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Diverse contemporary voices from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific offer intriguing cultural perspectives and insights in this enriching hour-long program hosted by Hawaiian educators and cultural practitioners Snowbird Bento and Lāiana Kanoa-Wong. A new episode will be uploaded each month along with a series of compelling offshoot commentaries.


Snowbird Bento and Lāiana Kanoa-Wong as we launch a series of monthly Pacific Conversations for 2020-2021.

Snowbird Bento
Lāiana Kanoa-Wong

2nd Annual
Pacific Unity Virtual Summit


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“World Oceans Day: The Sea Roads that Connect Us.” This 2nd annual virtual gathering of Pacific leaders, culture-bearers, students, and heads of indigenous-serving institutions took place on June 8, World Oceans Day. Representing Tahiti, Alaska, Micronesia, Taiwan, Aotearoa, Rapa Nui, and Hawaiʻi, these inspiring leaders share about their efforts to protect the ocean and ancestral waterways, address issues of climate change in their communities, and strengthen our connections as Pacific people.



Ancestral Sea Road
Connecting Hawaiʻi and Tahiti


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A showcase of Hawaiʻi-Pacific world class learning sets the stage for an inspiring conversation with Pwo navigator Nainoa Thompson and new-generation navigators Lehua Kamalu and Kaleomanuiwa Wong about ancestral sea roads and life aboard the Hōkūleʻa as it sails across the Kealaikahiki heritage corridor.

Episode 1 — World Premiere!
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14, 2020 (Mauli)

Sacred Gathering Place
of Navigators and Chiefs


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A fascinating exploration of one of the most sacred sites in Polynesia, Marae Taputapuātea in Raʻiātea, including a presentation on the designation of Marae Taputapuātea as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a discussion with senior elder Papa Maraehau Kaina Tavaearii and key others directly involved in preserving the chiefly legacy of Taputapuātea.

Episode 2
Program Release Date:


Hawaiian Tribe of Te Tai Tokerau
Celebrates 35 Years


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Hōkūleʻa’s historic landfall at Waitangi, Aotearoa (New Zealand) on December 7, 1985 moved revered elder Sir James Henare to declare the presence of a Hawaiian, “sixth tribe” of Te Tai Tokerau region. This unprecedented honor, championed by Sir Hector Busby, led to the founding of Ngāti Ruawāhia, a Hawaiʻi tribal heritage inspired by the Polynesian Voyaging Society and stewarded by Kamehameha Schools for 35 years. Nainoa Thompson and the 1985 Hōkūleʻa crew reunite in an engaging panel discussion.

Episode 3a
Program Release Date:


Sir Hector Hekenukumai Busby —
Hawaiʻi’s Legacy in Aotearoa


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This program is dedicated to Sir Hector Hekenukumai Busby: patriarch of Māori canoe-building and voyaging, and founding elder of the Hawaiian tribe, Ngāti Ruawāhia, now celebrating its 35th year. Featured are two brief video tributes: “Te Aurere” and “He Hekenga Turua," and a reflection piece by Kamehameha students who visited Sir Hector at his home in Aurere in 2019. Dr. Peter Phillips shares construction updates on “Sir Hec’s Kupe Waka Centre,” a school of navigation and sister center to the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center, and our Māori ʻohana send anniversary well-wishes.

Episode 3b
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 2, 2020 (Lāʻau Kū Kahi)

Indigenous (ʻŌiwi) Leadership Values


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In 1990, with Hawaiʻi’s koa forests in decline, Sealaska Corporation gifted two Sitka spruce logs to the Polynesian Voyaging Society to build the Hawaiʻiloa canoe. Today, an exciting cultural-educational partnership brings together Tlingit, Haida, Tsimshian, and Native Hawaiian communities. In this native leadership discussion, Sealaska Chair Joe Nelson reminds youth that their culture and native identity is their competitive edge. CEO Anthony Mallott believes that connectedness among indigenous peoples builds collective confidence for social change. Tlingit and Haida Central Council President Richard Peterson says we must nurture our “inner ancestor.” Cultural Heritage and Education Director Sarah Dybdahl draws on the anecdotes of elders for planning and decision-making. This program is dedicated to the late Tlingit leader, PVS board member, and ʻAha Moananuiākea guiding elder, Byron Mallott.

