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Predeparture Orientation Session #1

Before the group began the formal predeparture orientation, they started off with a lovely chant named A Luna Au o Maunaloa, a chant for Princess Ruth Keanolani Kanāhoahoa Keʻelikōlani, which the College of Hawaiian Language is named after. It is usually done as a hula kālāʻau, a dance with a pair of sticks struck together. This chant was used as a way for all the thought processes to align before delving into the learning.

Once everyone was seated, Kumu Kekoa Harman (right) briefed the haumāna on the predeparture meeting’s agenda for the day.  The two-hour session provided the students on the vision of the Nāaoloa Iāpana program and necessary requirements to be active participants of the program.  Each student introduced themselves to the larger group in spoken Hawaiian letting everyone know who they are, where their family originates from and what their goal is for participating in this program.

Kumu Pila Wilson (left) summarized the longstanding pilina, or relationship between Iāpana and Hawaiʻi.  Some highlights include the plantation workers brought here from Iāpana and Senator Inouye’s childhood spent with a Hawaiian family. Kumu Pila also shared how instrumental Senator Inouye was in establishing Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian language and supporting the rights of indigenous peoples in the U.S. by advocating for the 1988 Native Hawaiian Education Act and the 1990 Native American Languages Act.


Uʻilani Chong (third from left), or ʻAnakē Uʻi as she is referred to her by her classmates, lead a discussion about Hawaiian identity and what it means to embody Hawaiian culture with her group.  It is important for each of the participants to be grounded in who they are before they take on the world.  Other members of ʻAnakē Uʻi’s group are Alohilani Maiva, Uilani Ige and Kawehi Lopez.


Malu Dudoit (third from left), an alakaʻi, brought up the four cornerstones for the philosophy at Ka Haka ʻUla: language, traditional knowledge, spirituality, and behavior.  Members of Malu’s group are Eric Taaca, Abcde Zoller, Ashley Martin-Kalamau, and Pomaikai Iaea.  Each alakaʻi was assigned one of the four cornerstones which they will work with their groups in preparing for a presentation at the third predeparture session.

Closing just as they opened, in song, they all practiced a modern hula for King David Kalākaua, a pivotal character in the revitalization of the Hawaiian performing arts.  All of this information only made the group more excited about the next step!

Published in Predeparture