Living History in Keokea

Attended the Ching Ming Festival at Kula’s Kwock Hing Temple on April 3. I went because a friend suggested it would be a good event to meet people as a candidate, but soon found myself surrounded by old friends and enjoying wonderful food.

I had long been curious about the small, immaculately maintained temple on Middle Road in Keokea, but never before had the opportunity to check it out. The temple compound remains the center for the Hakka Chinese families who first homesteaded that part of Haleakala.  It is a Taoist Temple with hints of Buddhism and strong connections to St. John’s Episcopal Church, which is just down the hill a bit. The festival is called Ching Ming (or Qingming) or “tomb cleaning,” a time to pay respects to one’s ancestors.

Sarah Shim, the Kwock Hing Society president and an old friend, showed me the historic display in the temple depicting the rise and continuation of the Kula Chinese community. It is a community that started out as farmers and when on to contribute many leaders to the Maui community.

Sarah pointed a small conference room where she said Sun Yat Sen planned the eventual overthrow of dynastic rule in China in the early 1900s.  Hard to imagine that such a grand shift in history began in such a modest site in Keokea.

I also ran into my friend Morris Haole – the temple’s incense master – and Henry Lau, the former County Finance Director.

It turned out to be a beautiful moment and reminded me of the wonderful weave of our multi-cultural community that is one more reason that Maui is No Ka Oi.



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