Category Archives: Features

Featured articles

Pacific Islander Tuition Funding at UHM

At the end of spring semester 2014, UHM Chancellor Tom Apple and Vice Chancellor for Students Francisco Hernandez provided funding to meet tuition differential of 50% for Pacific Islander students at UH Mānoa, thus bringing fees to the equivalent of resident tuition. By completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), Pacific Islander students are automatically awarded the funding. Last semester, Dr Tina Tauasosi-Posiulai, Dr Lola Quan Bautista, and Dr Lufata Simanu-Klutz led an initiative with UHM Pacific Islander students to bring attention to the tuition differential.

Hawaiʻi Specialist Librarian Kapena Shim

Kapena Shim was born in Honolulu and raised in Southern California. After high school, Kapena returned to Hawaiʻi to study at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where he began a journey of connecting with the stories of his ancestors. These stories are a grounding source of inspiration and transformation for his work as a librarian. He believes libraries are lifelines for our communities because the rich cultural repositories of ʻike (knowledge) can empower Hawaiʻi’s youth and families. In 2010, he completed concurrent bachelor’s degrees in Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language and a Master’s of Science degree in library and information science in 2013.

Shim_Picture (1)

The Hawaiʻi Specialist Librarian position became vacant in January 2012 with the retirement of longtime Hawaiian Collection curator Joan Hori. Kapena will join librarians Dore Minatodani and Jodie Mattos in the Hawaiian Collection, where his job duties will include collection development and management, library instruction, and reference. CPIS MA candidate Kealiʻi MacKenzie also continues to work in the Hawaiian and Pacific Collections as a reference librarian.

Baninnur: A Basket of Food

In collaboration with blackmail press in Auckland, the Center for Pacific Islands Studies recently published Baninnur: A Basket of Food, a special issue of the online poetry journal. The collection of creative works was guest edited by recent CPIS MA graduate Kathy Jetnil-Kijner and copyedited by CPIS GA Candi Steiner, this project was instigated and coordinated by CPIS Outreach Director Katherine Higgins. The special issue is available at

Making Micronesia: A Political Biography of Tosiwo Nakayama

Making Micronesia: A Political Biography of Tosiwo Nakayama, by CPIS affiliate faculty member David Hanlon (chair of the UHM History Department), is a biography of Tosiwo Nakayama, the first president of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Nakayama was born to a Japanese father and an Chuukese woman in 1931 on  Piserach, part of an atoll northwest of the main Chuuk Lagoon group. He grew up during Japan’s colonial administration of Micronesia and the US-administered Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands. Nakayama studied at the University of Hawai‘i and in 1958 returned to Chuuk, where he quickly advanced through a series of administrative positions before winning election to the House of Delegates (later Senate) of the Congress of Micronesia. He served as its president from 1965 to1967 and again from 1973 to 1978. Nakayama was in the center of complex negotiations for FSM from local engagements wtih the US colonial presence to the creation of a nation-state against a fornidable array of local and external forces. Throughout the political story, Hanlon shares the remarkable story of the physical, political, and cultural distances that Nakayama negotiated. See Publications for more information.


Ancestral Places: Understanding Kanaka Geographies

Ancestral Places: Understanding Kanaka Geographies, by CPIS affiliate faculty member Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Oliviera (Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language), provides examples of how Kānaka utilize cartographic performances to map ancestral places and retain moʻolelo (historical accounts). In this book, Kapa offers a new framework in Kanaka epistemology and explores connections between Kānaka with their environment, tracing how moʻolelo and ʻāina inform a Kanaka sense of place. See Publications for more information.

The Art of Excavation

The Art of Excavation book cover

Leilani Tamu, the 9th Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Pacific Writer in Residence, recently published The Art of Excavation, which was one of her writing projects during her 2013 residency at the center. This book of poems uses the creative metaphor of excavation for reframing and retelling Pacific stories from her perspective. Leilani draws from her experiences as a mother, historian, former New Zealand diplomat, and columnist to delve into the complexities of the Pacific region. For more infomation, see Publications.

UHM-ANU Memorandum

In June, UHM Chancellor Tom Apple visited the Australian National University (ANU) and signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between ANU and UHM. The MOU enables programs for student exchanges and opens the way for research collaboration between the two universities, with potential collaboration between their respective libraries. The MOU was initiated by ANU faculty Dr Katerina Teaiwa (who is the Pacific Studies Convenor and a CPIS alum), Professor Margaret Jolly, and Nicholas Mortimer, with support from the Center for Pacific Islands Studies and the School of Pacific and Asian Studies.
Dr Teaiwa said, “This formalization of cooperation between two internationally renowned centers of Pacific research will help inspire students to imagine a future dedicated to engaging Oceania.
In November 2014, Dr Teaiwa will bring fifteen undergraduate and three graduate students to UH Mānoa for a Pacific Islands field school. The students will collaborate with students and staff at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies in areas of arts, heritage, and social issues.

