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Our Newsletter has a New Name: ʻAʻaliʻi

Indigenous to Hawaiʻi, the ʻaʻaliʻi plant is a shrub with small green leaves and beautiful, delicate flowers. Its beauty is not its only remarkable trait. It is also an incredibly resilient plant. We chose this name because the ʻaʻaliʻi is beautiful and resilient, like the ʻōpio Hale Kipa serves. Many have come through particularly challenging experiences, but their past does not define their future. We believe our kuleana is to view our ʻōpio as tomorrow’s aliʻi. Our role as their kahu or caretakers is to foster this resiliency.   

The ʻaʻaliʻi’s exceedingly long taproot buries itself deep into the soil. That root searches for nourishment to strengthen its foundation. As a result, the other roots become stronger, making them less likely to be uprooted by wind and rain.  

The ʻaʻaliʻi not only secures itself with its roots but connects with other nearby ʻaʻaliʻi shrubs to become even sturdier. After creating a solid pathway of nourishment, the other roots spread to their neighbors. Once these ʻaʻaliʻi recognize each other, they form lasting ties, clinging to each other through calm days and adversity. That may mean torrential rain, hurricane-strength winds, and other natural dangers.  

Like the ʻaʻaliʻi plant, our ʻōpio are not meant to experience life alone. ʻOhana Hale Kipa helps to support, encourage, and connect our youth to community resources and other service providers willing and able to join us in nourishing our ʻōpio. By doing so, we believe they will be stronger in times of adversity and able to withstand the challenges and hurdles that come their way.  

The ʻaʻaliʻi has adapted to thrive. It is one of the only Hawaiian plants that can endure fires. When flames engulf it, the ʻaʻaliʻi drops its seeds so it can regrow in the charred ground. As a “pioneer plant,” it is one of the first to return after violent weather or disturbance, such as a fire, flood, or landslide.  

Just as we desire our ʻōpio to adapt to thrive, not just survive, Hale Kipa strives for our organization to do the same. For over 50 years we have served the youth and young adults of Hawaiʻi, adapting to meet their changing needs. We thrive…forever. Our seeds are the generations of ʻohana blessed by God’s provision and grace to share with this world and beyond. When we experience strife, we are the first to recover and to admire our resilience. 

Lastly, the ʻaʻaliʻi has varied characteristics that make each plant unique, allowing it to grow all over paeʻāina, from only seven feet above sea level to high on the slopes of nā Mauna, at more than 7,000 feet. Nā ʻaʻaliʻi ranges in height from two to thirty feet and come in green and white, red, maroon, or yellow. 

Our kupuna used the hardwood of this versatile plant to furnish our waʻa and make ʻoʻō and other tools. They used the resin of its leaves for torches. They chewed those same leaves to relieve their toothaches. Hawaiians were extremely resourceful and decorated their lei poʻo or haku lei with the seed pods or crushed the seeds to make red dye. 

Like the ʻaʻaliʻi, we are all multifaceted and unique. But when we laulima, work together, we belong to each other. At Hale Kipa, we are unified, even in our diversity – always.