The Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office at UH Mānoa focuses on implementing recommendations from Native Hawaiian reports authored over the last 30 years that guide UH Mānoa in becoming a Native Hawaiian place of learning. We have four focus areas:

  • Native Hawaiian Student Success
  • Native Hawaiian Staff and Faculty Development
  • Native Hawaiian Environment
  • Native Hawaiian Community Engagement

We cannot do this work alone. It is our mission to foster the potential within each of you to positively contribute to our collective kuleana to make UH Mānoa a Native Hawaiian place of learning. These monthly newsletters are meant to keep you connected, highlight your work and continue to inspire you.
  • Native Hawaiian students are holistically supported from recruitment through post-graduation.
  • Best practices are gleaned from efforts to support Native Hawaiian students and are applied to student success strategies for all students across the campus.
Report on Returning to Campus Fall 2020 Survey
By: Punihei Lipe
ASUH, UH Mānoa

The focus on Native Hawaiian (NH) student success in all of the NH reports is multifold. On the one hand, there are recommendations related to increasing the number of NH students being recruited by, retained in, and graduated though UH Mānoa. There is also the focus on NH student leadership and growth opportunities. Another set of recommendations focuses on identifying institutional barriers and removing them, with a particular emphasis on structural change. We highlight the ASUH student survey report that explores student realities as they prepare to return to school this fall because it touches upon many of the NH student success focus areas listed above. We see in ASUH's current president, Donavan Kamakani Albano, an example of a NH student participating in UHM leadership opportunities. We pause to ask ourselves: how can the institution support students like Kamakani to bring their whole selves, including their NH culture, into the UHM governance experience? Regarding the report, from our office's perspective, we see this as such an important piece of work that invites our attention to focus on how we mālama all of our students by identifying and removing barriers so that our students can succeed in these challenging times. We invite each of you to think about how this data can help you in your particular kuleana to foster that space. The report can be found HERE.
Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program-Huliauapaʻa
By: Pua Souza
Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program 2020

Run by local non-profit, Huliauapaʻa in collaboration with Kamehameha Schools, The Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program (WKIP) offers university students a month long paid summer internship in cultural and resource management. This year the program was set to be held in Kohala, however, due to COVID-19 restrictions the WKIP team decided to run the entire program online. This summer's cohort included myself and 6 other haumana attending school across the UH campuses. Throughout the first two weeks of the program, my cohort and I received training in ethnohistorical research, ethical field research and cultural resource management. We are currently working on putting these trainings to use while developing our summer projects, which will be created and shared for Kohala community by the ending of next month. Stay tuned for upcoming updates on WKIP final projects and what we've learned about resource management in Kohala!
  • Native Hawaiian staff & faculty are holistically supported from recruitment through promotion and leadership development in every unit across the campus.
  • All staff & faculty at UH Mānoa are more knowledgeable and culturally rooted in Mānoa and Hawai‘i.
Mānoa Faculty Senate:
Report on Return to Campus in Fall 2020 Survey
By: Punihei Lipe
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Seal

Our goal in this area of the NH reports is really two-fold. On the one hand, it is to support NH staff and faculty development and to ensure that they have equitable opportunities to grow and fully contribute to the academy and to our communities. On the other hand, it is to support all staff and faculty to become more knowledgeable on and reflective of Indigenous Hawai‘i in their attitudes and actions. Some of the Native Hawaiian pillars that are important for our UHM community to engender include aloha, mālama, and a sense of ‘ohanaThese are not simple to understand nor to carry out, especially in a predominantly Westnern institution. But we do see kīpuka on our campus where these are definitely in action. Our office sees the Faculty Senate Report on Returning to Campus in the Fall as an important tool - a seed perhaps - to help us grow the ways we aloha and mālama one another within this UHM ‘ohana. We invite you to think about how you can use the data collected in the report to mālama one another within your office, team, unit, classes, and anywhere else you interact on campus with staff and faculty. The report can be found HERE.
UH Mānoa campus is a physical, cultural, spiritual, and interactive environment that exemplifies the values of ‘ohana and community, mālama ‘āina, and kuleana; thereby, perpetuating Native Hawaiian values, culture, language, traditions, and customs.
Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT): Summer Summit Planning
By: Sonya Zabala

Since 2017, the TRHT team has engaged in learning, designing, piloting, and refining strategies for our campus and communities to work towards truth, racial healing, and transformation. Last month the TRHT team, comprised of both UH and community members, worked to finalize details for the 2020 UHM TRHT Summit. The summit planning focused on a three-pronged pedagogical approach including a‘o, learning from and with one another; alu, connecting to work together; and ‘auamo, carrying the kuleana together. Next month we will share results from the 1.5 day summit.
UH Sea Grant:
Response to BLM Movement
By: Katy Hintzen & Darren Lerner
UH Sea Grant Logo

In response to the Black Lives Matter movement, the University of Hawaiʻi Sea Grant College Program participated in #ShutDownAcademia #ShutDownStem #Strike4BlackLives by gathering virtually to discuss racism. Hawaiʻi Sea Grant has started holding monthly meetings to create space for anti-racism, and DEI dialogue, growth, and action. Staff discussed collective intentions and goals for these continuing meetings and focused in particular on what would make meetings beneficial and impactful from a personal or programmatic standpoint. Some of the thoughts shared included:
  • “I don’t want to be a bystander on this issue anymore. I want to understand what I can do to help.”
  • “Seeing a change in my effectiveness in having these conversations. If I as a white person am better equipped to have effective conversations on this topic, it reduces the burden on people of color.”
  • “Gaining skills to conduct outreach in the community confidently, but humbly. Bringing knowledge, but also receiving it.” 
  • “Knowing that we are working toward some concrete actions or plans as an organization to address systemic racism and how it affects the issues we are working on.”
UH Mānoa and Native Hawaiian communities are consistently connected and engaged in order that there can be reciprocal teaching and learning for positive impact throughout Hawai‘i.
Ala Polohiwa a Kāne: A Summer Solstice Event
By: Punihei Lipe
E Pule Pū Kākou: Summer Solstice Event Flyer

On the first night of Hinaia‘ele‘ele (June 20th) we invited all communities who call Hawai‘i home to gather online to learn and participate in a Native Hawaiian summer solstice practice. In particular, it was a time to envision and give energy to our healthy and vibrant Hawai‘i together. Professor Lilikalā Kame‘elehiwa was the guest presenter and shared her expertise on the importance of Kānehoalani (the sun), how to measure its movement, and a chant to greet him. We are so grateful for this opportunity to continue to learn from Native Hawaiian ancestral wisdom and to build new community across many communities as we go. You can view this recorded webinar here.
2020 Institute on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation
By: Punihei Lipe
TRHT Logos

Last month I was able to participate, mentor, and present at the 2020 Institute on TRHT Campus Centers. More than three dozen colleges and universities gathered online over a four day period to think, plan, and share strategies regarding the role colleges and universities can play in jettisoning racism. I was humbled by the commitment of the teams who attended, reinvigorated by our leaders during the plenary sessions, and inspired by the work of the current TRHT campus centers. Attending this Institute and connecting with this larger community helped me to return to our UHM TRHT team and campus with a renewed sense of direction, hope, and resolve. Since then, we have also seen encouraging calls to action such as Congresswoman Barabara Lee's legislation recommending a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation. Of course we also have lots of work to do here in Hawai‘i and look forward to the ways we can collaborate with each of you. 
Nā Lamakū o Ke Aloha ʻĀina
Kanaka Highlight Series
Nōweo Leinaʻala Kaʻahuʻulaanāmamo Kai
Birthplace: Kaimukī, Oʻahu
High School: Kalani High School
UHM Degrees: BS Botany (2014), MS Botany (2018)
Current Occupation: Botanist & Curator for UH Campus Arboretum

