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Kava History Passing of an icon

Discussion in 'Kava Lounge' started by Alia, Dec 16, 2017.

  1. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    Jerry Konanui, one of the Founders’ of the Association for Hawaiian ‘Awa (AHA) passed away Thursday evening. In 1994, Jerry had already become celebrated throughout Hawai‘i for his knowledge of kalo (taro) when, he met Ed Johnston a collector of ‘awa cultivars. Much of the ‘awa renaissance can be attributed to Jerry. Jerry worked to restore ‘awa culture and even traveled to Fiji, Samoa, and Vanuatu and the U.S. mainland for presentations and to give classes on the Hawaiian view of ‘awa. Jerry will be greatly missed by so many. Many articles have been written about his work. I chose to include this one because it offers some history even though not focused totally on Jerry, Jerry really was the soul of AHA.

    Attached Files:

  2. Rick.Sanchez

    Rick.Sanchez Kava Enthusiast

    I have a lot respect for the people working to bring kava to the mainstream

    It's a noble cause ;)
  3. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Thank you for posting this. Jerry was a good friend of mine and we will be truly missed. He did so much for Kalo (taro) and for 'Awa.
    For those who might now know him he was certainly a great guy. In fact if it were not for Jerry, we would not have the 'Awa we now call Ophikao, it used to be called Spotted Hiwa but anyway, Jerry found that variety and took cuttings and so we could propagate this new variety. A few weeks later Jerry went back to that spot where he found the giant old Hawaiian Ophikao and it was gone, back then it was common for kava thieves to steal kava that was easy to get to. So if Jerry never found that, we would not have the chance to enjoy it now. After that time Jerry took the cuttings we have never seen that variety again in the wild. Aloha nui loa Jerry, we will never forget you.
    Here is a picture of Jerry and I along with Dr. Helen Turner.
  4. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    That is a fabulous photo and tribute Chris! I am reminded that it was Jerry who first coined the phrase -- drinking 'awa is like getting a massage from the inside. As I look close at Jerry's pic here he is wearing one of the old, 'awa T-Shirts from way back that we had made.
  5. verticity

    verticity I'm interested in things

    Sad to hear about this. My condolences. Jerry Konanui and all those folks involved in the Hawaiian Awa Renaissance, not least Mr. Johnston and Mrs. Rogers, are the reason there is such a thing as Hawaiian Awa today. We kava lovers all owe them a great debt of gratitude.
  6. Henry

    Henry . Moderator The Kava Society of New Zealand

    Sad news. I spoke with him just a few weeks ago, I now he's been very heavily involved with attempts to make 'awa regulated as food in Hawaii. I hope this initiative succeeds soon and its success can be seen as, in some part, his legacy.
  7. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    Thanks for the kind words about Jerry and, coincidentally, the Draft Codex Standard was just edited this past week by all of us here (including Jerry) and soon will go back to the Working Committee for a final. I'll send details soon.
  8. sɥɐʞɐs

    sɥɐʞɐs ‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾‾ Review Maestro

    Thanks for the 'Opihikao Jerry, it's one of the best! ::KavaChug::

  9. AndrewG

    AndrewG Member

    I will miss him dearly I’m still in shock of the news. He was a great mentor and accepted me with open arms. A man with a wealth of knowledge of awa and kalo, of whom had one of the kindest hearts I’ve come across. Rest well ‘anakala Jerry.
    miss him
    Alia and kasa_balavu like this.
  10. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Here is a picture of the 'Awa that Jerry saved from extinction, called Opihikao (spotted Hiwa) named after the area that it was found, enjoy-----
    kastom_lif, Alia and sɥɐʞɐs like this.
  11. Kapmcrunk

    Kapmcrunk The Kaptain of Crunk KavaForums Founder

    @Gourmet Hawaiian Kava He saved Spotted Hiwa? It's the only fresh kava strain I've ever prepared and consumed myself. We drink shells this weekend in his honor.
  12. Gourmet Hawaiian Kava

    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava Kava Expert Kava Vendor

    Yes he sure did. He was hiking in the Forest reserve in the area of Opihikao and he found what he called spotted Hiwa, later it would become known as Opihikao for the area where he found it. The thing is that just a few weeks after he found it, he went back to get some more cuttings but the entire 'Awa plant was stolen. That was the first and last time it was seen in the wild. Thankfully he did take cuttings and we now have it on our collections. Literally if it were not for him there would be no Opihikao. I know a lot of shells have gone up in honor of him, I am thinking they will be going up for days to come. (y).

    kastom_lif, Kapmcrunk and Alia like this.
  13. Alia

    Alia 'Awa Grower/Collector

    Yes, he totally did and brought numerous single node cuttings to me and others. Opihikao is a wonderful cultivar. The act is chronicled on page 48 of Hawaiian 'Awa, Views of an Ethnobotanical Treasure .
    Gourmet Hawaiian Kava likes this.