The pledge was originally created in English, grounded in local culture with a few key Hawaiian language words and concepts.

A group of faculty, staff, students and alumni from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo brought home a silver award from the 43rd annual Telly Awards for a public awareness video that encourages safe, responsible and respectful tourism. The video, featured in both ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language) and translated into English is a visual expression of the Pono Pledge, a creed of respect asked of visitors to Hawaiʻi Island, which is part of a campaign the Island of Hawaiʻi Visitors Bureau launched in 2018.

The award-winning submission spotlights various members of the UH Hilo ʻohana highlighting critical safety protocols related to everything from flash flooding, unpredictable ocean conditions to leaving lava rocks untouched.

Pono Pledge film still

“The Pono Pledge is geared to bring awareness to both visitors and locals on the idea of what it means to be pono while here on the island, while emphasizing both safety precautions as well as respect for the environment and local culture,” said Tracey Niimi, a student support specialist at UH Hilo’s Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy who directed, filmed and edited the video.

Lito Arkangel, a Hawaiian studies and music lecturer at UH Hilo Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language devised the video concept that illuminates ʻōlelo noʻeau or traditional Hawaiian proverbs specific to Hawaiʻi island. Arkangel helped weave the project together; from writing, translating, producing and coordinating key people and locations to film at. UH Hilo alumnus Bruce Torres Fischer, an experienced producer and sound engineer, also wrote and translated for the project.

“The impact on people that have viewed the video has been so good that after joking that Hawaiian Airlines should use the video, the airline is now actually playing the video for all incoming mainland and international flights,” said Arkangel.

Good company

The video won the Online General-Public Interest/Awareness category at the Telly Awards, a category that recognizes branded content promoting public interest issues and activism. Others awarded in the category include submissions by Comcast, NBC News/MSNBC, CBS News 60 Minutes and the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

For more go to UH Hilo Stories.