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 is 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.
Nā Mano, Kini, a Lehu
Paige Okamura
Ua Ao Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Language Class, Campus Center Ballroom

This past fall, ASUH passed a bill to allocate funding to offer free Hawaiian language classes aimed for students, but open to the public, and asked me and my hoa papa (classmate), Ākea Kahikina, to teach these classes. We expected an average turnout of 20-30 people, at most maybe 40 on the first day, obviously not taking into account the expansive outreach efforts to all media outlets and the simple fact that this is a historic effort. So when 300 people packed the hallways of the Campus Center third floor, I was naively in a daze still thinking I was heading into a classroom of 30 people. Campus Center staff had already expanded the room three-fold, yet still people packed the hallways, and as multiple people frantically asked me what we should do, my brain finally kicked into gear and I fully realized that all these people – students, kupuna, families with keiki, even dogs – had come to take our class. Quick decisions were made to move the class to the ballroom, and simultaneously overwhelming feelings of awe and anxiety welled up inside of me. How do we teach a class of 300 when I had planned for 30? I didn’t even make a PowerPoint because I didn’t think I'd need one! I took a moment to gather myself and hoʻokanaka mai, and with Ākeaʻs support, we managed to teach an enthusiastic 300 people how to introduce themselves and say where they're from in Hawaiian. Ākea taught them the phrase “Pā ka naʻau” to convey to them how touched we were by their presence in such astounding numbers. Every week since, we've had an average of 200-250 people show up for class, with a large number of kupuna in the crowd. We encourage everyone to come and join and bring a friend, whether it’s your first time learning the language, need some practice, or are already maʻa but would like to come and support others in their learning. We’ve since named the class  “Ua Ao Hawaiʻi”   and actively use the hashtag#UaAoHawaii.
E mau ana nō ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi!
New Student Orientation
Punihei Lipe
Spring 2020 New Student Orientation, Campus Center Ballroom

In early January 2020 I had the pleasure of speaking to our incoming students at New Student Orientation. It was a rather cold and wet morning and we huddled together in Orvis Auditorium excited to begin their Mānoa journey together. They were such a lovely group ready to engage. In the 30-40 minutes I spent with them we talked about a few things:
  • I Introduced them to Mānoa and to the many family members here (the rain people, the wind people, the mountain people, and others) 
  • We talked about elements of aloha ‘āina 
  • We shared how Mānoa gives us aloha and how we can reciprocate
There were students from Hilo and Waimanālo, California and New York. Whether they are from near or far, going to stay here for the rest of their lives or only for the next couple of years, I posed to them the same two questions:
  • How will you use your undergraduate studies to get to know Mānoa better?
  • How will you use what you learn about Mānoa to more intimately greet and aloha her for the many generations yet to come?
As we think about each of our roles in creating a Native Hawaiian place of learning, I invite all of you to similarly ponder. Further, I invite you to think about how you can support these students in their journeys to respond to these questions.
  • 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.
Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation
Sonya Zabala
UHM Executive Management Cohort at TRHT workshop in Punaluʻu, Oʻahu

TRHT Cohort: 
After 8 weeks of interacting with online curriculum, the 4th TRHT cohort commenced on the shores of Punaluʻu, Oʻahu. This cohort, comprised of UHM executive leadership and community members, engaged in a process of (re)connecting with self, ʻāina and one another through the sharing of stories and layered genealogies. They also identified key “isms” (such as racism and settler colonialism) and explored Hawaiian worldviews that help to interrupt these “isms.” Working in small groups, their final project was an exercise of recognizing their kuleana to one another and a particular ‘āina with the goal of gleaning lessons from that project to apply towards future aloha ‘āina work. 

