I first met Uncle Henry Chang-Wo almost a dozen years ago at the very first E Alu Pu meeting on Moloka‘i. And then, as with many other times since, when he was asked to speak his talks were as widespread and sprawling as the limu about which he invariably chose to speak. And perhaps while not conducive to sticking to meeting agendas, I came to recognize and deeply appreciate that those talks were an upwelling of deep wisdom and a persistent need to share it with others. Like the pūnāwai itself, Uncle Henry served as the persistent lifeblood that safeguarded the limu on his reefs.
But while Uncle Henry was a wellspring of knowledge when it came to limu, what he taught us extended well beyond it. He could often be seen supporting other communities in their endeavors regardless of topic. Through his consistent presence he embodied what it means to commit to a cause. Through his consistent support he showed us by example what it takes to sustain a movement. And through his quiet, loving way he showed us what it means to move forward with kindness and respect.
Uncle Henry has moved on from this world, but his work upon it continues. For you, Uncle Henry, your allies have taken up the cause to ensure the Oneula limu reefs of your childhood endure for the next generations of practitioners. For you, Uncle Henry, your hui of friends throughout the State continue to feed the spring of knowledge so we may properly value and responsibly use our ocean’s resources. For you, Uncle Henry, we will all press forward with the work you began in the way you performed it, with love, kindness, and respect.
From the deepest place and with the sincerest voice, we thank you. We are better people for
having known you. Hawai‘i is a better placefor having had you.
Photo courtesy of Kim Moa and KUA