Special Issue! The Contemporary Pacific (26:2)

Screen Shot 2014-08-18 at 12.48.39 PM


A special issue of The Contemporary Pacific (26:2), titled Global Sport in the Pacific, is forthcoming this semester. It is guest edited by CPIS affiliate faculty member Faʻanofo (Lisa) Uperesa (UHM Ethnic Studies and Sociology) and Tom Mountjoy (University of Bergen). This issue features a series of photographs by Greg Semu. Articles include:

Continue reading

CPIS Welcomes New Affiliate Faculty Members

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is delighted to announce that Laufata “Fata” Simanu-Klutz (CPIS MA, 2001) and Alice Te Punga Somerville have joined the Pacific Islands Studies affiliate instructional faculty. Courses taught by affiliate faculty are part of the center’s instructional program, and affiliate faculty serve on student committees and the center’s editorial boards. Continue reading

Woven Words: Reflections on My Time at UH Mānoa

By Leilani Tamu, 2013 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence
They say that every journey begins with a first step. But in my experience, every journey begins with a connection. When I think about my three months at UH Mānoa as the 2013 Fulbright-Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence, it is the connections that were made, nurtured, and treasured that stand out as the highlight of my time in Hawaiʻi. Woven together, relationships bind Pacific people across oceans of perceived distance, and in coming to Mānoa I am confident that, despite my now being back in Aotearoa, that bond is one that will last a lifetime. Continue reading

Pacific Islands Monograph Series

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is pleased to announce the publication of two new volumes in its Pacific Islands Monograph Series (PIMS)—Colonialism, Maasina Rule, and the Origins of Malaita Kastom by David Akin (University of Michigan) and Kanak Awakening: The Rise of Nationalism in New Caledonia by David Chappell, UHM History Department and CPIS affiliate faculty. Continue reading

Capturing Waves of Change

In November, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner (CPIS MA student) and Leonard Leon (Academy for Creative Media BA student and Marshallese instructor) conducted a weeklong workshop on creative expression. “Capturing Waves of Change” encouraged youth from the Pālolo Homes community to tell their stories through photography and poetry at the Pālolo Ohana Learning Center with funding from the UHM Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED). Continue reading

Pacific Islands Women in Leadership Program

The East-West Center launched their new Pacific Islands Women in Leadership program (WIL) this past November. This initiative is the result of the Rarotonga Partnership between the United States, New Zealand, and Australia for the advancement of Pacific Island women. The first cohort—including ten participants from Fiji, Kiribati, the Federated States of Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Sāmoa, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu—came to the East-West Center for a 3-week intensive leadership program.
Continue reading

Outreach Events

Tok Stori
The center’s monthly Tok Stori series “Employing Pacific Studies” invites alumni and current students to discuss how they use Pacific studies. “Employing Pacific Studies” began on 13 September with alumni Senator J Kalani English (CPIS MA, 1995) and Scott Kroeker (CPIS MA, 1999), in a session chaired by Tarcisius Kabutaulaka. The panelists recounted their experiences as Pacific studies graduate students, shared the ways that they have used their Pacific studies degrees in their careers, and also discussed other career options for Pacific studies degrees. The seminar was followed by a welcome reception for incoming BA students.
Tok Stori aug
Continue reading


