Call them 'Kolohe'


POSTED: Monday, March 09, 2009

Aaron Kaonohi grew up watching television programs like “;Sesame Street,”; “;The Electric Company”; and “;Checkers and Pogo.”; Later, he watched similar programs with his own children. What developed over the years was a strong desire to create a local program—one that imparted the same positive messages but would also help children understand and grow closer to their own culture.





        » Episodes can be seen on YouTube (search for “;Kolohe Time”;).

» A “;'Kolohe Time' Buckle Up!”; public service announcement is scheduled to air in May on select TV stations.




Thus “;Kolohe Time”; originated. While many programs teach lessons through song and rhymes, “;Kolohe Time”; presents the lessons local style, giving it a different vibe (”;kolohe”; is Hawaiian for naughty or rascal).

The members of the musical group Vaihi—including Kaonohi, Bruce Naluai, “;Braddah Sam”; Langi and Peter Lakatani—are the hosts and the only adults on the program. “;We sing the songs and hope the kids will catch on. It's a fun way to educate,”; Kaonohi said.

Each episode focuses on a specific value, such as laulima—Hawaiian for cooperation and teamwork. Maka'ala the Magical Boy, a body-suit character, solves problems presented during each segment. “;He's the Yoda of the show,”; Kaonohi said.

The group is close to achieving Kaonohi's dream of a kids' TV show filmed entirely in Hawaii, save one thing: The show's not on TV. Yet.

Kalama Productions is backing the show and seeking a funding and distribution partnership to bring it to television. “;Ideally, that would come together in one partnership such as a network,”; said producer David Kalama Jr.

“;A lot of people have wanted to make a show like this for nearly 20 years. There were at least two attempts that were marginally successful, but neither took our approach of learning as fun.”;

Their aim is a show to educate local kids while sharing the multicultural uniqueness of Hawaii with viewers abroad.

For now the 10 completed episodes can be viewed only on YouTube.

“;It's been a long road,”; Kaonohi said. “;The plan was to start producing locally and then pitch the program nationally.”;

Filming will resume in May after the band returns from a trip performing for troops in Kuwait. “;We plan to create a Kolohe Town complete with townspeople like teachers, doctors, policemen, plumbers and carpenters, all played by children,”; Kalama said.

“;The program demonstrates that things don't always have to be structured,”; he said. “;It shows that adults are more inclined to make mistakes than kids. Kids are more inclined to do the right thing. The kids are smart—they are not just passive observers of information.”;

When Kalama asked the “;boys”; why they wanted to do this show, their reply was the reason he decided to pick up the program. “;A lot of kids are losing the sense of magic in our traditional values,”; Kalama said. “;They don't relate, they think it doesn't matter or it's not cool. We want to show them that learning Hawaiian values is not only fun, exciting and entertaining, but values can open magical doorways.

“;It's still cool to be Hawaiian, or at least have fun being Hawaiian for a day.”;