HAWAIʻI (Nov. 26, 2020) – Following the launch of its new website resource kaiwakiloumoku.ksbe.edu in September, Kamehameha Schools’ Kaʻiwakīloumoku Pacific Indigenous Institute unveiled “Pacific Conversations,” a monthly video series and talk show on the website featuring diverse contemporary voices from Hawaiʻi and the Pacific.
“As we learn about Moananuiākea, our oceanic home, we are reminded that the Pacific is an important part of our identity as island peoples,” said Randie Kamuela Fong, executive culture director of KS’ Hoʻokahua Cultural Vibrancy Group. “Relationships and conversations with others can help us teach and learn across the globe, amplifying indigenous voices of resiliency and hope; reminding us that the ocean unites and connects us.”
Kicking off part one of “Pacific Conversations’” newest episode on Wednesday, Nov. 25, is the episode entitled “NGĀTI RUAWĀHIA: Hawaiian Tribe of Te Tai Tokerau, Aotearoa Celebrates 35 Years,” which features members from the 1985 Hōkūleʻa crew who sailed on a “Voyage of Gifts” from Rarotonga (Cook Islands) to Aotearoa (New Zealand). Nainoa Thompson (navigator), Shorty Bertelmann (captain), Bruce Blankenfeld, Kālepa Baybayan, Billy Richards, Harry Ho, and Māori crew member Stanley Conrad (Te Aupōuri) share inspiring stories about the epic sail and historic landfall that ignited the contemporary Māori waka (canoe) movement, and gave birth to the Hawaiian tribe, Ngāti Ruawāhia, 6th Tribe of Te Tai Tokerau.
On Wednesday, Dec. 2, “Ngāti Ruawāhia Part Two” will feature Sir Hector Hekenukumai Busby – Hawaiʻi’s Legacy in Aotearoa, and will explore the life and work of Busby, the beloved Māori elder. Inspired by Hōkūleʻa’s arrival in Waitangi and a mentor to Thompson, Busby spent his life building connections in the Pacific and waka, revitalizing Māori wayfinding in the process.
“It is such an honor to be part of these historic discussions,” said Lāiana Kanoa-Wong, a KS cultural specialist and co-host of “Pacific Conversations.” “With every story told, mile sailed and program explored, we are uplifted and enriched by their history and moʻolelo. It’s the impact of these discussions and others like it that introduce voices of the past and present that are helping to shape our future.”