The Center for Pacific Islands Studies (CPIS) recently hosted an international conference on climate change that brought together policy makers, academics, community workers, and students from Hawai‘i and a number of Pacific Island countries. The conference, titled “Waves of Change: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands and Implications for Hawaiʻi,” was held at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge on the University of Hawaiʻi–Mānoa campus  4–6 April 2013.  In addition to the center’s faculty members, the conference advisory committee included Jerry Finin and Melissa Finucane (East-West Center), Ulla Hassager (Ethnic Studies Department), Joakim Peter (College of Education), Maxine Burkett (Richardson School of Law), and Joshua Cooper (UH West Oʻahu). Several pre-conference programs were designed to initiate discussions around climate-change issues that were explored in more depth during the conference. A seminar and film series included a range of faculty members, students, activists, researchers, and community members.
Students from Kaimukī High School’s (KHS) Imua Program participated in a curriculum to prepare for the conference. Their participation was academic and practical and is described in a separate article by Jocelyn Howard. The curriculum was created and taught by community leaders and faculty and students from the  UH Mānoa and KHS under the leadership of Nelson Ikaika Fernandez (Pālolo Science Discovery Center), James Skouge and Joakim Peter (UHM College of Education), Leslie Harada and Lisa Shimokawa (STEM and Imua, KHS), Lola Quan Bautista, and Ulla Hasager. In addition to the academic and media-learning outcomes, the high school participation helped to strengthen relationships among Pacific Islander youth groups.
Minister Tony de Brum, Senator J Kalani English, and Tarcisius Kabutaulaka with Kaimukī High School students at the keynote address, photo by Leonard Leon.
The conference began with a keynote address by the Honorable Tony de Brum, Minister and Assistant to the President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Minister de Brum highlighted the need for global action to address climate change, especially by the “earth’s polluters.” He said that small island nations like the Marshall Islands have done their part to combat climate change, often in ways “disproportionate to their size, population, their financial capabilities, or their economic status.” The remaining two days of featured speakers and panels focused on issues such as the potential for climate change–related migrations and the implications for metropolitan centers like Hawaiʻi, community responses to climate change, climate change and indigenous knowledge, and the legal issues surrounding climate change, particularly related to human rights. Topics by featured speakers included an overview of significant climate change issues by Noah Idechong, discussion of policy issues by Ambassador Asterio Takesy, implications of migration by John Campbell, and an example of a community toolkit by Willy Kostka. Panelists presented a diverse range of research and personal experiences from Pohnpei, Chuuk, Guam, Fiji, Hawaiʻi, and beyond. The KHS students attended all of the conference events and had personal interactions with many of the conference speakers and participants during interview sessions. The students’ interviews with conference participants will be made available online as part of an attempt to create awareness about climate change in high schools in Hawaiʻi. Participants celebrated the conclusion of the conference with an inspiring evening of poetry, music, and food organized by Craig Santos Perez and Brandy Nālani McDougall (UHM English Department) with performances by several CPIS students.
The conference initiated important discussions that the center hopes to continue through future programs, including a course with a focus on climate change in fall 2013. The working idea is that the course will culminate with students participating at an international conference on climate change or working with communities.
The center is grateful for the generosity and support of the conference sponsors, including the Pacific Islands Development Program at the East-West Center, the Office of Hawaiʻi State Senator J Kalani English, ʻŌlelo Community Media; UH Mānoa’s School of Pacific and Asian Studies, Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, Ethnic Studies Department, College of Social Sciences, and Office of Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity (SEED); and Joe Nalo and Art Stret Gallery for providing the conference artwork Save the Sinking Art & Culture (2012). ʻŌlelo Community Media filmed the conference proceedings and has made the keynote address available online at Announcements about online access to the other conference sessions and the Kaimukī High School interviews will be posted on the CPIS website and Facebook page.


By Candi Steiner, Ethnomusicology PhD Student and CPIS Graduate Assistant
On 4 April 2013, CPIS graduate assistants Jesi Lujan Bennet, Jocelyn Howard, Kelea Levy, and Candi Steiner, with the help of CPIS faculty and staff, hosted “Oceania Rises,” the center’s first student conference. The event, open to both undergraduate and graduate students, was designed to foster multicultural, pan-Pacific unity that privileges Pacific Islander voices; to raise awareness of Pacific Island cultures on the UH Mānoa campus; and to promote new ways of “doing academia” that build on interdisciplinary approaches to research. Themes included empowerment, self-expression, and academic innovation.
Turnout was excellent for all of the event’s panels, which included art displays, poetry readings, and paper presentations on various Pacific Islands–related topics. As a special treat, Dr Lola Quan Bautista’s PACS 603 students presented on their capstone research progress, offering the community a glimpse of the kinds of projects that CPIS students undertake in the MA program. The organizing team would again like to thank everyone who made this successful event possible. The conference program is still available for viewing online at the conference’s Facebook page:

“Waves of Change: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands and Implications for Hawai‘i”

The Center for Pacific Islands Studies is pleased to announce its 2013 conference, “Waves of Change: Climate Change in the Pacific Islands and Implications for Hawai‘i.” The two-and-a-half-day conference, 4–6 April 2013, which will be held at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa (UHM), will explore environmental, social, cultural, political, and economic impacts of climate change in the Pacific Islands. Continue reading

“Oceania Rises”

“Oceania Rises” is an event organized by CPIS students and staff. The purpose of the event is to help foster multicultural and pan-Pacific unity, while privileging Pacific Islander voices. ”Oceania Rises” will help to promote awareness of Pacific cultures and new approaches to academia that build on interdisciplinary approaches to research. Continue reading

Watada Lecture by Teresia Teaiwa

The Church of the Crossroads, Honolulu, invited Teresia Teaiwa to present the 2012 Watada Lecture in November. Dr Teaiwa, Senior Lecturer of Pacific Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, Aotearoa/New Zealand, was asked to address the issue of militarism in the Pacific, which is the theme of the 2012 lecture series. Continue reading