Monday, March 23, 2009

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park Seeks Volunteers to Build Thatch Hale

Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is offering volunteers a rare opportunity to learn from a master craftsman how to build and thatch a traditional Hawaiian hale.

Sign up as a Volunteer-in-Park (or VIP) and you can work alongside Larry Kuamoo and his helpers, Eddie Kuahiwinui and Joey Kiili, as they restore the hale next to the park's hula platform.

"The hale is an important place for dancers to gather before and after their hula, protected from the wind and rain," said Kuamoo.

First built in 1980, the hale is located at Kaauea, an inspirational site overlooking Kilauea caldera and Halemaumau crater.

Volunteers will clean and strip hala (pandanus) leaves, cut sennit (coconut cordage), and lash thatching to the wooden frame of the hale.

Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and on weekends upon request with at least five or more volunteers prepared to work a full day.
Helpers should bring food, water, a small knife, and gloves. They should wear closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and layers of clothing in preparation for the variable weather at the volcano's 4,000-foot elevation.

To volunteer for the hale restoration project, call Cultural Resources Manager Laura Schuster at 985-6130 or project lead Larry Kuamoo at 333-8409.