spacer spacer
osted on: Sunday, November 11, 2007

Join 'Picnic' friends under monkeypod tree on Maui

By Bonnie Friedman
Special to The Advertiser

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

"Picnic With Poki and Friends" provides free Hawaiian entertainment every third Thursday of the month on the lawn fronting historic Queen Ka'ahumanu Church on Maui.

BONNIE FRIEDMAN | Special to The Advertiser

spacer spacer

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 mats.

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.