Categorized | Entertainment

‘Chicken Skin’ paniolo ghost stories debut (Oct. 29)


Hawaii Island residents and visitors are invited to Waimea’s 100+-year-old Pukalani Stables for a new, free, after-dark series of Paniolo Talk Story evenings, a “mauka” version of Danny Kaniela Akaka’s “Twilight at Kalahuipua’a” gatherings at Mauna Lani Bay Resort.

Paniolo Preservation Society hosts these events to perpetuate Hawaii’s Hawaiian ranching traditions and to introduce the community to its new Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables.

The first Paniolo Talk Story night is 5-8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 and will feature “chicken skin” paniolo ghost stories. Each of the evening talk stories will be hosted by Kuulei Keakealani, who comes from a multi-generational ranching family and whose grandfather and father are both revered members in the “Paniolo Hall of Fame.”

Kuulei Keakealani

Kuulei brings to this new program the experience of not only having been raised in and still living the paniolo life, but also having organized numerous presentations about Hawaiian ranching, cultural traditions and land stewardship – ranging from the hard-core traditional skills of riding and roping wild pipi, (cows) in rugged upcountry forests, to swimming cattle out to waiting steamships to transport to market, to the olelo (language), mele (music) and related paniolo arts of saddle and lei making.

Paniolo Talk Story is perfect for the entire family from keiki to kupuna. It’s a free event and BYOC – ie, Bring Your Own Coolers and Chairs though neither is necessary. School and community groups will sell snacks and food and PPS volunteers will offer a choice of hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages including Starbucks coffee and a paniolo family favorite of cocoa ‘n crackers.

At the Oct. 29 gathering, Kanu o ka Aina Charter School ohana will sell a warm dinner, snacks and sweet treats with proceeds benefiting the school.

The evening will begin with families, community friends and visitors enjoying an informal dinner and talk-story time. Guests also may explore the newly created heritage exhibits including Oahu Cattlemen’s “Paniolo Hall of Fame” display and a growing collection of historic photographs, saddles, bits, spurs, and ranching antiques and collectibles including treasures such as famed paniolo Ikua Purdy’s hand-stamped leather cowboy hat.

Kuulei’s presentation will begin about 6 p.m, in Pukalani’s newly named Hale Aina (the luau room) with guest presenters sharing memories of times gone by.

In keeping with the “chicken skin” ghost story theme, “it’s probable that some of these stories may give you ‘goose bumps’ or make the hair on the back of your neck stand up…making you happy you brought a warm jacket for more reasons than just a cool Waimea night,” PPS President Robby Hind said.

“We hope to share stories, music and dances by paniolo friends who live this life and are willing to talk about ranching values, their experiences, laughter, pain and heroics. We do this not just to entertain but to better understand the challenges and achievements of paniolo life. We also hope these gatherings help remind us that we are all connected to each other and to the land, and why it’s important to support PPS in keeping this proud tradition alive,” Hind said.

PPS recently received a Richard Smart Fund “Hoohui O Waimea – Waimea Coming Together” grant from the Hawaii Community Foundation to launch this series of Paniolo Talk Story gatherings to strengthen existing, and build new connections between the people of Waimea with their past and future.

While free, Paniolo Talk Story attendees are urged to join or contribute to PPS to help grow the Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables as a valued community resource and gathering place. Families and friends are also urged to use the stables for family and community gatherings as rental income is important to sustaining the Pukalani Heritage Center.

Paniolo Talk Stories are the first of many events planned at the Paniolo Heritage Center in coming months to re-introduce the community to Pukalani Stables’ foundational contribution to Parker Ranch’s success and fame.

The stables and horsemen that worked there were nationally and internationally renown for their expertise in providing extraordinary mounts for ranch paniolo as well as for famous customers including Gen. George S. Patton and the Emperor of Japan.

The keys to Pukalani Stables were handed over to PPS by Parker Ranch on April 1, 2011 for a five-year lease that required extensive restoration work which, during the last several months, involved hundreds of volunteer hours and a $50,000 investment in power washing, painting, and roof, electrical and plumbing repairs.

PPS leadership took on this opportunity because of the significance of Pukalani and to provide a setting to exhibit its growing collection of important paniolo artifacts, photos and documents – and establish Waimea’s first “living history” center dedicated to the paniolo.

“We are indebted both to Hawaii Community Foundation and to the many paniolo families who have come together to support PPS in this next phase of our mission. We think Paniolo Talk Story nights will be great fun, but we also believe they’ll provide a great opportunity to learn about and connect with the heart and soul of Waimea. This is especially important for the younger generation who may not be aware of the sacrifices made by their elders, or the skills and accomplishments achieved by their kupuna. Also, Waimea and Hawaii are changing rapidly with many newcomers who love this special place and want to become better connected to our heritage and values,” Hind said.

For further information, email, call (808) 854-1541 or visit

One Response to “‘Chicken Skin’ paniolo ghost stories debut (Oct. 29)”

  1. Joan Winston says:

    How wonderful that this is happening. Blessings to you all.


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