Category Archives: ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola

‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola Features Individual Talents

‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola has been interviewing many native Hawaiian individuals recently and their accomplishments in relation to the Hawaiian language and culture. Their project is called “11 for 2011” in which they speak with ambitious members of the native Hawaiian community and show they talent and dreams for the future.

One of my favorite individuals to listen to was Ezekiel Lau who is a senior at Kamehameha Schools and talked about his passion as a surfer and his plans about making it to the top of the junior surfing world. To learn more about Lau here is his website http://www.ezekiellau.com/

Another interesting story is about a young native of Hawaii, Kealoha HawaiiSlam as he likes to call himself. Kealoha shares his passion with slam poetry, as he believes that it is the perfect combination of thinking, writing, and theater. What I found interesting about Kealoha is that he graduated from the Massachussets Institute of Technology with a nuclear engineering degree but now is devoting his time to slam poetry because it’s his passion.

Here is his website: http://www.kealohapoetry.com/

I also enjoyed ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola’s story on Ka’iulani Murphy who is an educator for the Polynesian Voyaging Society.  Murphy talks about her experiences on one of Hawaii’s famous voyages, Hokule’a and her future plans in relation to voyaging.

Another interesting story that I enjoyed is on Kamu Kapoi, a local boy born in Waianae, O’ahu who works for the Makaha Studios  Hawaii’s young digital storyteller media services business and is also captain of Wa’a E ALA – Kekoa O Wai’anae. He shares his adventures and love for film and voyaging.

For more interviews on individuals please Visit ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola’s website.

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The 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival

Next week from April 24th through the 30th the 47th Annual Merrie Monarch Hula Festival is coming back to Hilo, Hawai’i again. I’m sure everyone in Hawai’i is familiar with the Merrie Monarch Festival but if you aren’t it is week-long cultural festival that honors King David Kalakaua.

Kalakaua was credited with restoring many Hawaiian cultural traditions during his reign, including the Hula (Hawaiian dance). The Merrie Monarch is the biggest Hula competition in the world.

Many Halau Hula (Hula Groups) who attend the competition come from all over the world including the U.S. mainland, Japan, and other Polynesian countries such as Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, Samoa, Tonga, etc.

Besides the Hula competition itself there are craft fairs, art shows, hula shows, and a grand parade through Hilo town.

The Merrie Monarch has seven Hula competitions, the Kane Overall (Best out of the men), Wahine Overall (Best out of the Women), the Kane Kahiko (Mens Traditional Hawaiian), Wahine Kahiko (Womens Traditional Hawaiian), the Kane ‘Auana (Mens Modern Hawaiian), Wahine ‘Auana (Womens Modern Hawaiian), and Miss Aloha Hula, which as an individual competition amongst the best women dancers.

My favorite competition to watch every year is the Miss Aloha Hula competition because it shows individual talent amongst the best women dancers. Last year my friend Kapua Desa got second place for Miss Aloha Hula and I would like to share her amazing Hula Kahiko performance.

Here is sneak-preview of the Merrie Monarch Festival competitors as they prepare themselves. Brought to you by  ‘Ahai ‘Olelo Ola

Ka Leo ‘Oiwi – New Hawaiian Language Sitcom

A brief background of ‘Aha Punana Leo the Hawaiian Language Program that was founded in 1983 with a dream that the Hawaiian language during that time on the edge of extinction might survive for future generations is the foundation of Hawaiian immersion education, having a few elders and less than fifty children under the age of eighteen at the time being fluent in Hawaiian.

A little over a year ago, ‘Aha Punana Leo has applied and successfully received a grant from the Administration for Native Americans (ANA) which is an organization that promotes the goal of self-sufficiency and cultural preservation of American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, and other Native Pacific Islanders organizations. It was a 2.1 million dollar grant in which ‘Aha Punana Leo created three projects and Ka Leo ‘Oiwi was one of them.

‘Oiwi TV is the first and only Native Hawaiian television station that offers programming from timely news, documentaries, children’s programming, and Hawaiian language instruction with a mission to strengthen the Hawaiian identity and normalize the Hawaiian perspective through mainstream media.

Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is one of the projects funded by the ANA grant used by ‘Aha Punana Leo and broadcasted through the ‘Oiwi TV network. Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is basically a new sitcom that teaches Hawaiian language in a social setting that may seem informal but very informative by teaching the Hawaiian language.

Throughout this first year of the grant, Ka Leo ‘Oiwi has created thirteen episodes and they will be launching their first episode in the next month. This sitcom involves three characters who are young native Hawaiian speakers who live in a beach house and the episodes will include everyday conversations, such as cooking and hanging out with friends. Within these regular conversations, the characters will incorporate Hawaiian language in everything they do in order to slowly teach viewers Hawaiian.

When I was in elementary I remember I used to watch a Hawaiian language sitcom that only lasted for two years that was called Kulaiwi that had a grandmother that speaks Native Hawaiian that would write lessons on the board and teach Hawaiian language. In my opinion, Ka Leo ‘Oiwi is a better way for people to adapt to because there are young actors and the situations will be easier for the new generation to understand with these fresh ideas.

Hawaiian activism expressed through music and its messages

In the beginning of March I believe that ‘Aha’i ‘Olelo Ola the Hawaiian language news program that covers issues, people, and events from a uniquely Hawaiian perspective conducted one of their best stories yet. The story focused on Hawaiian activism through music and its messages and here is the actual news program  All genres of music in general play a uniquely important role in people’s lives because of the messages they have to offer. This story included a pair of various Hawaiian musicians whose music involves the pulse of the Hawaiian activism movement.

If you are not familiar with the History of Hawai’i before it was a state you should know that in the late 19th century through the early 20th century the kingdom of Hawaii was overthrown by the United States. At first, the U.S. made many strict laws such as banning the Hawaiian language and cultural practices, but now they have changed drastically, but there are still strong Hawaiian activist that are fighting for the freedom of Hawaii as if it was their own country.

The story started by introducing Jon Osorio a Hawaiian musician famous during the 1980’s for composing music that created deep messages focusing on the activism in Hawaii trying to create social change. One of Osorio’s famous songs entitles, “Hawaiian Soul” talks about the issue regarding the island of Kaho’olawe that was taken under the U.S. Navy in the fifties and how the Hawaiian community feels that it is an injustice for the Navy to just leave the island dirty and useless.

Osorio mentioned that nowadays people are saying that there is not enough meaningful music related to Hawaiian activism in the music industry, but Osorio disagrees pointing out Sudden Rush a group of Hawaiian rappers that write and perform songs promoting a conscious awareness for Hawaiian rights. According to Osorio, “The Hawaiian activism is about reclaiming the language.” Growing up with Hawaiian being my first language and being extremely immersed in the culture, I believe that a lot of local Hawaiian music consists of messages related to Hawaiian activism issues and injustices and how we as a Native Hawaiians can better these issues.

Here is a music video of a song entitled “EA” which means sovereighty and independence written and composed by Sudden Rush and is one of my favorite songs by them: