Once again it’s on with the release of the Fitted + Pai‘ea Projects Mānoa (Ali‘i) Pack on Saturday, Sept. 28. This is the first drop of a two-part collection themed Mānoa Ali‘i, Mānoa Kānaka (Mānoa of the Chiefs, Mānoa of the Commoners).

I ka wā kahiko (ancient times) an imaginary line was drawn from Puʻu o Mānoa (Rocky Hill) above Punahou School to the low, green hill, Puʻu Luahine (in back of the Chinese cemetery), at the head of Mānoa Valley. The chiefs resided on the west side, the commoners on the east.

This limited-edition Fitted + Pai‘ea Project Mānoa Ali‘i collection features a 90’s throwback Bows’ basketball jersey and New Era 9FIFTY Rip-Stop Kamehameha Snapback. The #2 on the jersey signifies the division of the valley separating aliʻi and kānaka.

Hawaiian Historian John Papa ‘Ī‘ī writes that from the time of Kamehameha’s unification of the islands to the overthrow of the monarchy, many royals favored the lands of Mānoa. According to ‘Ī‘ī,  Pai‘ea (Kamehameha the Great) farmed ‘uala and resided part-time in Mānoa near ‘Ualaka‘a (Round Top).  The high winds of Round Top would dislodge the sweet potatoes growing here and they would come rolling down the hill, hence the name, ʻUalakaʻa. Pai‘ea grew ‘uala (sweet potato) for his invading army as well as foreigners because he knew this crop was desired by the haole.

As the Pulitzer-prize winning emcee Kendrick Lamar once put it, “the yam is the power that be!”

According to Haole Historian Thomas G. Thrum, one of Kamehameha’s hale was near Pu‘u Pueo just below ‘Ualaka‘a. Thrum theorizes that this location was chosen to enable Pai‘ea to look mauka and makai to the patches of ʻuala. Kamehameha’s wife, Queen Kaʻahumanu, also had a house in Mānoa Ali‘i called Puka‘ōma‘oma‘o (The House of Green Shuttered Windows). Like her husband. Kaʻahumanu chose the site because of the view. Puka‘ōma‘oma‘o allowed the queen to see any ships that were sailing to and from Honolulu. This site also provided security and privacy because she could see anybody walking up the Mānoa trail.

Let us remember that this land was inhabited by the Ali‘i, and honor Mānoa for being more than just Hawaiian ceded land where a university occupies.

Kapālama Collection…

If one is to nānā i ke kumu of Pai‘ea Projects you will find that we bleed blue and white, and we celebrate this lineage with the Kapālama Collection. This pack is anchored by the Kapālama jersey and accentuated by a navy New Era 9Fifty snapback and “The Great” dry-fit tee. “Look to the source” of the Kapālama Collection and you will see that the roots of our brand run deep on this hill.

Kamehameha Schools Kapālama was ground zero for the founders of this brand. They met as 7th graders in the mid-90s and remained friends throughout their formative years all the way to the present.

Eventually, the trio of Kamehameha Schools alumni formed Pai‘ea Projects in 2009 when they marched in Waikīkī to protest Gov. Linda Lingle and Attorney General Mark Bennet’s case for the State of Hawai‘i to have the ability to sell Hawaiian Ceded Lands. Although Lingle and Bennett would win the case, much to the dismay of the lāhui, Pai‘ea Projects would “I mua” past the controversial ruling.

The color way of the Kapālama basketball jersey is inspired by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s alternate uniform, and is a tribute to the O.G. Kamehameha Schools campus. “0” is a reference to “ground zero” where the Pai‘ea Projects founders met, but it’s also a reference to a story about Pai‘ea and the conquering of O‘ahu.

Upon arrival on Oʻahu for the Battle of Nuʻuanu, Kamehameha The Great’s fleet covered the sea from Waiʻalae to Waikīkī. For three days he began to organize his forces and prepare his battle strategy. On the third night, he climbed up above Hauhaukoi, Kapālama. This journey up to Kapālama was for Paiʻea to drink ʻawa at the sacred heiau of Lonoikekūpaliʻi. When the ʻawa ceremony was complete, Paiʻea and his companions returned to Waikīkī where his armies were encamped. The next day, Kamehameha The Great and his army would win the Battle of Nuʻuanu. Thus, conquering O‘ahu.

After Kamehamehaʻs victory at Nuʻuanu, he immediately ordered that food be cultivated and the kalo patches be repaired. Pai‘ea toured O‘ahu to inspire the idea of farming for abundance and prosperity. However, before he began his journey, Kamehameha commenced the planting of kalo at Kapālama. The warriors and chiefs alike participated in the work of farming the ‘āina and feeding the people of O‘ahu.

The Kapālama Collection drops at 12 noon on Aloha Friday, Sept. 7 with the rising of a Lono moon: a lunar phase that our kupuna knew as an excellent day to plant crops and cultivate relationships. I mua.


Look Alive…

Mana Mele…

“Island Style – ‘Oiwi E” is a massive all-star, intergenerational collaboration featuring John Cruz, Jack Johnson, and many more of Hawai’i’s top ʻMana Mele Collectiveʻ artists across many genres, alongside over 1,000 Hawaiian Charter School youth. Recorded live across 15 locations, this medley is dedicated to the Cruz ‘Ohana and Kumu John Keola Lake.

About this collaboration: Mana Maoli, a Hawaiian nonprofit, teamed up with Playing For Change and 4 Miles LLC as part of their Mana Mele Project . Mana Mele features a Music & Multimedia Academy, and a Solar Mobile Studio that serves youth, as well as businesses, artists and the public – as a means to feed its programs.

ʻŪniki ceremony…