As wondrous lands are represented as “wastelands” to make way for urban and industrial development in Hawai‘i, kūpuna (elders) and cultural practitioners are currently building a movement across the islands to mobilize mo‘olelo (stories and histories) in huaka‘i aloha ‘āina (physical and spiritual travels to view and remember celebrated and sacred places) to protect these lands. I argue that on these huaka‘i, mo‘olelo have critical decolonial effects as they articulate what can be identified as an ‘Ōiwi mo‘o‘āina economy of abundance that restores “wastelands” to ‘āina kamaha‘o (wondrous land) and ‘āina momona (abundant land). In this essay I focus on a 2010 community struggle to protect the birthplace of the kupua (supernatural hero) Māui in Lualualei valley from a developer’s proposal for a light industrial park. The Concerned Elders of Wai‘anae organized the Huaka‘i Kāko‘o no Wai‘anae bus tours to share the Māui mo‘olelo and build a broad base of support for their struggles, enabling wonder to grow into direct action. I discuss the ways that Indigenous and critical settler cartographies map the wonder of the Māui mo‘olelo on the ground, and I look to narrative conventions of mo‘olelo that connect distant places, helping to grow affinity activism.


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pp. 45-69
Launched on MUSE
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