Family that plays together & stays together
Reunion in Kuliouou
by Pat Omandam
Each year, the Reeves family marches down Kuliouou Road from their homes on nine acres of land to attend a family olympics and potluck.
Many of them are neighbors, having inherited portions of nine acres in Kuliouou that have been handed down for three or four generations. And once a year, the descendants of Charles Armistead Reeves and Rose Lokalia Miguel come together for a reunion at Kuliouou Beach Park to reaffirm the sense of family that has been passed down along with the land.
"This is a different type of setting that you won't see on the islands anymore, where we don't lock our doors, and everything is open," said Stramer Reeves, 33, chairman of the Saturday reunion. "It's having family right next door - all nine acres surrounding you. We all take care of each other, and we wanted to share that with people that have left the valley."
"This has been a once-a-year event where we all come together to renew our commitment to each other as a ohana." Nanea Reeves Sai explained. "The family has gotten so large, we are unable to see each other often that we look forward to an event like today. It's a feeling that's indescribable."
The day begins with conch shell blowers and Hawaiian chanters mustering relatives from 43 homes on nine acres in Kuliouou. There, members gather for prayer before the start of what has become known as the "kuliououlympics." Throughout the day, nine teams compete in canoe races, donut-eating contest, tug-of-war, obstacle courses, three-legged and sack races and volleyball. Medals are awarded.
Tents are set up to view genealogies, display old family photos, collect donations and prizes, and show off children's artwork.
Feeding everyone follows a simiple rule: potluck.
"We look forward to this every year," said Joel May, 66, who was born and raised in Kuliouou.
Stramer Reeves and his great-grandparents left each of their nine children an acre in Kuliouou. Those children -- no longer living -- passed the lands onto their children.
By keeping the land in the family, the Reeves have remained a close-knit group and a prominent name in Kuliouou. The nine-children were Charles Keaweaheulu, William Lanier, Joseph La'anui, Henry Keanu, Elizabeth Kalanikapu, Abigail and Lucy Kamanele Lehua (twins), Wallace Kalaualii and Samuel Nowlin.
Those at the reunion wore colored t-shirts to identify which of the nine families they are from.
If Reeves name sounds familiar, it may be because of Hollywood actor Keanu Reeves, who is part of the Kuliouou clan. His grandfather was Nowlin, the youngest of the nine children.
Stramer Reeves said his first cousin has been too busy to attend the reunions, although Keanu made it to a cousin's recent wedding in the valley.
Each year, the Reeves family marches down Kuliouou Road from their homes on nine acres of land to attend a family olympics and potluck. Above, Hauoli Reeves blows a conch with family in tow as he crosses Kalanianaole Highway with the help of a police escort. The clan was headed to Kuliouou Beach Park. Below, Ha Okila Correa, 6, gets down and dirty during a donut eating contest.