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Papahana Puakahinano Fall Session

Hui Hoʻoleimaluō

Hilo, Hawai‘i

Pre-K, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

Fall 2022

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Lots of engaging conversations and anticipation for future programs


Papahana Puakahinano Outcome: to build ʻōlelo Hawaii skills and vocabulary, and cultural practitioners through ʻāina, wahi pana, and ʻike Hawaiʻi hands-on experiences.

Program objectives:

1) To provide meaningful ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and ʻike Hawaiʻi learning opportunities through ʻāina and wahi pana ecosystem-based programming for haumāna and ʻohana in East Hawaiʻi.

2) To provide opportunities for haumāna engagement and launa in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi through Hawaiian culture based communities of practice.

In the fall intercession of 2022, Hui Hoʻoleimaluō facilitated five different learning opportunities for students (ages K-12) in ʻōlelo Hawaii. These opportunities included Papa Imu, Papa Loko Iʻa, Papa Holokai, Papa Hana Noʻeau, and Papa Mahiʻai ma ʻĀina University.

Each program was filled up in less than 24 hours (with many waitlisted) indicating a high demand for these types of opportunities for our Hilo community. This was also the first time we opened it up to all age groups which could be the reason for such a quick response in registration. Three of these classes were held at the same site allowing for keiki to engage and experience all activities going on in one wahi pana. This allowed for keiki to understand the true essence of Hawaiian culture-based communities of practice.

Each papa held very distinct instructions that allowed keiki to engage in the practice in parallel with the language, and which complimented each other to allow for an exceptional learning experience. While many keiki were in the beginning stages of learning ʻōlelo Hawaii, the cultural practices encouraged and made "paʻa" the language in the everyday instruction for the program.

Papa Imu was an all sustainable activity where they learned how to weave coconut leaves for holding the food that went into the imu; all of the covering for the imu came from the surrounding vegetation growing on site; all food including the iʻa, ʻuala, and puaʻa came from Hawaiʻi Island farmers; and the pōhaku came from that immediate coastline.

Papa Loko Iʻa focused on hale building where keiki learned the ʻūpaʻa, a lashing technique that is universal for building and lashing all types of vessels and traditional buildings. Some keiki as young as 4th grade were able to engage in building the scaffolding for the hale and they were able to test its strength by climbing. They were able to practice the lifestyles and understand perspectives of their kūpuna.

Papa Holokai was stationed at Hilo One where keiki got to travel by waʻa along the coastline and in Wailoa to learn the place names, history, and moʻolelo of Kamehameha's arrival; the ʻohana who resided in the area; and engage in the many well-known practices associated with that area such as canoe surfing. 

Papa Hana Noʻeau focused on Hawaiian cordage preparation where they were able to harvest, prepare, and create a final product out of 3 different natural fibers growing at Laehala where the class was conducted.

Lastly, Papa Mahiʻai engaged in uka practices such as growing food crops, cleaning kahawai, and preparing food crops for consumption.

On top of those individual classes, Kumu Hula Iwalani traveled to each class and taught the keiki a hula that relates to each of the practices in which they were engaging and all students performed these hula at the end of the week hōʻike. These are just a few examples that shed light on the extraordinary ways we have achieved the program learning outcomes. 

One major milestone for this program was the fact that we were able to hire all kumu who have strong connections and ties to the community which this program serves. Allowing generational community members to be compensated for the sustainable practices that they love and which they can pass down to future generations is phenomenal.

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