Today I went to a beautiful ceremony of cleansing in preparation for the construction for the Ka‘iwakïloumoku, the new Hawaiian cultural center. The complex will be situated east of the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel and Heritage Center.
At the ceremony, the vision of a Hawaiian cultural center was first articulated by former Kamehameha Schools trustee Myron “Pinky” Thompson in 1992. It was his vision to create a place where Hawaiians could come together to learn, celebrate and perpetuate their rich ancestral culture.
Randie Fong, who has kept this dream alive, has said, “This center will be a physical
symbol of Kamehameha’s commitment to the place of Hawaiian culture in the lives of
21st century Hawaiians. It will be a beacon that reflects our mission, a front and center, prominent and vibrant hub of activity.”
I personally believe the use of the new Hawaiian Cultural Center should reflect what type of Hawaiian leaders we want to cultivate as well as the realities of our global world.
With a rich history and deep knowledge, Hawaiians have much to teach the world about values towards others and the environment. Hawaiians managed to live in a sustainable way before Western contact using the ahupua‘a land management system. Natural resources were conserved while the ecosystem was protected. From the wisdom of their kupuna, I would like our keiki to learn the true meaning of malama i ka ‘äina at our new cultural center, to become leaders not only in the Hawai‘i, but globally as well.
We are developing students who can move past their history and into their imaginations. But the type of person who will succeed in our brave new world is someone who can also transcend race and build relationships—someone with a spirit of cooperation who is tolerant of others. It will require people who think before they react and who understand the consequences of their actions. It calls for self-respecting people who feel good about where they came from and don’t apologize for who they are, and it calls for people who will continue to grow and develop and who will bring value to themselves and those they represent.
I foresee Hawai‘i as a center for teaching the world about sustainability, marine science, alternative energy sources, and even race relations. With the world gone wrong in so many ways, we feel a different perspective will be needed to solve problems in the world.
I believe this new cultural center can become an integral part in creating Hawaiian leaders who can be an inspiration to the world.
Thanks for listening, and I would like to hear your comments as well!