Community & Partnerships

Hawaiʻinuiākea is committed to sharing knowledge with our Hawaiian communities through service and support. Community initiatives have positively impacted communities across our pae ʻāina, and in some cases provided the kākoʻo needed to launch into sustainable, grassroots efforts.

Some community projects originated from seed grants awarded by HSHK to its faculty to encourage community engagement through critical, applied research projects that benefit community-identified needs, interests and goals. These projects link education, research, and practice together in ways that invigorate the work of faculty and students while taking scholarship beyond the borders of the Mānoa campus. Such scholar-practitioner initiatives have generated tangible returns on invested resources that include stronger partnerships among community organizations and increased relevance and meaning of scholarly engagement and research.

Below are some of Hawai‘inuiākea’s community projects. Please refer to the menu on the right for additional initiatives and partnerships.


Ka Papa Loʻi o Voyager

A community partnership to develop Hawaiian science curriculum at Māhuahua ‘Ai o Hoi, a 200-acre mauka-to-makai area in Heʻeia that includes loʻi kalo and loko iʻa.

Project lead: Hokulani ʻAikau
Objective: To provide Hawaiʻi ‘ohana and ‘ōpio with content that is culturally relevant and appropriate in a learning environment that challenges the classroom-centrism of Western school systems; to develop a 3rd grade science curriculum that utilizes Hawaiian ecological knowledge and provides haumāna with hands-on ‘āina-based learning at Māhuahua that meets Hawai’i content area standards for science. Includes:

  • Safe access to the wetland areas to engage in place-based learning opportunities and activities that increases students’ cultural, historical, and ecological knowledge about Heʻeia ahupuaʻa and Māhuahua ‘Ai a Hoi.
  • Culturally relevant, hands-on learning opportunities to increase enthusiasm about science, technology, engineering, and math.
  • Understanding of how Hawaiian ecological knowledge builds on the interconnectedness of science, technology, and society
  • Research that focuses on: the value of water in a Hawaiian cultural context; how water moves through the ahupuaʻa; the ecological significance of the loʻi system for downstream systems; and the impact of restoration on native and non-native plants and animals who live in the wetland.
  • Opportunities that will inspire haumāna to become advocates for their community, their ahupuaʻa, Hawaiʻi nei, and the world.

Community partners:  Kelly Ralleta, Voyager Public Charter School (3rd grade kumu); Nathan Dube, Kākoʻo ‘Ōiwi (a non-profit working to restore loʻi kalo along Koʻolau coast); Māhuahua ‘Ai o Hoi.
Communities served:  3rd grade students at Voyager Public Charter School; Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi and their ongoing restoration efforts; the greater community as the project creates learners who are aware and respectful of the natural environment.
Benefits to communities served:  Integrating Hawaiian scientific knowledge and cultural practices into the curriculum will positively impact students’ school engagement which will translate into greater engagement with STEM subjects; “…as haumāna see the relevance of STEM for their community, they will also be advocates for the places they live…” Māhuahua ʻAi o Hoi receives kōkua in their ongoing restoration efforts of the Heʻeia wetlands; Voyager kūmu have curriculum created.


Waiʻanae Mālama ʻĀina Field School at Nānākuli

A pilot summer school course for Nānākuli High & Intermediate middle school students entering grades 8 and 9 in the 2013-2014 school year. The primary goal of the course is to strengthen students’ core skills in science, math, and English/language arts by connecting them to the ‘āina and their culture. In doing so, the program engages students in learning and school so that they will be successful learners and contributors to their community, and will begin to understand the role of the 21st century konohiki. Students explore college and career paths and develop contacts with potential employers.


Nānākuli Mākua Series

This program connects Waiʻanae Coast families to a diverse set of learning opportunities through a unique collaboration with HSHK, INPEACE Keiki Steps Program, and the Kamehameha Schools Ka Pua Project. The learning exchange is a sustainable series of workshops which create opportunities for families to reinforce and raise consciousness around Hawaiian language, culture, and identity. Each community session is designed to address the short-term goal of building relationships among families to strengthen resilience and increase interest in education as well as the long-term goal of expanding capacity for critical analysis and engagement in social, political, and educational advocacy that impacts the landscape of their community.