Yahoo Weather

You are here

Mala’ai School Garden benefit auction attracts rare treasures this Sunday at Merriman’s

Stan Gollaher poses with one of his handcrafted rocking chairs and a koa paddle. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS)
Stan Gollaher poses with one of his handcrafted rocking chairs and a koa paddle. (PHOTO COURTESY OF WMS)

The primary annual fundraiser for Waimea Middle School’s Mala’ai School Garden will feature Hawaii Island’s most talented, but low profile artisans and culinary experts at this Sunday’s 7th Annual Art & Sol Benefit at Merriman’s Restaurant.

Art & Sol tickets are $50 for the 12:30-3 p.m. gathering that includes tasty pupus made by Merriman’s chefs paired with delicious wine. Among the artisans who have contributed exceptional one-of-a-kind collectibles for this year’s auction are Waimea master kapa maker Roen Hufford and Paauilo master woodworker Stan Gollaher.

Kapa master Roen Hufford

Hufford, who by day runs the organic Honopua Farm with husband Ken, recently returned from a major kapa symposium and exhibition combined with a performance by Halau O Kekuhi whose dancers wore prized kapa garments. Hufford and her mom, Marie McDonald, also a revered kapa master and Hufford’s teacher, were among a group of 24 kapa makers from across the state invited to share their exquisite, time-consuming artistry.

She has now been invited to exhibit her artistry at the National Museum of the American Indian in New York City in mid-May.

For Hufford, the joy of kapa making seems to come from the deep relationship and connection between the kapa maker and the growing and preparation of the plant materials, and also between the kapa maker and the kumu hula and dancer wearing the items.

Master woodworker Stan Gollaher

Another low profile, superb yet reserved artisan who has contributed an exquisite curly koa rocking chair to this year’s Art & Sol auction is Stan Gollaher, who is the one-man workhorse behind Raiatea Woodworks. Gollaher’s craftsmanship coupled with the volume of exquisite custom pieces he churns out working in solitary in his Ka’apahu Homesteads workshop is evidence that his work is cherished.

Word-of-mouth sustains his family business – he also prepares the wood himself, beginning with his own sawmill and including both slow air-drying and a low temperature kiln. He has now crafted well over a thousand custom chairs, tables, dressers, armoires, chests, bars, spiral staircases and many other custom items both for his neighbors and private homes throughout the state. He also has created pieces for the Hotel Del Coronado, rebuilt a three-tiered pulpit for a church in Tahiti, crafted eight Queen Anne chairs and large round inlaid table with pedestal for President Nixon’s summer house in San Clemente, and was commissioned to create a molecular biology amphitheater that seats 100 medical personnel inset with extensive high tech diagnostic equipment for a hospital on the mainland.

Superb island culinarians

Auction items also include culinarians who dedicate their lives to being high service, low profile personal chefs for Hawaii Island homeowners and visitors.

“There’s a big and growing demand for talented personal chefs primarily for Kohala Coast homeowners and visitors. These chefs specialize in creating memorable meals and events that incorporate Hawai’i Island’s beautiful organic and sustainable farm products,” said Chef Maria Peterson, who serves on Mala’ai’s not-for-profit board.

She has asked friends in the business to join in contributing a luxurious feast for the auction, including Chef Dan Bobo with wife Claire with Island Thyme Cuisine, Chef Stravos Paterakos, Chef Angela Zink, Chef Daniel Thiebaut and Chef Bonita Lau. Alvin Wakayama with Kamuela Liquor Store will work with the chefs to select paired wines for these dinners.

Mala’ai: The Culinary Garden of Waimea Middle School is Hawaii Island’s model school garden, which was first planted nine years ago as an outdoor living classroom to grow real change for Waimea’s children and community. From the beginning, Mala’ai has been funded almost entirely by community friends and foundations as a private not-for-profit.

To purchase tickets via PayPal or for more information on the list of auction items offered, visit, or contact Mala’ai Executive Director Alethea Lai at or call 989-7861. If interested in placing a bid on specific items ahead of time, contact Lai.