June 2023



Moʻolelo: Toka Valu

10 Hawaiian Values We Should All Live By

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Recipe: Lychee Coconut Sorbet

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Toka Valu

I was born and raised in the Kingdom of Tonga until I was 14. I was raised by a single mom surrounded by her siblings (second moms and dads) which gave a childhood where I wanted for nothing. My mom married her high school sweetheart in 1997 which is when we moved out to the United States to be joined where I gained 3 new siblings, a father figure, and aunts and uncles who taught me the value of honest hard work. All this has helped shape and inform the art I create to this day.  

Currently, I'm finishing up an illustration piece for Seattle King County Public Health along with a 17-panel temporary mural installation that will be installed in the Wallingford neighborhood in Seattle. My art is inspired by my Tongan heritage, Pasifika folklore, and is a tribute to my ancestry, and those who I love most. 

“Matangi lelei to ki he la mahaehae” ~ “Favorable voyaging winds are never suited for tattered sails.” | Tongan maritime proverb

My journey as an artist/creative, up to this point of my life, has been one full of doubt and trepidation.

Trepidation, because a voice in me kept telling me I’m an imposter...that I’m just playing at this. Doubt, because the thought of leaning into this commitment can be overwhelming and utterly terrifying at times. What’s different today? Honestly, not too much. Although, after going through some of the most significant life changes recently, the only discernible difference is that I’m older…maybe a little wiser…and not quite as bothered by that little voice that say’s “you can’t” anymore. Also, I’ve been blessed/scolded by countless mentors, friends, and family to get this done, so…here I am…A bit surer of myself than a few years ago, plenty excited at the opportunities ahead, and fully dedicated to seeing this through. 

Share your name, your ʻohana/family names and your favorite ʻāina or wai...what land/water source are you most connected to and why. 


My name is Va'eomatoka Kenneth Liueli Valu, I go by he/him pronouns. My mother comes from Lapaha and my father comes from Ma'ufanga, both on the island of Tongatapu, Kingdom of Tonga. My wai is Vai 'Utulupe and my ʻāina is Tongatapu as they are both the greatest sources of my artistic inspiration. 

What are you grateful for and why? 

I am grateful for ancestry that connects me to generations of faith leaders, Tongan artisans, dancers, storytellers, and holders of cultural knowledge. 

What brings you joy? 


My wife and I have two little ones. Loleto, a warrior woman in the body of a 5-year old girl and Taiaha. An old man in the body of a 5-month-old baby lol these three people are the pride and joy of my life. 

During difficult journeys, how do you heal and restore your health and mental well-being? 


Art has been a major source of therapy for me especially in those early years upon arrival to the US. It was a way to stay rooted and connected and it helped me direct my frustration and anger into a practice that's developed over decades. Today, art is still there but I also have my two children and partner to help walk me through the challenges. Dialogue with my wife has long been one of the most constructive things that's helped me sort out some tough binds and a nice daily walk (picked this up over the pandemic!) with the kiddos does wonders for putting things in perspective. Last but not least is SLEEP. Just making sure to block out at least 6-7 hours of solid sleep (less so when the babies are small) allows your body to do its thing and just let your mind rest. 

How do you share your manaʻo and mana with your keiki? 


My wife and I have done our best to talk plainly about almost anything and everything with our daughter. We encourage her inquisitiveness and try our best to be patient when that inquisitiveness becomes incessant questioning lol. I believe our babies will naturally gravitate to our cultures when it is modeled for them by their parental figures and because it's in their blood. I do my best to play and sing and play Tongan music around the house, teach the Tongan alphabet and numbers, all these small things that just add up.

What is your favorite way to move your kino (body)? 


I used to enjoy heavy lifting as a younger man. Now as I grow older with new and more chronic aches and pains, I find my

ego more forgiving and more willing to do less intense things lol. I love going on a long walk with my family or a quick hike. Baby girl likes to ride her scooter while my wife and I walk along briskly with baby boy. It's been a while since I've done Tongan dance, but I've been thinking about picking up hula with the hula Dads at a hālau in Federal Way so that might be added to the activity list. 

What is a quote that empowers you? 

I've enjoyed the words of local Hawaiʻi folks quoted famously by the late great Billy Kenoi, "eh no such ting no can...always CAN...the only ting you gotta figure out is...HOW CAN?" Resilience and resourcefulness - that's our people to a tee! 

Would you share an easy, healthy-heart recipe that your ʻohana enjoys? 

I make a mean Tongan style chicken curry-here’s the recipe.

