Anchored in culture-based education, Kamehameha Schools has embarked on a voyage of positive change with the creation of the KS Pacific Citizenship Consortium (KSPCC). At the helm of the consortium is KS’ Ho‘okahua Cultural Vibrancy Group.
Inspired by the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage, KSPCC is an informal association of organizations committed to Hawaiʻi’s cultural, social and environmental engagement in our ancestral Pacific home, Moananuiākea – the greatest body of water on earth where profound human achievements have taken place for millennia.
“Mālama Honua motivates us to celebrate our Hawaiian identity which is born from our Polynesian heritage and rooted in our ancient Pacific wayfinding traditions,” said KS Executive Culture Officer Dr. Randie Fong. “By applying our inherent strengths of exploration, innovation, inquiry, and excellence, we affirm that our ancestral knowledge has the capacity to heal the earth, promote global peace and compassion, and lift humankind.
“Many community colleagues share this belief and are moved to learn and engage as proud Pacific citizens, including the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and the University of Hawai‘i System, Bishop Museum, Hālau Kū Māna Public Charter School, the East-West Center, Punahou School’s Wo International Center, and others.”
Over time, the consortium will cultivate representatives from the broader Pacific region. Preliminary contact has been made with Tahiti, Aotearoa (New Zealand), Rapa Nui (Easter Island), Australia, and China (Beijing and Shanghai).
“With an initial self-imposed two-year window of exploration, the consortium will actively engage in a variety of enriching Hawaiʻi-Pacific experiences,” said Fong. “As participants grow in their own cultural journeys and understanding as leaders, they will support each other, make culturally-informed decisions, and create positive change with global implications.”
Unlike many formal collaborations driven by metrics and outcomes, the KSPCC is driven by a shared set of beliefs and a worldview centered on the Pacific. The informal nature of the consortium will allow people the flexibility to make commitments that are realistic for them with the collective expectation of participation and follow-through. It will operate with a strong sense of spirituality, with decisions guided by our kūpuna, past and present.
Of particular note are three esteemed elders: former KS trustee, the late Myron Pinky Thompson; iconic Pacific master navigator from Satawal, the late Pius Mau Piailug; and renowned canoe-builder and master navigator Hector Hekenumai Busby of Aurere, Taitokerau who continues to provide guidance and support from his home in Aotearoa.
The official announcement of the consortium was made recently at a dinner hosted at KS’ Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center where consortium participants welcomed U.S. Consulate General to Melbourne Frankie Reed and more than 40 emerging Pacific leaders participating in a leadership institute sponsored by the East-West Center Pacific Islands Development Program.
The dinner culminated with remarks by Master Navigator Nainoa Thompson.
“Nainoa called the Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage a ‘Unifier of people and thoughts towards action.’ We humbly hope that our consortium will do the same.”