Evans was raised on Lanai from birth. She grew up loving the hula but also loving to hunt deer. She rode horses on Koele Ranch but also started driving on Lanai’s dirt roads at 12 years old. On these holoholo (travels) – from the breathtaking, white sands of Polihua Beach to the rocky, alien landscape of Keahiakawelo (known as The Garden of the Gods) – her father would share the legends of this small island.
Even for Hawaii’s locals, not much is known about Lanai except for its Four Seasons Resort and its pineapple plantation past. But Evans wants to change that. She wants locals and visitors to ike maka, or “see with one’s own eyes” the Lanai that she loves.
“We have places where you go and you step back in time.”
You spent some time away from Lanai. What made you come back?I lived away from Lanai for about 10 years and I came back because I felt that it was my responsibility to help perpetuate the culture, both the Hawaiian culture and the unique culture of Lanai and to educate people about what's so special about this island. I also felt that it's where I belong. It's where I feel most rooted and where I feel most at peace.
Lanai is different from other islands because there is a lot of untouched beauty. We have places where you go and you step back in time. It's what it would look like, 200, 300 years ago. The entire island is off the beaten path.
What makes Lanai so special?
Do people treat each other differently on such a small island?
We used to joke because my mom would go to the store and come home two hours later – and it's just the grocery store that's three minutes down the road. It's some social hour. It's where people get their information, it's where people talk story, and I think that feeling of one big family and knowing that everybody has everybody else's best interests and has an essential goodness in their hearts, that's what makes this place so special and that's how it really embodies aloha.
There was a big paniolo culture on Lanai. What is a paniolo?
A paniolo is the Hawaiian word for "vaqueros" which is Spanish term for cowboy. My hanai grandpa was one of the last paniolo on Lanai. When I was a child, I wanted to grow up to be a paniolo and to be a hunter. I wanted to do all the things that my dad and my papa did, you know. That, to me, was the ideal lifestyle.
“There's a saying in Hawaiian where you have to look to the past in order to move forward.”
My parents would always make time to take people around and tell them the stories of Lanai, show them wahi pana, or storied and special places. When we would visit these places with my parents, I felt a connection, and as a hula dancer, that's what you want to portray, right? You want to embody these stories. So, it helped me to develop as a person and as a dancer to be able to go to these places and feel its essence. And it helps me to connect to that place as well, because I wasn't just seeing it as just another pinpoint on the map. It really brings that place to life.
You talk about wahi pana of Lanai. What does that mean?
My role is – both in my professional life and in my personal life – to embody that culture and to share that experience with others. I take it seriously because to me, I'm not only representing myself, I'm representing all of those people that came before me. There's a saying in Hawaiian where you have to look to the past in order to move forward. So I really feel like preserving and perpetuating the culture and the essence of Lanai is really my responsibility. It's a role I was born into.
What are your responsibilities as a cultural practitioner for Lanai?
From our two mile long Zipline Through Paradise, to the only volcano tour on the Big Island chosen “BEST” by Princess Cruises the adventure of your dreams awaits with KapohoKine Adventures!
Let Hawaii Forest & Trail show you an authentic Oahu, utilizing our unparalleled land access and interpretive guiding approach to provoke authentic place-based experiences that illuminate the island’s unique regions through in-depth interactions with our nature and culture. Our Hawaii Oahu tours offer a different perspective.
Discover Hawaii and tour with one of our Interpretive Guides who will share a world of rain forests, waterfalls, cliff-side trails, rare birds, waterfalls and sunrises & sunsets atop Maunakea.
Kauai Hiking Tours offers day hikes, backpacking trips and driving tours on Kauai Island. Our local guides are passionate about sharing their knowledge with aloha. We welcome adventurers of all ages & ability levels - several options of beginner, intermediate, and advanced tours are available.
Join Oahu's original eco-tour company for fun and educational hiking or sightseeing adventure tours. Spectacular scenery, temples, beaches and waterfalls, provide excellent photographic opportunities. Information about the geology, archaeology, mythology and history of Hawaii await you on our tours.
Private Jeep Tours: Explore hidden waterfall areas on the amazing Road to Hana. The day is customized to your hiking ability. Includes a hike in a beautiful bamboo forest, refreshing swimming holes, lunch and a tour DVD! I take all kinds, from family tour groups to honeymooners!
Affordable guided half and full-day hikes. The hikes range from easy to strenuous. Localities include rain forests, waterfalls, valleys and mountain. A narrative on Hawaiian history, volcanology and flora is given. Day packs, water and meal provided. VOTED EXCELLENT ON TRIPADVISOR FOR 2019 !
BikeVolcano.com specializes in guided bicycle tours of Hawaii Volcanoes National & Bike/Hike Tours to Active Lava Surface Flows. Our Certified National Park Interpretive Guides and support staff will lead you incredible and informative volcano and lava adventures. Bike Down an Active Volcano!!!
This beautiful treasure is rich in Hawaiian history and cultural sites, nestled in a stunning botanical garden. Experience more than 5,000 botanicals along a paved path to the 45-foot waterfall. Along the way there are cultural practitioners and artisans sharing various native Hawaiian practices.
We offer 8 top-ranked discounted activities on Maui: Authentic Taste of Maui - Food Tour, Iao Valley & Upcountry farm tour, Segway Guided Tours, Road to Hana Waterfalls & Lunch, Treasure Hunt Family Adventure Honolua Adventure w/lunch, Harley Davidson motorcycle guided tours, and Private Guide custom tours.