Episode 4
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 27, 2021 (Māhealani)

Birthplace of Polynesian Languages
and Pacific Navigation


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The Austronesian language family, to which Hawaiian and many Pacific languages belong, has its roots in what is called Taiwan today. Early Austronesian speakers developed maritime technology that facilitated migration as far west as Madagascar, down through Island Southeast Asia, into parts of Melanesia and Micronesia, as well as Western and Eastern Polynesia in the central and northern Pacific – and ultimately to Hawaiʻi. As they voyaged, they left genetic, botanical, cultural, and linguistic imprints forming a 6,000 year-old genealogical road map. Anthropology professor Dr. Yuan-chao Maeva Tung of National Taiwan University, Taipei, talks about her work with the Kaviyangan Paiwan Tribe. Also featured are declaration signing ceremonies and traditional rituals performed via Zoom to ratify Taiwan-Hawaiʻi partnerships sponsored by Kamehameha Schools, Polynesian Voyaging Society, Bishop Museum, and University of Hawaiʻi.

Episode 5
Program Release Date:


Papa Mau Piailug and the
Pwo Nagivators of Micronesia


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Learn more about the extraordinary life of Papa Mau Piailug and his extended family of Micronesian Pwo navigators who were recently recognized as a Pacific Legacy of Distinction at a virtual ceremony hosted by the ʻAha Moananuiākea Pacific Consortium. Pwo Navigator Nainoa Thompson shares insights about his master teacher and the sacred voyaging knowledge gifted from a region of amazing beauty and brilliance, Micronesia.

Episode 6
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY MARCH 24, 2021 (Huna)

Looking to the Future


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Learn more about the dynamic, future-facing people of Rapa Nui. The Rapa Nui voyaging canoe Kuini Analola opens up the Matariki Festival, and filmmaker Sergio Mataʻu Rapu shares the compelling backstory on his acclaimed “Eating Up Easter” which deals with issues of trash disposal, tourism, and cultural survival. Hōkūleʻa’s 2017 landfall is recounted, and an inspiring visit is taken to the environmentally-driven Toki Music School which was ingeniously constructed from waste products. Local leaders of Foundation Ao Tupuna offer an interesting take on Rapa Nui’s Covid-19 shutdown with reports of a rejuvenated landscape and closer family interactions that seem to have strengthened their traditional lifeways.

Episode 7
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY APRIL 28, 2021 (Kulu)

Pacific Unity Virtual Summit


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This extraordinary virtual gathering of Pacific leaders, culture-bearers, and heads of indigenous-serving institutions on May 3, 2021, marks the beginning of a dynamic Pacific-wide network of indigenous communities who have a shared belief in the power of culture, education, and environmental stewardship, and envision a Pacific future of success and abundance for our youth and the generations to come.

Episode 8
Program Release Date:

WEDNESDAY JUNE 16, 2021 (Kūpau)


Living as a Hawaiian-Taiwanese in Taipei | Helen Scott, Taiwan Liaison, ʻAha Moananuiākea | Lucas Paris Scott | Liam Apollo Scott

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Alaska Native Matriarchal Power |
La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow, President/CEO, First Alaskans Institute | ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake, Director, Alaska Native Policy Center, First Alaskans Institute

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A Personal Tlingit Language Journey | X̱'unei Lance Twitchell, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages

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Māuipāmamao: Carving Hawaiian-Māori Tribal Heritage | Kumulāʻau Sing, Carver/Artist, Kaʻiwakīloumoku

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Growing Up Hawaiian-Tahitian | Tauariʻi Nahalea-Marama, Dancer/Actor

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Comparing Hawaiian and Tahitian Language | Dr. Keao NeSmith, Indo-Pacific Languages, UH Mānoa

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Dreams of a Young Voyager | Kalani Asano, PVS Crew

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CLICK HERE for a special mele segment


The Doldrums Are the Answer! | Nainoa Thompson, Master Navigator, PVS

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Looking For More Content?
Check out our Pacific Conversations archives to browse the entire collection of episodes and offshoot commentaries.