Memorial service honors the life and legacy of haunani-kay trask

Jul. 6, 2022

Scholar, poet, kanaka aloha ʻāina and kumu haunani-kay trask passed away on July 3, 2021, leaving behind a legacy that gives a powerful voice to our lāhui and continues to reshape our Hawaiʻi.

A public celebration of her life and work was postponed due to the global pandemic. This week, Kamehameha Schools is deeply honored to co-host a hoʻolewa, a memorial service, for haunani in collaboration with her ʻohana this Saturday, July 9, 2022.

Haunani graduated from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama as a member of the class of 1967. While she was sometimes critical of KS, her scholarship and activism encouraged our institution to more readily embrace Hawaiian language, culture, and identity as sources of strength and intelligence. Cofounder of the Hawaiian Studies program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Ka Lāhui Hawaiʻi, a native initiative for self-determination, haunani believed that “resistance is its own reward.” She was a preeminent figure who helped to shape not only the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, but also much of Hawaiian scholarship and indigenous political thought for the past 50 years.

Her sharp intellect and fearlessness would not only have an impact in our islands, but in the greater Pacific and the world. In the frontmatter of her book of poetry “Night is a Sharkskin Drum,” renowned Māori author Whiti Ihimaera wrote that haunani “writes for all who live in the Africas, the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Polynesia – wherever people have been colonized or dispossessed. She does not simply write with a pen, she slashes with it. She is truly a gift from the Gods.”

Haunani’s hoʻolewa will be held this Saturday, July 9, 2022 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Hawaiian Cultural Center on the Kamehameha Schools Kapālama campus. Members of our Kamehameha ʻohana and the general public are invited to join us in person for this memorial service. Parking and shuttles will be available on campus from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Puna Gate will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please note, masks are required and our campus is smoke-free. 

For those who are unable to attend in person, please tune in to the livestream on our website on Saturday, July 9, 2022 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. This hoʻolewa will be shared as part of the Kaʻiwakīloumoku Lāhui Rising series, which endeavors to inspire young leaders through Lāhui-centered events and happenings. For more information, visit