For the past three years we have been building our Kauhale at Hawaii Community College, creating an academic village that is rooted in Hawaii’s unique cultural traditions.
As we continue traveling on this path, we are starting to share what we have built at our college with the outside world, and we are rapidly becoming a model for how to deliver Western academics within an indigenous cultural context.
In October, it was the Accreditation Visiting Team that praised the spirit of Kauhale we have established.
On November 21, we were honored to receive two visitors from New Zealand, Sarah Williams and Eraia Kiel, who came from afar to gather information about how to integrate academics and indigenous culture in their part of the world.
The two guests were welcomed with a kipaepae ceremony, they visited Hawai’i Life Styles courses and gardens, and they met with Hawai’i Life Styles coordinators and myself to look into how the department balances deep culture (verses topical) and academics.
In the evening, they visited my UNUOLEHUA Leader Mentorship Program and experienced how hula is used to inform leadership, personal and collective decisions, and how it underpins personal transformation for academic success.
Williams sent us a letter — which she allowed us to publish — and it does an excellent job telling the story of how they came to visit HawCC and their reactions to the experience.
To whom it may concern:
My name is Sarah Williams. I am the Director of Team One Corporate Development Limited, a training and consultancy company in Aotearoa.
Last year we were engaged by Te Puni Kōkiri, the Māori Advisory Agency for the New Zealand government, to undertake a worldwide benchmarking exercise for primary sector training. This involved research training initiatives in Agriculture, Horticulture, Forestry, Aquaculture and Dairy and benchmarking them based on certain criteria.
The Hawaiian Community College in Hilo rated highly in this research in the area of Agriculture. Of particular interest to us was the way the programme interwove the native culture into all areas of learning and pedagogy. The integration of culture and modern-day education was an area we wished to develop in Aotearoa.
As part of my recommendations I advised Te Puni Kōkiri they should further their understanding of the Hawaiian Community College model. This year Team One was engaged by Te Puni Kōkiri to further our knowledge and understanding of worldwide community based indigenous learning models. The Hawaiian Community College in Hilo was identified as a top priority in this project.
Now, as I conclude my first visit to the Hilo campus, I can confirm that our research and instincts have been correct. The education model used at the campus is without doubt world class. This model represents what is currently missing in many of our education institutes and should be the basis for all worldwide education models in the future.
Sarah Williams, CEO and Director
As you can see, what we are developing here at Hawaii Community College in terms of weaving Hawaiian culture into campus life and the curriculum is not meant to serve just our island or state, though that’s certainly the focus. It’s a template that can be used around the world to help all those who have traditionally struggled to succeed in academic settings. Our little college is leading the way.
People WILL come because of our Aloha!
Taupouri Tangaro, Acting Kauhale Director