Mana Moana: Hawaiian Migration to Aotearoa in March

2016 Arts Envoy Paula Fuga performing Hawaiian mele for keiki at Sylvia Park School. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

By Mara Hosoda, U.S. Consulate, Auckland

Mana moana (“the power of the ocean”) was especially strong this month, connecting Kanaka Maoli (native people from Hawaii) to their Maori and Pacific cousins in Aotearoa. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate are proud to support and be a part of the many Hawaiian exchanges that occurred in March.

On March 8, the U.S. Consulate staff attended the opening of the “Mana Moana” art exhibition. The art project developed through the synergetic collaboration between Star Gossage, a Maori artist from Pakiri, New Zealand, and Solomon Enos, a Hawaiian artist from Waianae, Hawaii. The “Mana Moana” art exhibition opened simultaneously in Auckland and Honolulu connected via Skype link and included performances by Ka Pa Nani ‘O Lilinoe and Halau O Moana Nui A Kiwa.

Performance by Halau O Moana Nui A Kiwa at “Mana Moana” Art Exhibition Opening featuring Star Gossage & Solomon Enos. Photo courtesy of Tim Melville and artsdiary.co.nz
Performance by Halau O Moana Nui A Kiwa at “Mana Moana” Art Exhibition Opening featuring Star Gossage & Solomon Enos. Photo courtesy of Tim Melville and artsdiary.co.nz.

On March 10 in Auckland, the U.S. Consulate hosted Paula Fuga as our Arts Envoy. Paula toured schools throughout South Auckland to speak on her story of Pacific resiliency, run music workshops, and inspire youth through Hawaiian music performances.

2016 Arts Envoy Paula Fuga performing Hawaiian mele for keiki at Sylvia Park School. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
2016 Arts Envoy Paula Fuga performing Hawaiian mele for keiki at Sylvia Park School. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

On March 11 in Wellington, U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert and staff attended an emotional ceremony at Te Papa Museum for the return of treasures from Aotearoa to Hawaii. The beloved mahiole (feather helmet) and ‘ahu’ula (feather cloack) of Ali’i Kalani’opu’u (chief of Hawaii Island in 1779) were returned to representatives from Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. For photos of the ceremony see our FlickR page.

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Pouhana CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe speaking at the ceremony for the return of Kalani’opu’u’s mahiole and ‘ahu’ula with U.S. Embassy staff seated behind. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
Office of Hawaiian Affairs Ka Pouhana CEO Kamana’opono Crabbe speaking at the ceremony for the return of Kalani’opu’u’s mahiole and ‘ahu’ula with U.S. Embassy staff seated behind. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

During the weekend of March 12 and 13, the U.S. Embassy supported the Hawaii Village at the annual Pasifika Festival in Western Springs. The stage entertainment was spectacular this year bringing together Na Hoku Hanohano award winning musicians Paula Fuga and Kenneth Makuakane and also hula halau (Hawaiian traditional dance and culture schools) from Wahiawa (HI), Pearl City (HI), Auckland (NZ), and Hamilton (NZ). The village stalls were also packed this year including representatives from the Big Island County and Tourism Bureau, Island Breeze, charter schools, lomi lomi massage therapists, and ‘ono (delicious) foods. For photos of Pasifika see our FlickR page.

U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert, wife Nancy Gilbert, U.S. Consulate General Melanie Higgins, Arts Envoy Paula Fuga, Kumu Auli’i Mitchell, Hawaii Village Coordinators Maile Giffin and Amo Ieriko, and U.S. Embassy staff pictured at the Hawaii Village at Auckland Pasifika Festival. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
U.S. Ambassador Mark Gilbert, wife Nancy Gilbert, U.S. Consulate General Melanie Higgins, Arts Envoy Paula Fuga, Kumu Auli’i Mitchell, Hawaii Village Coordinators Maile Giffin and Amo Ieriko, and U.S. Embassy staff pictured at the Hawaii Village at Auckland Pasifika Festival. Photo credit: U.S. Depa

Throughout mid-March, the U.S. Consulate supported the Ultimate Waterman Challenge, the New Zealand based global surfing event to find the world’s best all-round waterman across multiple surfing disciplines including short board and long board surfing, stand up paddling and waka-ama. Since surfing was invented by Hawaiians and popularized around the world by legendary surf Ambassador Duke Kahanamoku, it was only fitting that many of the Ultimate Waterman contestants journeyed from Hawaii for this competition. And the winner for 2016 was … Zane Kekoa Schweitzer, a Native Hawaiian!

The Ultimate Watermen Competitors. Photo courtesy of The Ultimate Waterman website.
The Ultimate Watermen Competitors. Photo courtesy of The Ultimate Waterman website.

On March 15, 2016 the U.S. Consulate attended the Hawai’i Island Big Breakfast hosted by Hawai’i Tourism Oceania to promote travel from New Zealand to the island of Hawai’i, the Big Island. Special entertainment was provided by Island Breeze and Hawai’i Productions. The Hawai’i Visitors Bureau and County of Hawai’i graciously gifted two koa ‘umeke (special wooden bowls) with a woven cover—called po (night) and la (day)–to ATEED and the U.S. Consulate. Po and la complement one another and work together, much like ATEED and the U.S. Consulate work together for Pasifika festival and building relationships with Hawai’i.

Hawai’i Visitors Bureau and County of Hawai’i gifting koa ‘umeke to the U.S. Consulate represented by Kennon Kincaid, Katie Sleeman and Mara Hosoda. Photo courtesy of Frecia Cevallos and Taimane Kaopua.
Hawai’i Visitors Bureau and County of Hawai’i gifting koa ‘umeke to the U.S. Consulate represented by Kennon Kincaid, Katie Sleeman and Mara Hosoda. Photo courtesy of Frecia Cevallos and Taimane Kaopua.

From March 14-16, 2016, the U.S. Embassy supported the attendance of Hawaiian epistemologist extraordinaire, Dr. Manulani Aluli-Meyer, as a keynote speaker for the Pacific Arts Association International Symposium in Auckland. Dr Aluli-Meyer addressed key Hawaiian concepts such as the difference between nana (to look) and ike (to know, feel and understand), as well as the importance of mana moana in linking Polynesian cultures to each other and beyond.

Kumu Pulama Collier’s oli mahalo for Dr. Manulani Aluli-Meyer’s key note presentation at the Pacific Arts Association International Symposium. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.
Kumu Pulama Collier’s oli mahalo for Dr. Manulani Aluli-Meyer’s key note presentation at the Pacific Arts Association International Symposium. Photo credit: U.S. Department of State.

For news coverage of the Pacific Arts Association Symposium, see Te Karere TVNZ below: