By Kaitlin Kogachi
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Transcribing 15,000 pages of Hawaiian language newspaper in eight months might seem impossible, but that's exactly what happened.
Volunteers gathered at Iolani Palace on Tuesday for a mahalo luncheon coordinated by Awaiaulu, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the initiative. The festivities were complete with food and live entertainment, including music from Waipuna, Kawika Kahiapo, and Kupaoa. Kumu Hula Patrick Makuakane and Halau Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu from San Francisco also performed for the crowd. Makuakane and his halau participated in the project and won the halau challenge after completing more than 1,000 pages alone.
Awaiaulu is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading Hawaiian knowledge. They launched the Ike Kuokoa Initiative in November 2011 with the goal of introducing historic Hawaiian language newspapers to the internet. About 6,500 volunteers participated, exceeding expectations of the organizers. Volunteers from as far away as Germany and France helped hand type Hawaiian newspapers, despite having no knowledge of the Hawaiian language.
"Today the focus is really to say thank you. Say thank you to the almost 7,000 volunteers who have helped us, whether you did one page or you did 300 pages," said Kaui Sai-Dudoit of Awaiaulu. "We are sincerely grateful for every one of those pages because we knew what it took for you to come. We knew what it took for you to persevere, to go through a language you didn't understand, and to keep it going."
Although the original goal was to complete 60,000 pages in eight months, Awaiaulu is ending the call for volunteers. Sai-Dudoit and organizers are proud of the efforts thus far, but hope they can continue the project for the sake of future generations.