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Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge

E lawe i ke a‘o a mālama a e ‘oi mau ka na‘auao.

Mission & Expertise

The mission of Hawai‘inuiākea is to pursue, perpetuate, research and revitalize all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge, including its language, origins, history, arts, sciences, literature, religion and education, its laws and society, its political, medicinal and cultural practices, as well as all other forms of knowledge.

Hawai‘inuiākea’s strategic direction takes its mission and grounds it in three core areas that shape and direct its programs and services:

  • Knowledge generation and dissemination to strengthen faculty
  • Knowledge transmission to ensure learner/student success
  • Civic engagement to include the communities we serve and are part of

The BA and MA in Hawaiian Studies offer concentrations in five areas: comparative Polynesian and indigenous studies, Hawaiian history and literature, Hawaiian perspectives on geography and resource management, visual and performing arts, and Hawaiian nationhood.

The BA in Hawaiian Language focuses on spoken and written fluency applicable to current settings with the ability to access primary sources both oral and written.

The MA in Hawaiian Language fosters research and the production of new knowledge.

Graduates hold positions at all levels of government, for-profit and nonprofit industries in Hawai‘i and are part of graduate scholarly communities here at home, on the continental U.S. and internationally. Hawai‘inuiākea graduates are members of many proud families.

Looking ahead, Hawai‘inuiākea is ready to expand its degree programs to include the Ph.D. in Hawaiian Knowledge, grow its faculty and staff, and offer more courses, programs, and initiatives to a larger number of students both on campus and beyond.

Longevity and Legacy

Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is one of the largest schools of indigenous knowledge in the nation and provides a full range of undergraduate to postgraduate pathways for its students and communities built on a foundation of educational excellence and Hawaiian values, culture and tradition.

Established in 2007 as the newest college on the flagship Mānoa campus in 25 years, its roots go back to 1922 when the first Hawaiian language classes were taught by Frederick W. Beckley, just 15 years after UH Mānoa was founded in 1907.

Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge is a hub for intellectual and cultural exploration, a catalyst for cultural reconstruction and rediscovery. 

It is comprised of:

  • Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies
  • Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language
  • Ka Papa Loʻi ʻO Kānewai Cultural Garden and Resource Center
  • Native Hawaiian Student Services

The Need for Hawaiʻinuiākea

In addition to the number of students pursuing Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language majors each school year, Hawaiʻinuiākea serves thousands more through its course offerings and programs.

  • For the spring 2015 semester alone, 23 sections of Hawaiian Studies 107 were offered for a total enrollment of 845 students. Ten sections of Hawaiian 100 were offered totaling 234 students.
  • Ka Papa Loʻi ʻO Kānewai, a lush sanctuary on campus for applied learning among native plant gardens and taro fields, welcomes up to 30 thousand visitors each year, at no cost. University leaders, researchers, teachers, farmers, students, community members, public school classes, and kūpuna participate in educational programs and community service projects. A recently completed resource center will enable Kānewai’s staff to extend its educational programs and events to many more visitors and learners.
  • Native Hawaiian Student Services maintains two student resource centers on campus and provides support and guidance to all Hawaiian students at Mānoa, all Hawaiʻinuiākea majors, and all students majoring in Hawaiian Language or Hawaiian Studies. Beyond the traditional services expected of a university student center, the NHSS staff develops many well-attended, tailored programs that focus on student recruitment, retention, graduation, and outreach with the goal of educating a highly knowledgeable, skilled, flexible, world-class Native Hawaiian workforce. 
  • Hawaiʻinuiākea is the source for accomplishing one of UH Mānoa’s key goals: to make UH a Hawaiian place of learning. The university’s mission statement includes this: “the Native Hawaiian values embedded in the concepts of kuleana, ‘ohana, and ahupua‘a serve to remind us of our responsibilities to family, community and environment” and notes that the university is “grounded in the traditional values of our host culture.”
  • Hawaiians are 21.3%–more than one-fifth–of the state’s population, totaling 289,970. While Hawaiʻinuiākea has been key in helping UH Mānoa nearly double its Hawaiian student count from 1,810 in 2005 to 3,004 in 2011, there remains a great need for expanded courses, programs, and scholarships to bring the percentage of Hawaiian students at Mānoa closer to their representation of our state population.

Enriching Our Campus and Our future

Hawaiʻinuiākea has been commended for the quality of its programs and impact on the Mānoa campus. It has been praised for the strength and depth of its engagement with all aspects of the communities it services, socially, culturally, economically, political and in the generation of new knowledge.

Because of the efforts of Hawaiʻinuiākea faculty and staff, UH Mānoa has developed a network of programs specifically to serve Native Hawaiian students and increase their chances of completion of their degree programs.

Committed to growing future leaders, Hawaiʻinuiākea instituted a faculty development program in 2008 for its nine faculty members which expanded by 2013 into a program that serves 33 faculty of indigenous descent across the Mānoa campus.

Hawaiʻinuiākea is a prototype of community engagement that can serve as a model for indigenous peoples and post-secondary institutions around the world.

Funding Priorities

Hawaiʻinuiākea is committed to growing scholars able to apply traditional and new knowledge to provide service and support to the Hawaiian community and extend this knowledge into the Pacific and other international domains.

We strategically and prudently utilize our human, fiscal, facility resources and Hawaiian ‘ike to support this goal. 

Student Scholarships

Scholarships provide financial support to students working toward BA and MA degrees in Hawaiian Studies and/or Hawaiian Language. Many Hawaiʻinuiākea students are the first in their family to attend college or obtain a degree in higher education. Through scholarships, we can provide access to students who might not otherwise have the financial means to pursue higher education particularly in an era of skyrocketing college tuition costs.

Scholarships can be created through a named endowment that will continue in perpetuity or by annual gifts

Endowed Professorships and Endowed Chairs

Endowments for professors and department chairs are intended to attract and retain distinguished leaders to fulfill the mission of Hawaiʻinuiākea and match the priority interest of donors. Examples may include community engagement, Hawaiian language and literature, comparative indigenous studies or Hawaiian resource management.

Publishing Program

Funding to support a publishing effort will allow us to add to the rich collection of printed knowledge that has guided much of the scholarly research done to date. The addition of digital publishing will increase the pace and reach of knowledge generation and dissemination to guide future scholars.

Kānewai Programs

Endowment to support a graduate students; technology, equipment and supplies or operating funds are just a few of the areas support is needed…to continue to support and educate the larger community. Especially Hawai‘i’s keiki.

Questions? / More Information

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this,
please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.