Hawaiian Studies at Windward is alive and well

Faculty and students opened the pa‘ina (gathering) with an oli.

Faculty and students opened the pa‘ina (gathering) with an oli.

The Hawaiian culture thrives at Windward Community College. As students complete the requirements in the Hawaiian Studies Program, they can obtain an academic subject certificate or an associate in arts degree.

The courses are also open to anyone who wants to learn the culture and immerse themselves in the history, myths, genealogical research and arts that were taught to only families in the past but now can be learned in the present.

Today students can absorb all the past lessons with hands-on learning as they attend the classes offered at WCC.

The Hawaiian Studies Pa’ina on March 10 was a way to introduce prospective students to the whole range of courses. “This gathering is the first we’ve had here, and I want to do it every semester, if it is possible.” said Kalawaia Moore, Hawaiian Studies coordinator. He enjoyed the moment of all the students and faculty mingling with each other. He later said if it cannot be a semester activity, then he hopes to make it an annual event.


Students happily displayed their carvings and woodworking projects.

Students happily displayed their carvings and woodworking projects.

At the pa’ina, many students and faculty came and shared what was being taught in their classes. The list included:
• Hula Olapa (HWST 130) – Beginning traditional hula interpretations

• Hula Olapa (HWST 131) – Hula elua intermediate traditional hula interpretations

• Intro to Hawaiian Music (MUS 177) – A survey of music from Polynesian origins

• Kalai La’au (HWST 135) – Hawaiian wood carving and woodwork

• Kalai La’au (HWST 136) – Advanced Hawaiian wood carving and woodwork

• Ma’awe No’eau (HWST 222) – Hawaiian fiber work

• Polynesian Voyaging and Seamanship (IS 160 A/B) – Both courses focus on fundamentals of voyaging and seamanship, blending traditions of Polynesian culture, history and skills with modern science and technology.

• Polynesian Voyaging and Seamanship Lab (IS 160L) – A laboratory/field trip course designed to cover seamanship skills and apply knowledge of astronomy, geology, oceanography, meteorology, marine biology, ethnobotany and archaeology through sailing and environmental activities.

• Polynesian Surf Culture (ANTH 175) – Provides students with an understanding of surfculture in the Pacific Basin.

• Hawai’i: Center of the Pacific (HWST 107) – An introduction to Hawai’i and Hawaiian culture in the context of the larger Pacific, including Hawaiian origins, settlement, language, land, history, society, religion and the arts.

• La’au Lapa’au I (HWST 285) – Hawaiian Medicinal Herbs. The la’au lapa’au class is the most requested class, according to Moore, and is always filled every semester.

As the pa’ina continued, the students and faculty provided the entertainment.

Music teacher Ka’ala Carmack played the piano and sang, while one of his students danced the hula. Another student performed a Native American dance with hoops.

Hula olapa professor, Sky Gora, and her students entertained with a traditional hula.

The food at the pa’ina included kalua pig and cabbage, rice and lomi salmon with juice or water.

Student Elena Rodrigues enjoyed herself at the pa’ina and said, “I like this activity and hope they do it again.”

by Jolanda Kahele, Ka ‘Ohana Writer