Hokulea connects Hawaii, Aotearoa education leaders

Photo: Polynesian Voyaging Society

Legendary canoes Hokulea and Hikianalia anchored together at Point England Beach in New Zealand Tuesday to connect Hawaii’s education leaders with some of Aotearoa’s most innovative educators.

The delegation included Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, University of Hawaii president David Lassner, and representatives from Kamehameha Schools, Hawaii charter schools and the University of Hawaii College of Education.

They met with students and teachers of Manaiakalani School Cluster, as well as education leaders from throughout Aotearoa, to learn about the innovations in place-based education and community development programs underway at Point England School.

Upon their arrival, more than 2,000 students, predominantly Maori and Pasifika, greeted them on the beach.

From left: Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, director of the Public Education Support Division at Kamehameha Schools Dr. Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni, musician and activist Jackson Browne and University of Hawaii president David Lassner.
From left: Department of Education superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi, director of the Public Education Support Division at Kamehameha Schools Dr. Shawn Kanaʻiaupuni, musician and activist Jackson Browne and University of Hawaii president David Lassner.

They performed special ʻoli (chants) that they had written together, and each one of them stood in line to shake hands with the Hawaii educators and crewmembers.

The educators then toured Point England School to experience the schools’ pioneering approach firsthand using 21st century technology together with indigenous wisdom in education.

“I’m honored to join PVS and our teachers who are a part of the Malama Honua Education Hui, and engage with our educational partners here in Aotearoa,” said Matayoshi. “As we work towards empowering all of our teachers and public school students with digital learning, it is inspiring to see the technologically-based work taking place at Manaiakalani School Cluster here at Point England.”

“Today’s events were a key demonstration of our Malama Honua vision; people of different ages and backgrounds came together to reimagine our future,” said Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. “Education is at the very core of Malama Honua–caring for our Island Earth. We are honored to build relationships with youth leaders at Manaiakalani so that our voyage for a sustainable future will continue long after we return to Hawaii.”

The Malama Honua education summit takes place this week in Aotearoa.

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