About Mokihana

My full name is Yvonne Mokihana Calizar. I am the daughter of Helen Mokihana Amona Calizar and David Calizar, Sr. and am of Filipino, Hawaiian, Chinese ancestry. My father David was pure Filipino, my mother Helen was Hawaiian-Chinese. Born on the island of O'ahu, I am Makua o'o, an elder in training in the Hawaiian culture who began my tutelage with Aunty Betty Kawohiokalani Ellis Jenkins in 1995. My educational background prepared me to teach, and I did that for more than twenty years. After my career of teaching ended I began to write regular columns for local independent newspapers, first in the Pacific Northwest and later in the Hawaiian Islands. My column "Makua O'o" appeared in The Hawaii Island Journal for several years in the late 1990's and ended in 2004. My essays were published in women's anthologies Our Time, Our Turn, The Circle Continues. More recently experiences with later life challenges and understand how to live with multiple chemical sensitivities opened up the world of blogging. Since 2009 I have authored more than thirty blogs and on-line Hawaiian cultural workshops filled with musings, teachings and tales weaving Hawaiian culture, astrology, daily life sortings and magic. My daily practice as a human in training for elderhood has revealed the multiple meanings of makua o'o. That education comes to the page from dreams, and helps me remember to live life well, every day, and be the person I was born to be.

My passion for story and culture persists today as the influence of myth tempts me to write fiction. Drawing from the rich culture, and 'oli(chants) of the Kanaka my ancestors, and this place and culture I live now (The Pacific Northwest) a world of cross-the-border languages invites me to listen carefully and write this language down. Dolly Parton said, "Storms make trees grow deep roots." I am living that reality. The medicine story The Safety Pin Cafe spilled onto this blog in doses during the winter of 2012. Written in language, metaphor and cultural hybrid myth becomes the 'medicine' and continues to infuse me with the best of healing remedies -- creativity. Gods willing a series of novellas and medicine stories from The Safety Pin Cafe will continue my journey as storyteller and makua o'o.

In 2013 we pitched the first storytelling tents and opened The Safety Pin Café bringing the virtual space down to Earth on the grounds of the South Whidbey Island Tilth. Click here to see that first event. Life and the desire for stories to be told again led to two tent pitchings in 2014. We had great fun, shared stories from the Indigenous People of this Pacific Northwest lands; involved the audience in the telling of Raven's story, and shared a rendering of Pelehonuamea's initiation into her responsibilities as Goddess and maker of land by fire. Life continues to be a fiesta though at a slower pace these days the feast is different yet still delicious. Click here, and here to see some pictures of the 2014 The Safety Pin Café.

I live with my husband Pete, a cat named G Jots, and three chickens. We all share a place in the Pacific Northwest (U.S.) woods with two of our best human friends.


  1. Mokihana,
    I lived in Hawaii for four years, after marrying a man in 2001 whom I had known since the mid 1960s. He was born and raised in Hawaii. Three years
    ago, he left...and to this day, I still do not understand.
    I'd hoped there could be some cultural family intervention to perhaps guide us .... have felt so sad over the outcome of our breakup.

    Where on the Island do you live? Perhaps I am being presumptuous to ask,
    but I'd like to meet you and 'talk story'.

  2. Aloha Anonymous,

    So sorry to read of your heartbreak. I took courage to leave your comment, and for that I malama (appreciate) you. I live in the woods outside of Langley. Perhaps we could start by email. And, if you have not yet done so, the medicine story The Safety Pin Cafe which I wrote, and posted on Drewslist today, might be something to read.

    Contact me at mokihanacalizar@gmail.com

    Malama pono ia 'oe (take care of yourself),

  3. Hello Mokihana,

    I hope you are well! I visited here a few weeks ago and meant to come back to leave a message, but didn't get around to it, so here I am. I enjoyed very much reading more about you
    here and about your journey. This sentence stood out for me: Dolly Parton said, "Storms make trees grow deep roots." I am living that reality.

    I wrote something recently... and I think you might relate...

    I also looked up The Safety Pin Cafe - I just had a quick look and I'm looking forward to reading more!

    I spent almost two years in Ireland, but have now returned to South Africa where I'm resting for a bit (and writing) before heading to the next destination...

    Blessings and Best Wishes for a wonderful year!

    Jean-Jacques @ Gypsy Cafe.

    1. Jean-Jacques,
      What an unexpected and delightful surprise to hear from you!! It has been a long time, and I will visit your Gypsy Cafe to read the post. Life is an incredible opportunity to experience ... I am finding it so with a kinder and sometimes bolder common sense. Thanks so much for checking in, and leaving word that you have visited. It warms my heart, truly.

      The same blessings and best wishes to you Jean-Jacques,


Speak from the heart