Taupōuri Tangarō named director of Hawaiian culture and protocols engagement for UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi CC

Taupōuri Tangarō brings a wealth of cultural and educational experience to the position that will serve both campuses.

Taupōuri Tangarō
Taupōuri Tangarō

Taupōuri Tangarō, PhD, has been named director of Hawaiian culture and protocols engagement for the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, announced UH Hilo Chancellor Don Straney and Hawaiʻi CC Interim Chancellor Joni Onishi in a joint statement released today.

“The appointment of Dr. Tangarō to this important collaborative position shows the joint commitment of UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College to Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao, the systemwide plan for UH to become a model indigenous-serving institution,” says Straney in the statement.

Tangarō served on the UH System taskforce that developed the plan in 2012 and currently serves as a member of the systemwide Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao Committee.

“Dr. Tangarō is well qualified to advise the leadership of UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College on implementing our respective Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao plans and collaborating on goals and objectives that benefit both campuses,” says Onishi.

A bio rich in culture and collaboration

Tangarō received his bachelor of arts in Hawaiian studies from UH Hilo, his master in education from Heritage College at Toppenish, Washington state, and his doctor of philosophy in interdisciplinary studies from Union Institute and University, Ohio. He graduated as a hula instructor, with the title ʻŪniki Kumu Hula, from Hālau O Kekuhi in 2007. He is a professor of Hawaiian studies at Hawaiʻi CC and delivers the associate of arts degree in Hawaiian studies with a hula focus.

By using the hālau (formal Hawaiian education) foundation to teach the hula degree program, he established Unukupukupu, the hālau hula of Hawaiʻi CC, over ten years ago. Tangarō and Unukupkupu have performed worldwide including at the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC; the 2012 International Union for the Conservation of Nature Congress in Jeju, Korea; and at the World of Shadow Theatre in Stuttgart, Germany, this past December.

Above, Taupōuri Tangarō presents at the 2014 World Indigenous Peoples Conference on Education, held at Kapiʻolani Community College, May 19–24, 2014.

Tangarō serves as director of the Kauhale Academic Village, described as an ʻohana (family) of administrators, faculty, staff, students, their families, and the Hawaiʻi Island community that contributes measurably to the success of Hawai‘i CC’s mission and outcomes.

In collaborative initiatives between Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo, Tangarō is founder and director of the Unuolehua Academic Success via Kumu Hula Program, the Kīpaepae Hawaiʻi Protocols Committee, the Haʻakūmalae-Hawaiʻi Protocols Training, the Kūkūʻena Hula cohort of Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo to increase transfer students, and the Unuiti hula program to introduce K-12 grades to Hawai‘i CC and UH Hilo. He is co-founder and director of Hawaiʻi Pāmaomao Indigenous Exchange and Engagement Program, and co-founder and co-director of the Uluākea Indigenizing Academic Process and Services of UH Hilo with Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, director of Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center and interim vice chancellor for student affairs.

Tangarō received the Native Hawaiian Education Association Educator of the Year in 2013, the UH Board of Regents Excellence in Teaching Award in 2010, the UH Frances Davis Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching in 2010, and the UH Hilo Distinguished Service Award in 2006.

More about Prof. Tangarō

The soul of surfing and paddling: UH Hilo researcher explores the spiritual side of indigenous ocean sports.

Delegation from UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College visits Yap and Palau.

Group from UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College visits tribal colleges in Minnesota.

Unuolehua cohort of 11 becomes kumu hula.

UH Hilo and Hawai‘i CC to offer new collaborative course on hula.

Wahi Pana O Hilo: Educational tour of Hilo enjoyed by group from UH Hilo and Hawai‘i Community College.

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