On an island, what happens in the mountains can have an effect on the sea, a concept Native Hawaiians have always been privy to, and why traditionally, a system of roles and responsibilities (kuleana) were implemented in order to keep the balance within the fragile island ecosystems. While many years of development and modernization may have disrupted that harmony, the original customs and traditions have not been lost. For instance, the koa tree—known as the protector of the forest and used to make voyaging canoes—was cut down haphazardly for generations, but is now being replanted. Following a group of Hilo locals, who have made it their life’s work to regenerate the ways of the past in each of their own unique ways, we watch how that kind of stewardship is revitalizing their ‘āina (land).






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