Monthly TRHT Gatherings: 
The January 2020 TRHT gathering examined the role of structural inequities in algorithms and what we can do about them together. Click here to check out an article we used to frame our discussion.
UHM New Teaching Assistant Orientation
Keahialaka Ioane
Keahialaka Ioane presents on Welina Mānoa oli during TA Orientation

On January 07, 2020 I did a presentation entitled “Welina Mānoa,” for UH Mānoa's New Teaching Assistant Orientation. This came at the request to initiate orientation week for the new TA's by first and foremost introducing them to the moʻolelo of Mānoa. I did this by presenting them with the oli "Welina Mānoa" written by Dr. Keawe Lopes of Kawaihuelani Center For Hawaiian Language. In the presentation I went through every line of the oli indicating its significance. This oli teaches us of some important geographical indicators of Mānoa like the Kuahine rain and the Haukani wind. It also teaches us of Mānoa's physical boundaries and the significance of the name Mānoa. The goal of this presentation was to first illuminate the overall significance of this oli in that it presents both kamaʻāina and malihini the opportunity to state our purpose and function here in this ʻāina. Another important point is that before UHM is an institution of higher education, Mānoa is first and foremost a place laden with geographical and historical significance. In closing I reminded the new TA’s that of all the kuleana we have at UHM, our first kuleana is to steward the place that takes care of us each day: Mānoa Valley.
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.
Aloha ʻĀina Fridays
Pua Souza
Spring 2020 Aloha ʻĀina Fridays Event Flyer

Our Aloha ʻĀina Fridays series engages the UHM community with the responsibilities we each have to this ʻāina and all it encompasses. It is comprised of 4 different parts including:

1st Fridays, 12:30-1:30pm: Aʻo aku, Aʻo mai Speaker Presentations

2nd Fridays 9:00-10:30am: Nā Moʻolelo o Mānoa: Campus Tours

3rd Fridays, 3:00-4:15pm: Moʻolelo aku, moʻolelo mai: Dialogue circles

4th Fridays, 3:30-4:30pm: Huli ka lima i lalo: Opportunity to mālama campus plants

Please join us for our Spring 2020 Aloha ʻĀina Fridays Series!
For details and to RSVP click: HERE
Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation
Paige Okamura
Excerpt from "Ka Weli o Hilo" article in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa

In my work at IHLRT, I'm extremely fortunate to be immersed in the writings of our kupuna on a daily basis. To see the world through their eyes during their lifetime really reminds us of how much things have changed, and how much has not. One of these things is the presence of our aliʻi during times of natural disaster and their ability to inspire their people in such stressful times. Here’s how David Keaweamahi describes his reaction to Princess Liliʻuokalani’s speech at Haili Church in Hilo during the eruption of 1881:
“The Princess Regent stood and read her handwritten speech, and during the royal speech, some of Her words resonated within me, to which I have given much thought. Her words will serve as a foundation for the increase of the nation and for the salvation of the country if her words are adopted and practiced by the high born, and the commoners, namely:  “Let the nation live in purity and honor the family.”

Source: “Ka Weli O Hilo.”  Ka Nupepa Kuokoa , 1881 August 20, page 2.
Education in Mānoa
Keahialaka Ioane
"History of Manoa School" Book Cover, 1952

Mānoa has deep roots in 'formal education.' A Legislature Act of August 10, 1854 initiated twelve English schools for kānaka across the islands, one of which was in Mānoa. Almost 100 years later in 1952, the History Committee of the Mānoa PTA for Mānoa Elementary School compiled a booklet of the history of the school for its centennial celebration. According to the research compiled in this book, 'formal schools' were established in Hawaiʻi by the chiefs as early as 1823. Over the next several weeks I will be exploring Mānoa Elementary's history booklet and will share what I learn with all of you so we can deepen our appreciation and understanding of the amazing history of Mānoa.

Source: History Committee of the Mānoa PTA (1952). “The History of Manoa School.” Unpublished manuscript. Hamilton Library Hawaiʻi Pacific Collection. Hawn LG961. M255A25. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
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.
Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program
Punihei Lipe
The Hawaiʻi leaders in Kuala Lumpur from left to right: Alec Wagner, Troy Andrade, Kealoha Fox, Kaiwipuni Lipe, Breanna Rose, Vehia Wheeler, Kaleo Manuel, Ben Trevino

When we think about community engagement with regards to the recommendations from the NH reports, the focus is primarily on further engagement with communities and community-based organizations in Hawai‘i. This story ends up there, but starts somewhere a little different and does what we might call a little ka‘apuni honua (world tour). 

