Kauhale Message


Back Row, left to right: Ryan McCormack (Hawai‘i CC First Year Experience Coordinator), Stacey Kaʻauʻa (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, Business Owner), Jacqueline Uluwehi Van Blarcom (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, Haʻakūmalae Assistant), Kainoa Ariola (UH Hilo Director of Advising), Gloria Pualani Muraki (retired bookkeeper) Front Row, left to right: Wahineʻaukai Mercado (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate and Nursing graduate), Poliahu Naboa (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, UH Hilo Philosophy graduate, mother of two), Pele Kaʻio (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, UH Hilo Geography graduate, Hawai‘i Life Styles lecturer), Noʻel Tagab-Cruz (Hawai‘i Life Styles Program Kūkulukuluua APT support), Kehani Tejada (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, UH Hilo History major, mother of one), Kāhealani Wilcox (Hawai‘i CC Hula track graduate, UH Hilo Hawaiian Language Major).

Starting in 2005 a cohort of Hawai‘i Community College graduates with A.A.S. degrees in Hula and several UH System employees who took Hula courses for professional development were selected to train in Hula as a cultural tool for 21st century academic-cultural leadership. The name UNUOLEHUA was given to this entity.

The group was selected based on extraordinary cultural proficiency and based on their status as active students at Hawai‘i CC or UH Hilo, or as employees in the UH system. This was to ensure that the culture would not be separated from academics, which is sometimes the natural preference. They were to become kumuhula rooted in culture and academics.

UNUOLEHUA served Hawai‘i CC, the University of Hawai‘i system, the state of Hawaiʻi, and the United States of America at state, national, and international platforms as cultural envoys of Hawaiʻi. They have travelled to and exchanged extensively with other indigenous communities of the Pacific, Asia, Malaysia and North America. They have experienced for themselves the role indigenous culture can play in building healthy communities beyond their immediate local. They have learned that through Hula one is able to access the greatest concerns of life and wellbeing, doing so through a merger of culture and academics. In these 11 graduates live our three Institutional Learning Outcomes, which are:

  • Our graduates will be able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations.
  • Our graduates will be able to gather, evaluate and analyze ideas and information to use in overcoming challenges, solving problems and making decisions.
  • Our graduates will develop the knowledge, skills and values to make contributions to our community in a manner that respects diversity and Hawaiian culture.

On December 19th, 2014 on the eve of the Winter Solstice, UNUOLEHUA went through an ancient ceremony of transformation called ʻŪNIKI. In validation of their promotion to kumuhula, 24 kumuhula from around the state, continental America and Japan were present at the ceremony. In addition, their immediate families and supporters were there. To validate their protocols-leadership service to the college, current Hawai‘i CC Chancellor Noreen Yamane and former Hawai‘i CC Chancellor Rockne Freitas, who is currently the Chancellor of UH – West Oʻahu, attended the ceremony.

I invite you to have a chat with them, to inquire into their experience. Whenever the experience is authentic, therein lies an intriguing story.

Celebrate with our Kauhale, for out of our Kauhale come 11 kumuhula who have experienced the profound balance of culture and academics and proffer up this experience to the wellbeing of our community.

Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, Kauhale Acting Director

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