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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA sponsored symposium gives audiences rare peek at Papahānaumokuākea

HILO — On August 5th, audiences in Hilo, Hawaiʻi heard directly from researchers, cultural practitioners and community members who have had the rare opportunity to experience the remote Northwestern Hawaiian islands first-hand. At the all-day symposium, sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Management Board (MMB), presenters talked about Papahānaumokuākea’s rich natural and cultural resources, as well as the work being done to strengthen ancestral ties to the kūpuna islands.

“It is our hope that events like this will increase the number of people that have the opportunity to connect with Papahānaumokuākea and increase the overall awareness and appreciation for this special place,” said OHA Ka Pouhana and CEO Kamanaʻopono Crabbe.

Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument lies hundreds of miles to the northwest of the main Hawaiian Islands. It is an area of rich biodiversity that encompasses 10 islands stretching from Nihoa in the east to Hōlanikū in the west. Encompassing nearly 140,000 square miles, Papahānaumokuākea is one of the largest marine conservation areas in the world.

“More and more people are learning that our archipelago doesnʻt end at Niʻihau or Lehua, but actually continues another 1,200 miles through what is now Papahānaumokuākea to Hōlanikū (Kure Atoll),” said Keola Lindsey, OHA Papahānaumokuākea Manager who is currently serving as the MMB Chair. “So every presentation and every chance we have to share what is going on, increases public awareness on Papahānaumokuākea.”

The public was invited to attend the free Papahānaumokuākea Symposium in person at the Hale ‘Ōlelo Performing Arts Auditorium on the UH-Hilo campus. To further increase availability of information shared at the symposium, the event was broadcast live on television and on the worldwide web through local media partners at Nā Leo ʻo HawaiʻI, ʻŌlelo Community Television, and Akakū Maui Community Media.

“Weʻve made so much progress in the last 15 years,” said Kekuewa Kikiloi, Chair of the Papahānaumokuākea Cultural Working Group. “Itʻs part of the history of the Hawaiian movement, but its not always on the front stage. Itʻs something that has been quietly happening in the background.”

Presentations shared at the symposium included a session by keynote speakers Dr. Pua Kanakaole Kanahele and Kalei Nuʻuhiwa on the celestial and wind patterns at Mokumanamana, presentations on the abundance of ʻopihi found on Papahānaumokuākea, and a very emotional panel presentation by Hālau Holomoana students that brought many of the speakers and audience members to tears.

To view videos of the symposium presentations go to https://vimeo.com/album/3541261.

An OHA Digital Media Video Production
Produced by Alice Malepeai Silbanuz
Video by James Hall, Brad Kaaleleo Wong, Palikū Video Productions & ʻŌiwi TV
Edit by Alexis Panoncillo

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