Categorized | Entertainment

‘Paniolo Grinds’ highlight Paniolo Talk Story (Jan. 14)

The first Paniolo Talk Story at the new Paniolo Heritage Center at Waimea's Pukalani Stables. (Photo courtesy of Ethan Tweedie)


“Paniolo Grinds” – the delicious traditional foods and the hunting, gathering and cooking practices of Hawaiian ranching families – will be the theme of Paniolo Preservation Society’s next Paniolo Talk Story at the new Paniolo Heritage Center at Waimea’s historic Pukalani Stables.

The community is invited 5-8 p.m., Saturday, Jan. 14 to a free, after-dark gathering.

Hosted by Kuulei Keakealani, who comes from a multi-generational ranching family, Paniolo Talk Story guests this month will include Kuulei’s father, Robert “Sonny” Keakealani and Jesse Hoopai, who is the third generation of a four-generation Kohala paniolo ohana and currently a Parker Ranch cowboy.

Weather permitting, the gathering will be moved to the open-air courtyard at Pukalani Stables due to the standing-room-only turnout at the first Paniolo Talk Story. Attendees are encouraged to dress warmly and bring chairs and mats to sit on the lawn. If the weather is inclement, the event will be moved into the Hale Aina room.

In keeping with the Paniolo Grinds theme, families of Kanu o ka aina Public Charter School will be selling traditional paniolo pipi (beef) stew and rice with condiments such as chili pepper water and mayonnaise.

There also will be another hot food item and hot and cold non-alcoholic beverages including steaming hot Starbucks coffee and cocoa ‘n crackers. No coolers, please.

The evening will begin with families, community friends and visitors enjoying an informal dinner and casual talk-story time. Also, guests are invited to explore the newly opened paniolo museum which includes a growing collection of historic photographs, saddles, bits, spurs, and ranching antiques and collectibles.

The formal program will begin about 6 p.m. with Kuulei and guest presenters sharing memories of times gone by.

“We will 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. PPS is hosting these gatherings to 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,” PPS President Robby Hind said.

While there is no charge for the gathering, 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 also are urged to use the stables for family and community gatherings as rental income is important to sustaining the Pukalani Heritage Center.

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

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 U.S. General George S. Patton for the U.S. military, and Japan’s Imperial Riding Club.

Coming events include PPS’ Inaugural Paniolo Lifetime Achievement Awards at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 21 at Pukalani Stables. Everyone is welcome to this awards presentation and paniolo paina; tickets are $20 for adults, $5 for keiki 5-10-years-old, and free for younger ones. Tickets are available at Kamuela Liquor Store and Parker Ranch Store, or by calling or emailing PPS.

For more information about this non-profit preservation society and its new Paniolo Heritage Center at Pukalani Stables, email, call 854-1541, or visit

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