My name is Chris Allen and I am a Kava Farmer and owner of Gourmet Hawaiian Kava. I am also the President of the Hawaii ‘Awa Council, the Director of the ‘Awa Protection Committee, and a Director of the ‘Awa Advisory Task Force. I wrote this article to explain what the Hawaiian ‘Awa Council does to promote ‘Awa in Hawaii.
Hawaiian ‘Awa Council (HAC)
The Hawaii ‘Awa Council was created to help local farmers with problems growing kava and marketing kava. We also help with Education and all research dealing with kava. The HAC is actively involved in protecting the ancient Hawaiian stands of ‘Awa. We consider them to be a cultural resource and a historical treasure. These old stands were planted by Hawaiian hundreds of years ago and are a part of our History. Since ‘Awa can not grow by seeds it is cloned and every old kava plant had to be hand planted by an Hawaiian to continue the propagation process.
We strongly promote the traditional use of kava and the traditional types of kava. We do not promote kava that was used for ceremonially or medicinally like the Tudei varieties.
Association of Hawaiian Awa (AHA)
The Association of Hawaiian Awa (AHA ) was created solely to research and preserve Hawaiian Kava. The current President of the AHA is my good friend Jerry Konanui. So you can see that both organizations share a commong goal, however the HAC was created to help Farmers with all aspects of growing, harvesting, and processing Kava. The HAC and the AHA are both Hawaiian organizations that work together to promote Hawaiian ‘Awa.
Promoting ‘Awa and Helping Farmer
The HAC is here to establish Hawiian ‘Awa as the worlds premium kava. We have ideal growing conditions and combined with our modern farming techniques, we do grow the best ‘Awa in the world. There are good kavas in other growing areas such as Vanuatu and other places but they have problems. They have pest and disease, they lack the latest Farming technology, and they have problems controlling the cultivation and sale of unwanted kava cultivars like the Tudei kava.
The HAC helps farmers with what ever they need including ‘Awa Plants, farming techniques, and processing techniques. We have kava symposiums and meetings to make sure everyone has the lastest information. We do research in conjunction with the top scientists and kava leaders from all over the world amd we educate people about kava. This includes the preservation of Hawaiian Awa, it’s cultural history, and its medicinal values. As the President of AHA “Jerry Konanui” said— “‘Awa is a plant that helps people”
The HAC also supports research. Work with the AHA to pursue agricultural research and funding from government, corporate and foundation sources. This research has provided a lot of very useful information. We also give thanks to people like Dr. Lebot and other kava scientist and leaders who have compiled enormous amounts of research on kava. There was a recent study that found that there is something in kava that kills cancer. The results were astounding because the success rate of curing cancer was 90 percent. These tests were done on animals and the HAC will report back as the studies continue.
Research shows that the kavalactones in the different Hawaiian varieties combine to make a superb Kava drink. Each variety provides a somewhat different effect. We use this research to develop “vintage quality” ‘Awa promoting connoisseurship around our Hawaiian varieties the way the wine industry does. We have studied kavalactone content and chemotypes in all our Hawaiian varieties. We take into account the growing conditions, the age of the plant, and the different parts of the plant. We never use the stalks or the leaves as this has Tradicionally never used in the kava drinks. Our tests also show that the stalks and the leaves have a different kavalactone content which is not that desireable.
Propagating the Ancient Stands of ‘Awa
The Hawaii Awa Council also started a task force many years ago to stop the illegal harvesting of the wild Hawaiian ‘Awa patch because they a historical treasure. Since kava can not be produced by seed it can only be made by cuttings. This means that all the giant Hawaiian awa in the wild is a historical Hawaiian treasure because it was planted by a Hawaiian many years ago.
These ancient awa plants are huge and one plant can get as big as full size truck. Thanks to thieves, many of these plants were stolen and they can never be replaced. The HAC keeps collections of each variety of Hawaiian kava so that we can replant them in the wild. I have personally done some of these plantings and I periodically go out to the wild to see how they are doing. I’m happy to report that they are doing very well.
Stopping the ‘Awa Rustlers
One thing we did to stop the illegal harvesting of the Hawaiian kava was to hike far into the remote places to document the kava patches. We take GPS readings, pictures, and take notes about the size and appearance of the kava. We record this data into micro chips and hide them in the Kava Plant. If that plant is stolen, we have a way to track it. This has been instrumental in stopping the theft of the Hawaiian kava. With my task force, the Department of Land and Natural Resources conservation officers, Police officers, the forestry division, and private land owners, we are proud to say that theft has stopped and the ancient ‘Awa is safe.
I hope this helps to explain about the Hawaii Awa Council and are functions. Please feel free to send me any questions on our contact page. Thanks and aloha nui loa.
Hawaii Awa Council