalition was kupuna asking about building a sacred site (heiau/altar) in Honolua. Kahu Naeone advised that creation of a sacred site can be done, but it is an undertaking that must be taken very seriously or more harm will come out of it than good. The person who takes on this task must be the right person and there must be a responsibility for this site for the next seven generations. Serious consideration must also be given to where the site will be located and what God the site is dedicated to.