When Kamehameha Schools and Keaau High School play football against each other Friday, Oct. 11, it won’t just be another league game. This will be the third annual Kipimana Cup.
Kipimana is how Hawaiians referred to Shipman more than 100 years ago, and both Kea’au and Kamehameha Schools are situated on land formerly owned by Shipman.
The Kipimana Cup is a goodwill football game between the public and private schools located within a few miles radius.
“It’s a great thing for camaraderie and community for our two schools,” said Iris McGuire, who is serving her 10th year as the athletic director for Keaau High School.
Both schools started around the same time, according to W.H. Shipman, Ltd. President Bill Walter, who worked with McGuire and Dan Lyons, the head football and aquatics coach at Kamehameha Schools to establish the Kipimana Cup.
“We’re really proud here in Keaau that we have two strong schools in this small community,” Walter said. “They have good athletic direction and great team spirit, and this game allows us to translate that into a community spirit of goodwill.”
“We’re just glad that we can be a part of it and encourage it.”
McGuire noted that, historically, Kamehameha Schools and Keaau High School didn’t play against each other because they were in different divisions — Keaau is in Division 1 and Kamehameha is in Division 2. But the Big Island Interscholastic Federation League changed the format, allowing different divisions to play against each other.
Now that Keaau and Kamehameha play against each other, it is going to look like just another game, but it is really the Kipimana Cup.
The significance is that W.H. Shipman will provide $500 to each of the school’s booster club following the game. Shipman had pitched for the winning school to receive the money, but the schools themselves preferred to split the proceeds as a gesture of the goodwill that the game is to promote.
“It’s an exciting thing for the two schools, it’s been a really good thing that Shipman has provided so much support for the schools themselves and for athletics,” Lyons said. “I think it’s a really neat, friendly competition, something healthy and very needed.”
But Keaau is coming into Friday’s face-off with Kamehameha’s record of 4 wins and 4 losses to Kea’au’s record of one win and 5 losses. And Kamehameha has won the two previous Kipimana’s Cup.
But never mind the stats due to the nature of the Cup.
“I don’t want us to become rival schools with Kamehameha,” McGuire stressed.
“You probably have two of the best campuses in the state within a three mile radius,” she noted. “It’s probably one of the best ways to showcase our schools and promote camaraderie, sportsmanship, and the talents of Puna… People can talk poorly about our district, but we probably have two of the best schools in the state right here.”
Kamehameha School’s Hawaii campus opened on former W.H. Shipman land in 2001 and has an enrollment of 1,120 children, grades K-12, while Keaau High School has an enrollment of 950 children, grades 9-12. The school first opened in 1998, also on Shipman property.
W.H. Shipman, for 130 years, has had approximately 17,000 acres in the Puna District, and is active in agriculture and commercial/ industrial development and leasing. Shipman holds a long range-view to sustainability and planned development for balanced community use.
This year’s game is at Kamehameha Schools. Kickoff for the junior varsity game is at 5 p.m. The varsity game is expected to start at 7 p.m.
Expect to pay a nominal admission.