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Kumu Taupōuri Tangarō

The mele (song) “Holo Mai Pele Mai Kahikina” (describing the journey of Pele from Kahiki) reverberated throughout the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa campus during a free workshop held on April 2. Kumu Taupōuri Tangarō from Hawaiʻi Community College taught students, faculty, staff and community members the hula kiʻi and oli (chant) “Holo Mai Pele,” strengthening the connection between the community and Hawaiian culture.

The workshop was offered as a part of Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao’s He Ukana Aloha Kā Kīlauea series, launched during the 2021–2022 school year as an online webinar. It acknowledges and celebrates the leadership accomplishments of regional aliʻi through historical accounts, stories and songs from the 10 UH campuses. (Archived videos)

“I really liked that [Tangarō] said this hula helps us to energize ourselves because we have to excite our body to activate this hula,” said Maylyn Magno-Gomes, an attendee from the community. “I thought what a great way to also live; to remember to energize ourselves. To show up. To activate.”

More than 300 people of various backgrounds registered for the event, demonstrating clear interest from the UH Mānoa campus and communities in building pilina (relationships, connections) with Hawaiian culture.

This workshop series serves “to demonstrate that our ancient myths, like those of Pele and Hiʻiaka, can speak to the development of personal and collective vision, mission and imperatives, and that it can even address equity, wellbeing and leadership,” added Tangarō. “This is deeply rewarding for me and for those I serve. Higher education cannot just be about leaving one’s community to enter a university campus. It also means to take the university services into the community.”

Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Punihei Lipe, director of UH Mānoa’s Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office (NHPoLAO), coordinated with Tangarō to host the workshops at UH Mānoa and an NHPoLAO community organization partner, Kinai ʻEha.

All participants said by learning the hula they gained new or additional perspectives and connections with themselves, another person, their ancestors and/or ʻāina (land) and would also recommend these types of workshops to others.

Sign up online to learn more about future Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office events.

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