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Pacific Conversations

“World Oceans Day: The Sea Roads that Connect Us.” Please enjoy this special video presentation of the 2022 Hoʻokele Honua: Pacific Unity Virtual Summit sponsored by the ʻAha Moananuiākea Pacific Consortium. 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.

HO‘OKELE HONUA PACIFIC UNITY SUMMIT: Indigenous Leaders of Moananuiākea Convene
06/16/2021 Please enjoy this special video presentation of the 2021 Hoʻokele Honua: Pacific Unity Virtual Summit sponsored by the ʻAha Moananuiākea Pacific Consortium. 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.

Offshoot Commentaries: Perspective of an Indigenous Filmmaker
04/30/2021 Join us as we talk to native Rapanui filmmaker Sergio Mataʻu Rapu about his film “Eating Up Easter.” Framed as a cinematic letter to his son, the film explores the tensions within an island community facing the globalizing effects of tourism while trying to protect their culture, identity, and ways of life for future generations. Don’t miss out on this interesting conversation, and hear about some of the decisions behind the making of this film.

RAPA NUI: Looking to the Future
04/28/2021 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.

PACIFIC INGENUITY: Mau Piailug and the Pwo Navigators of Micronesia
03/24/2021 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 ‘Aha 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.

Offshoot Commentaries: Living as a Hawaiian-Taiwanese in Taipei
03/05/2021 Join us as we talk with Helen Scott, Taiwan Liaison for ʻAha Moananuiākea, and her two sons, Lucas and Liam, about having to adjust to living in Taiwan and being unable to return to Hawaiʻi due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. Listen as they share why they visited their mother’s place of birth, how they are adapting to life with their Taiwanese relatives, what they miss about Hawaiʻi, and how going to school in Taiwan is different from going to school at Kamehameha.

Offshoot Commentaries: Alaska Native Matriarchal Power
02/26/2021 First Alaskans Institute executives La quen náay Liz Medicine Crow (Haida/Tlingit), CEO/President, and ‘Wáahlaal Gíidaak Barbara Blake (Haida/Tlingit/Ahtna Athabascan), Alaska Native Policy Director, talk with us about important social and racial equality work they are doing in Alaska. Both are active in indigenous networks with ties to Hawaiʻi. Listen as these amazing female leaders share personal life experiences around learning and reclaiming their mother tongue, the importance of their people’s matrilineal traditions, and what it means to be a leader in their community.

INDIGENOUS TAIWAN: Birthplace of Polynesian Languages and Pacific Navigation
02/24/2021 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 Hawai‘i. 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.

Offshoot Commentaries: A Personal Tlingit Language Journey
02/12/2021 Dr. X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, Associate Professor of Alaska Native Languages at the University of Alaska Southeast, is a powerful advocate for indigenous education and language revitalization. He is from the Tlingit, Haida, and Yup’ik native nations, speaks and studies the Tlingit language, and received a Ph.D. in Hawaiian and Indigenous Language Revitalization from Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. Dr. Twitchell recently sat down with us to share personal stories of his own language journey and reflected upon how discovering your mother tongue can become a pathway to healing emotional trauma.

ALASKA NATIVE CANOE LEGACY: Indigenous (‘Ōiwi) Leadership Values
01/27/2021 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.

Offshoot Commentaries: Māuipāmamao: Carving Hawaiian-Māori Tribal Heritage
12/04/2020 Mixed media artist and Ngāti Ruawāhia carver Lloyd Kumulāʻau Sing talks about his upcoming project, a poupou (tribal post) that is representative of the 6th tribe of Te Tai Tokerau, Ngāti Ruawāhia.

NGĀTI RUAWĀHIA, Part 2: Sir Hector Hekenukumai Busby — Hawai‘i’s Legacy in Aotearoa
12/02/2020 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.

NGĀTI RUAWĀHIA, Extended Conversations: 1985 Hōkūle‘a Crew Panel
11/25/2020 Vivid storytelling and rich conversations continue in this extended hour-long segment with members of the 1985 Hokulea crew, including Nainoa Thompson, Stanley Conrad, Kālepa Baybayan, and Billy Richards.

NGĀTI RUAWĀHIA, Part 1: Hawaiian Tribe of Te Tai Tokerau Celebrates 35 Years
11/25/2020 Hōkūleʻa’s historic landfall at Waitangi, Aotearoa 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 for an engaging panel discussion.

Offshoot Commentaries: Growing Up Hawaiian-Tahitian
11/20/2020 Tauariʻi Kamuela Nahalea-Marama talks about what it was like growing up in Tahiti and Hawaiʻi, including traveling between both places, learning both Hawaiian and Tahitian language, and how his experiences have shaped his life today.

Offshoot Commentaries: Comparing Hawaiian and Tahitian Language
11/13/2020 Dr. Keao NeSmith of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa provides an intriguing comparison between the Hawaiian and Tahitian languages, discussing their similarities and evolution, as well as how they are being applied in contemporary contexts.

TAPUTAPUĀTEA: Sacred Gathering Place of Navigators and Chiefs
10/28/2020 A fascinating exploration of one of the most sacred sites in Polynesia, Marae Taputapuātea in Ra‘iātea, 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.

Offshoot Commentaries: The Hikianalia Song
10/23/2020 Kalani Asano shares the meaning and inspiration behind the creation of this mele honoring Hikianalia and the lessons learned on their journey.

Offshoot Commentaries: Dreams of a Young Voyager
10/23/2020 Kalani Asano talks about his family who helped shape his love for the ocean, his travels upon the sea roads that his kūpuna once traveled, and how these experiences have helped him on his current path as a student at the prestigious California State University Maritime Academy in Vallejo, California.

Offshoot Commentaries: The Doldrums are the Answer!
10/16/2020 Nainoa Thompson describes what the Doldrums mean to him and how this place of calm is a school of learning that teaches youth to be young navigators of not only the oceans, but of life as well.

KEALAIKAHIKI: Ancestral Sea Road Connecting Hawai‘i and Tahiti
10/14/2020 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.