Statistics show Native Hawaiians remain among the hardest hit ethnicities impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic in Hawaiʻi. Ongoing concerns about the health and well-being of Native Hawaiian students, faculty and staff at the University of Hawaiʻi reignited Indigenous education work committee Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao (HPOKA) to bring back a cultural webinar series to help foster Indigenous well-being.

In October 2020, HPOKA created a bi-monthly virtual series called He Ukana Aloha Kā Kīlauea, showcasing music, dance and storytelling hosted by sources from across UH’s 10 campuses. This year, the series will celebrate accomplishments of regional aliʻi (royalty) through historical accounts, stories and songs.

King David Kalākaua and King Kamehameha V

“We want them to learn from our Hawaiian history and how our aliʻi addressed the social, economic and health needs of the Hawaiian nation, such as Kamehameha V for whom the series is named after and how he freighted up the Kīlauea steamer in 1868 to deliver supplies, medicine and food to communities on Molokaʻi due to the collapse of resources on the island and the destructive volcanic activity of Maunaloa on Hawaiʻi Island,” said Gail Mililani Makuakāne-Lundin, HPOKA director. “Liliʻuokalani helped stop the spread of smallpox by imposing a strict quarantine in 1881, and Queen Kapiʻolani acted upon her concern for the welfare of Hawaiʻi’s mothers and babies by raising funds in 1890 to establish what we know today as the Kapiʻolani Medical Center for Women and Children. King William Lunalilo’s legacy is Lunalilo Home which honors and protects the well-being of Hawaiian kūpuna.”

On Wednesday, September 29 at noon, the yearlong series will return featuring Nalani Balutski, a UH Mānoa research and assessment specialist at Hawaiʻinuākea and Native Hawaiian Student Services. Balutski will present about King David Kalākaua and the Hawaiian Youths Abroad Program which retraces the path of 18 Hawaiian youth who were personally selected by the king to be part of an educational diplomatic program designed to train future leaders for Hawaiʻi in areas of engineering, medicine, art, music, military science and foreign languages in six countries around the world. (Zoom link, password: ukana2)

Each campus will have the opportunity to present through June 2022.

  • September 29 (UH Mānoa)
  • October 13 (Windward Community College)
  • November 10 (Kapiʻolani CC)
  • December 8 (UH Maui College)
  • January 12 (Kauaʻi CC)
  • February 9 (UH Hilo)
  • March 9 (Honolulu CC)
  • April 13 (Leeward CC)
  • May 11 (UH West Oʻahu)
  • June 8 (Hawaiʻi CC)

In January 2012, HPOKA set goals and objectives to address the higher education needs of Native Hawaiians through three pathways; leadership development, community engagement and Hawaiian language and cultural parity.

For more information, go to the He Ukana Aloha Kā Kīlauea website.