In fall 2019 seven people from Hawai‘i were selected to join the  Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific Program . I was extremely honored to be one of those selected. My intention in applying: I was seeking connections with other people and organizations to help amplify our Native Hawaiian Place of Learning work with a focus on our Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation approach. 

While in Kuala Lumpur we were organized into teams of twelve people. Folks from my team include those from the Koreas, Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Aotearoa, Australia, and the Northern Mariana Islands. Their areas of leadership span from human rights policy work to using various art mediums for social justice to creating career opportunities for refugees to natural resource management to education. We check in once a month and utilize our areas of expertise to support each other's work. With regards to the Hawai‘i team, we are also in constant communication and planning on ways we can connect and amplify our collective work across our areas that span from education to health to natural resource management to entrepreneurship to sustainable transportation. I am committing here to report monthly on the ways I am engaging this expanded community to benefit our campus in our NHPoL and TRHT work. 
Kānaka Highlight Series
We envision UH Mānoa as a lamāku o ke aloha ‘āina: A leading light of aloha ‘āina for Hawai‘i and the world. In this series, we highlight some of UHM’s own kānaka scholars and shine light on their inspiring and innovative examples of aloha ‘āina across disciplines and communities.

Allyson Nuesca Franco
Hometown: Kailua, Oʻahu
High School: Kamehameha Schools Kapālama
UHM Degrees: BA in Hawaiian Studies, working on an MA in Educational Foundations
Current Occupation:   Outreach Coordinator at Native Hawaiian Student Services (NHSS)

What inspired/inspires the path for your academic major? 

My tūtū. When I graduated from with bachelor's degree in Hawaiian Studies, I always wondered why I went into Hawaiian Studies to learn our culture and language and continue to question why I am in the Educational Foundations program. My area of focus at the moment is exploring and understanding the history of Education in Hawaiʻi after the overthrow and how our education system shifted from what we implemented in the Hawaiian Kingdom to this American educational structure and the effects, if any, it had on Hawaiian identity. These ideas, I thought a few years back, were important for me to learn because of the stories my tūtū shared of her childhood, being raised in the era of transition from territory to Statehood where she knew there was a culture, language, and history to our people but never had the opportunity to learn it. These stories she shared of being raised at the beach with her dad, going to catch fish for their daily consumption, her love for education, and the sly implementation of American identity into her upbringing allowed me to question things I haven't explored myself in my own upbringing through education. So I would like to say tūtū and the moʻolelo she shared with me was what helped inspire my educational path in Hawaiian Studies, to get that initial taste of who we are as kānaka Hawaiʻi and our education system.

How did your academic major lead you to the work you are currently doing?

I think my academic major going into Hawaiian Studies, paired with my experience working with NHSS, helped me shape what I share to high school and transfer students as well as our community, whether that be the importance of education to sharing my knowledge of our culture and history. I think it is important to know what you want to share with our community because what we say shapes the minds of many. With my experience at NHSS, I knew I wanted to go into education because of the student engagement I am involved in and wanted to understand how I can better share what I have learned through curriculum or activities

We believe that at the heart of a Hawaiian place of learning is aloha ʻāina: the constant care for and reciprocation with Hawaiʻi’s people, places and practices.”  How do you see your time at UH shaping the way you aloha ʻāina?  

Being at UH and NHSS allows me to not only shape the way I aloha ʻāina, but it allows me to give those opportunities to students and community, whether they are visiting UHM or I go out to them. Being introduced to these different aloha ʻāina opportunities through going to archives, going to the loʻi, visiting different communities and the work they do has opened my mind and naʻau to understanding the ways we work in our communities, for our communities and can how that works collectively.

What are your future goals in your work? 

 I hope to be able to produce more opportunities, amongst the campus visits to UHM and NHSS to schools, for students to engage the university in a different way that will heighten their love for education and possibilities UH Mānoa has to offer.

What does UHM as a Hawaiian place of learning mean to you? 

To me, UHM as a Hawaiian Place of Learning means that the University understands their position as a University and where they are placed in Mānoa as well as understand the culture and history of who we are as Hawaiians and the importance of everything that encompasses us, while working with us in ways to better shape this place as a Hawaiian place of learning rather than just using the term.