Tongan Chicken Curry Recipe


• Boneless chicken thighs - 1 and 1/2 - 2 lbs. chopped to bite-size

• Curry powder - 2 and 1/2 tablespoons

• Salt - 2 teaspoons • Olive oil - 1 and 1/2 tablespoons

• Potatoes - 4 Yukon gold potatoes peeled and quartered

• Carrots - 4 peeled and diced

• Celery - 3-4 sticks sliced

• Tomato - 1 quartered

• Onion - 1 quartered

• Garlic - 2-3 cloves minced

• Bay leaves - 3 leaves

• Vegetable broth - 3-4 cups (depending on how soupy you want it)

• Coconut milk - 1/4 cup

1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil on medium high and bloom the curry and salt until fragrant.

2. Add the chopped chicken and sauté until chicken is browned.

3. Add the minced garlic and sauté with the chicken until fragrant.

4. Add chopped onion and sauté until onions are tender.

5. If anything is stuck to the bottom of the pan, use a wooden spoon and scrape bottom of pan as best as possible until all food pieces are unstuck.

 6. In separate pan, bring vegetable broth to boil.

7. Add celery, carrots and potatoes and stir 5-7 mins.

8. Add vegetable broth and bay leaves then simmer 10 mins.

9. After simmer, add tomatoes and coconut milk then simmer 10 mins.

10. After simmer, salt if needed to taste.

11. Curry should be ready once potatoes are full cooked. The longer you cook (especially if you cook on higher heat) the more gravy like your curry will be.

12. Let curry sit off heat 10 mins before serving.

13. Serve with a side of brown rice.

About - TokaValu

10 Hawaiian Values We Should All Live By

Values are your principles, ethics, and morals. Values can also be advantages of some sort. The base in how you live is primarily the values that you carry on your shoulders, whether you know it or not. Hawaiians were, and still remain, very strong in their values. Here are 10 Hawaiian values that we can all live by in order to better our lives for ourselves and others.

1) Kumu: is not just a teacher. It is a source. Kumu is a way to retain more knowledge about something youʻre not familiar with. Be a kumu, a source to others. Whether it’s for school, hula, or sports. The kumu in your life are the most impactful people in your life.


2) Hoʻomau: Everyone goes through adversity some time in their life. Hoʻomau is the value of having perseverance. The ability to have determination, and to power through the obstacles in life, exude the value of hoʻomau.

3) Hoʻoponopono: Good things come from people who do good things. They understand the difference between good and bad, and display a good example for their peers and younger generations. Hoʻoponopono is difficult at times to achieve, but it positively impacts the family dynamic and problem solving together.

4) Mana: is translated to power and comes from within. In my perspective, mana can only be achieved by thinking deeply and by doing things with a purpose. What is your purpose for doing what you’re doing?

5) Hilinaʻi: Confidence is the hardest self-value that people find within themselves. It is too often that we doubt ourselves when we perform whether it is in school, sports, or your job. However, most times it’s not that we don’t have the ability to do it, it’s the self-doubt that holds us back. I mua me ka hilinaʻi- Go foward with confidence!

6) Haʻahaʻa

Haʻahaʻa is to have humility. Stay modest and respect one another for their efforts.

7) Lōkahi

It is said that teamwork is the heart to great achievement. Lōkahi is the act of working as one. When you have common ground with people, and work together, your capabilities outweigh your struggles. Work together! Be as one!


8) Hoʻomanawanui

The best things come to those who wait. Patience is another value that many people struggle with. Waiting for the perfect moments for things will help you.

9) Hoʻāla

Hoʻāla is to evoke, to awaken! Create change in the world. If you don’t see things being done to benefit your life or your surroundings, then be the change! 

10) Hoʻoulu

To elevate and continue to grow is a self-value that keeps you mentally strong. You can also elevate the people around you by encouraging them to do their best and be their best version of themselves.

Author, Lahela Rosario, graduated from Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi, Keaʻau Campus and is currently a student-athlete (water polo) at California Baptist University in Riverside, CA.

10 Hawaiian Values We Should All Live By- Big Island Pulse

Keiki Coloring & Learning Pages

keikikaukau.com provides free keiki printables that are perfect for summer coloring and learning activities.

Check them out using this link:

Printables - Keiki Kaukau

Recipe: Lychee Coconut Sorbet

Prep Time:

15 minutes

Cook Time:

5 minutes

Freezing Time:

2 hours

From Cooking Hawaiian Style


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup sugar (you can use less, if you’re watching your sugar intake)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups chilled lychee juice


  1. Bring the water, sugar, and salt to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. 
  3. Transfer the syrup to a small bowl and refrigerate, tightly covered until thoroughly chilled.
  4. Whisk coconut milk and lychee juice in a large glass bowl. Whisk in the chilled syrup.
  5. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  6. Transfer to a freezer container and freeze for at least 2 hours before serving.
  7. You can also put chopped up bits of young coconut and lychee in the sorbet if you like.

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Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Health Studies