LCC Native Hawaiian Arts Website Earns National Recognition
Mele, poetry, short stories, oral histories, essays, memoirs, ‘oli, hula and more are showcased on Leeward Community College’s Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts website, Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa, which recently was selected as a finalist for Edublog’s 2013 Best New Blogs Award. The students and faculty affiliated with the website placed seventh in the national initiative.
The project is headed by LCC faculty Pat Kamalani Hurley, who is quick to note that although they did not win, it was an honor for the students to be recognized on a national level.
The website was created to publish the creative works from the Ka ‘Umeke Ka’eo Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts Achievement Awards, which is part of the Language Arts Division at LCC. The achievement awards were started by Hurley and fellow professor Iokepa Badis in fall 2010.
“These Native Hawaiian voices challenge visitors to see the world in new ways,” Hurley said. “Many of the works are in our mother language. Native Hawaiian traditions of storytelling and songs are ancient and deep, and these bonds are reflected in many of these modern works here in Pupu.
“It quickly became obvious that these wonderful works should be shared with the greater community,” Hurley continued. “Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts is the result.”
The site had an official launch in spring 2013, and has been up and running ever since.
“There was a lot of learning to do, especially the technical aspects of creating and maintaining a website, and I had no clue when I began,” she admitted. “Most importantly, I wanted to create a website that would be worthy of the wonderful writing and arts we were receiving.”
Many of the works on Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa are presented via video.
“Whenever possible, we videotape the students, who talk a little bit about themselves and their work,” she explained. “I love the videos. They keep the website from being static, and they have a wonderful charm.”
Each Monday during the semester, Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa showcases New Release Monday, which features an author or artist.
As a Native Hawaiian writing professor, Hurley aims to help her students improve their writing both in Hawaiian and English. She says she also wishes for them to share what they are thinking about.
“While I would love to have played some part in helping these students become big stars, my goals are more down to earth: to create and safe and welcoming environment for (students) to share their work and their mana’o,” she said.
That sentiment of fostering a welcoming environment also means that the website accepts original works focusing on all things Hawaiian from everyone in the community, regardless of ethnicity.
Stay tuned for big things Pupu A ‘O ‘Ewa has planned.
“We are working on creating Hawaiian-focused instructional materials that will help improve the quality and variety of works,” she explained. “We’re also working on a plan to take our achievement awards to the high school level, starting first with the high schools in the Central and Leeward areas that our college serves.”