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Special Focus: Kalo

Part of "What is Kuleana Homesteading?"

Kalo holds much importance in Hawai‘i. Not only is kalo a nutritious food staple brought by Polynesians to Hawai‘i, it is also considered to be a family ancestor of the Hawaiian people, as told through the story of Hāloa. You will learn this story in the first Useful Link of this segment. 

The story of Hāloa and his older brother, Kalo, and their relationship and care for one another demonstrates the deepest manifestation of kuleana. The kuleana between Hāloa and kalo is a commitment that goes beyond simple responsibility or stewardship. The meaning of kuleana holds many physical and spiritual dimensions that are described by the story link in this segment. 


As described in the story of Hāloa and Kalo, all Hawaiians are descendants of Hāloa. Through that descendent relationship to Hāloa there is also family relationship to the kalo, the ʻāina, and the rest of the natural world.


As a family member, kalo takes care of us by providing us with sustenance and beauty. In turn we take care of kalo by providing it with healthy land, clean water and our efforts to help it to thrive. When land and water are healthy the community is healthy.


Start this segment with a link to the story of Hāloa with kalo farmer, cultural practitioner and educator Lanakila Manguail, produced by Then watch two videos of the well-loved and deeply committed late uncle Jerry Konanui, a gentle warrior in his efforts to document the many varieties of Hawaiian taro for future kalo farmers. The Useful Links also include stories of several Hawaiian farmers and educators across Hawai‘i who are growing kalo as their kuleana and for future generations.

Publications and kalo varietal charts linked in this Course segment are important reference guides for the beginning as well as the experienced kalo farmer. 

> Back to Course 1:

What is Kuleana Homesteading?

Useful Links:
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THe Story of Hāloa and Kalo

From, hear Lanakila Manguail tell the important story of Hāloa, the younger brother of kalo.

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Chris Kobayashi on Kaua‘i shares organic taro farming techniques.

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Bishop Museum illustration of kalo part names in Hawaiian and English.

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Summary of definitive book on taro growing in Hawaii. From UH Press.

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VIDEO: The Reppuns

Charlie and Paul Reppun share their decades of knowledge about the ‘āina and growing kalo.

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Growing Upland Taro

Informative article by Glenn Teves, UH taro expert, on growing taro in Hawaiian uplands.

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Uncle Jerry Konanui documents many varieties of taro in this excellent Youtube video playlist.

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Hōkūao Pellegrino farms his family's ancestral taro lands and passes down tradition and legacy. From PBS Hawaii.

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List of Taro Varieties

Interactive list from UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture & Human Resources


Taro farmer Bobby Pahia shows how and why he harvests, cares for and replants kalo. 

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In this 30-minute presentation the late Uncle Jerry Konanui describes the depth of knowledge about kalo collected and passed down through Hawaiian generations. A must-watch for aspiring kalo farmers.

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