Visit to Mauna a Wākea and Pu`uhonua Pu`uhuluhulu

Associate Professor of Social Work, Dr. Peter Mataira, recently traveled to Mauna a Wākea as part of his ongoing work on community sustainability and the advancement of indigenous place-based education. Dr. Mataira was accompanied by Dr. Peter Hanohano, Executive Director of the World Indigenous Nations University - Hawai`i Pasifika (WINU-HP) and Vice-Chancellor of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortia (WINHEC), along with visiting Professor Jolan Hiesh, from the National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. The trip was an opportunity to gain first-hand understanding of the significance of the mountain's sacredness, the intergenerational transference of cultural practices, the importance of Kapu Aloha as a framework for reconciliation, and to learn about the impact of the TMT on sovereign rights. 

Since the arrest of several kupuna, July 17 on the access road, the trauma and despair mobilized local, national, and international support and solidarity for the kia`i (the Protectors). The establishment of Pu`uhuluhulu University, a medic center, Na Leo Support Services, and other amenities including a kitchen and recycling center, according to Dr. Hanohano, show just how sophisticated native communities are, as they build from the sacred foundations of their cultures. The visit was memorable in two ways; first, to witness the Aloha and resolve of Kanaka Maoli to seek justice, and second, to be in the presence of a majestic mountain whose life-force transcends our very existence. 

Pictured above from left to right: Shadrach Hanohano and partner Leilani Fagner with daughter Meleana Hanohano (front); Dr. Peter Hanohano (WINU-HP); Peter Mataira, School of Social Work, Hawai`i Pacific University; Mahealani Ahia, Coordinator of Pu`uhuluhulu University and UH Manoa doctoral student; and Dr. Joal Hiesh, visiting Professor, National Dong Hwa University, Taiwan. 

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