WHAT: "Picnic With Poki and Friends" is a live Hawaiian music
performance presented on the third Thursday of every month from 11 a.m. to 12:30
p.m. under the monkeypod tree on the lawn fronting historic Queen Ka'ahumanu
Church on High Street in Wailuku, Maui.
WHAT TO DO AND SEE: One of the most pleasant ways to spend a lunch
hour in town and also one of Maui's best-kept secrets. "Poki" is Allen "Poki"
Pokipala, a well-known radio disc jockey on Maui. Pure Hawaiian and originally
from O'ahu, "Braddah Poki" as he's affectionately known, has been a fixture on
Maui for the past 20 years. He's a fine musician in his own right, too, playing
a variety of instruments. One recent Thursday, "Picnic" featured Poki on the
standing bass, and friends Eddie Liliko'i on guitar and Kalena Foster on
'ukulele. Previous "Picnic" friends have included such well-known entertainers
as 'Uluwehi Guerrero, Melveen Leed, Hulu Lindsey and Uncle Richard Ho'opi'i.
There are bonuses every time — a spontaneous hula by beautiful 8-year-old Hannah
Hall and her mother, Kathy; hearing the two-dozen or so Punana Leo o Maui
(Hawaiian language) preschoolers saying grace in Hawaiian before eating their
lunch under the monkeypod tree (the school is housed in a building next door to
the church); seeing kupuna (elders) from some of the assisted- living facilities
in the area happily enjoying the soft breezes along with the music.
BRING YOUR LUNCH: Grab a plate lunch at Bentos & Banquets by Bernard
(45 Church St.), a sandwich or a salad at Maui Bake Shop (corner of Vineyard and
Church streets), or — dare we say it? — a Big Mac at you-know-where (2138 Main
St.) and head on over. If you stash a beach chair in your trunk for such
occasions, bring it, too. If not, no worries; Poki always has a supply of beach
CHECK OUT THE CHURCH: The stately white church was built in the
mid-1800s to honor Queen Ka'ahumanu, who embraced Christianity and assisted its
spread in Hawai'i. It is one of the few churches in Hawai'i that still conducts
services in the Hawaiian language.
AFTER THE MUSIC ENDS: Take a stroll along Market Street. There are
some wonderful antique/collectible shops and Café Marc Aurel serves the best
espresso drinks in town.
MORE OF POKI: He plays Hawaiian music on KPOA Radio (93.5 FM) every
Saturday and Sunday from 6 to 10 a.m.
Bonnie Friedman is a freelance writer and publicist on Maui.