What inspired/inspires the path for your academic major?
 Everything. Plants kept and keep my attention to show up and honor appointments. Thinking back as a child in Kaimukī - laʻī for cooking and lei; yellow and pink plumeria; lime to flavor fish and make juice; passing fragrant double pikake on walks to/from school; waiawī for snacking, juice, and jam; maiʻa for all things maiʻa; mango for days - sweep leaves, pick, peel, slice the fruit - pickle, dry, cook, bake. Soursop and cucurbs from neighbors; scratches from quickly hiding in a Bougainvillea bush (never again); endless itch from helping to clear guinea grass; Papa K’s Kahiko Florist shop in the Jade Building where I got to help receive proteas from Maui. Mom loves plants and shared that love with my brothers and me. Together, we acknowledged and admired vegetation on each island and abroad. It’s evident that plants are essential to my health and happiness. The year 2003 brought me to UHM College of Education and Dr. Pauline Chinn. Working for her and Place-Based curriculum development naturally led to friendships with outstanding educators who regarded Hawaiʻi for reasons new to me. The more I learned of categories of plants - endemic, indigenous, invasive, naturalized, scientific names, anatomic similarities and differences, endangered species - and conservation programs, the greater I felt a desire to inform all who would listen about the incredible and imperiled native flora, forests, and biological dynamics within. My approach to native Hawaiian plant conservation was public education. People have to know the subject, its value, the problem, and how to be part of the solution, or, at least, not part of the problem. I knew I needed a more general knowledge of plants and peoples worldwide. 

How did your academic major lead to the work you are currently doing?
Serendipitously. The campus plant collection, since the first installations in 1915, continues to be an accumulation of tropical diversity. In 2011, Roxanne Adams, Director of Buildings and Grounds Management (BGM), initiated an inventory of the existing plants and a project to develop a map, collect information, and interpret it all to reveal the resource that the grounds and collection serve as a direct service support to the university. When the position for Campus Arboretum curator needed to be filled, I had just finished the Botany Graduate Program. The arboretum needed someone to manage plant records. A ʻoia. Currently, my position includes updating the inventory, continuing to collect information (donors, dates, progeny, taxonomic updates, etc.) and discussing collaborations with offices/departments.

What are your future goals in your work?
Pass probationary period! Be makaʻala to opportunities to merge objectives, hoʻomākaukau to support NHPOL office, and increase Native Hawaiian plant count and diversity in campus collection.

What does UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning mean to you?
The ever-lingering nīnau with ever changing pane. How many people were deterred from entering Wai Wai because of the Agathis out front? What plants are in or around ʻIolani Palace? What tree do we huddle under for shade at Mauna ʻAla? Just two years ago, I was convinced that adding native plants to any space would instantly hoʻo Hawaiʻi dat buggah. ʻAʻole. Native plants certainly help to create a Hawaiian place but only to those who know native plants. Many people love, myself included, and can more readily identify many non-natives - pikake, pakalana, pua kenikeni, crown flower, pua melia, ginger, anthuriums - and feel like those, because of association with these flowers in lei, and lei are associated with celebrations, celebrations in Hawaiʻi, are a quick and positive link to Hawaiʻi. Thus, creating a Hawaiian place. Itʻs not not. Nevertheless, Brittany, our talented horticulturist, and I will continue to plant, propagate, and promote native plants for campus as well as our lei plants, foods, and ferns. More immediate impressions (not plants, err, at least not particular plant species) come from the dedicated function of a place/space, integrated protocols, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi names and words seen and heard in & around buildings (E akahele, mai paheʻe i ka pulu. E ʻoluʻolu, mai puhi paka. “3 ʻekolu” & “Mahalo no ka hele ʻana” in stairwells), visual patterns, prints, or scenes, forever free weekly papa ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, mele, hula. I appreciate Kapiʻolani Community College for their plant building names, way-finding signs, and interior decor that instantly convey nā mea Hawaiʻi, even though the largest trees are non-native Ficus and their landscape is most noted for their succulent collection (neither native nor used in lei). Offices, colleges, buildings, departments working with each other and integrating regular collaboration. From my current position, UHM as a NHPOL requires people knowing, regularly caring for, and using the plants on campus through coursework, health & wellness activity, staff bonding, new student orientation, etc.