When UH Mānoa Dean Maenette Ah Nee-Benham is asked about her vision for Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, she says she looks no further than Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai, the loʻi or taro patch, located a stone’s throw away from Hawaiian Studies.
“At any given time, there are many people, all kinds of people—from na keiki (children) all the way up to kūpuna (elderly)—working at the loʻi,” she said. “Of course, we are also a university so we host classes from different disciplines like ethnobotany and soil science.”
The hā (breadth) and hohonu (depth) of people who utilize Ka Papa Loʻi O Kānewai parallels Benham’s mission for the school. As its inaugural dean, she set the school’s direction on a mission to pursue, perpetuate, research and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge. This encompasses its language, origins, history, arts, sciences, literature, religion, education, laws and society, and political, medicinal and cultural practices.
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