Hawaii Education leaders set sail on board Hokulea and Hikianalia

Hawaii Education leaders set sail on board Hokulea and Hikianalia
Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society / Oiwi TV
Courtesy: Polynesian Voyaging Society / Oiwi TV

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - Hawaii's top education leaders, including Hawaii Department of Education Superintendent Kathryn Matayoshi and University of Hawaii President David Lassner, were in Auckland, New Zealand Tuesday.

They, alongside Hokulea and Hikianalia crew members, were greeted with oli by thousands of students and teachers from the Manaiakalani school cluster.

Pwo Navigator and Captain of the Hokulea, Nainoa Thompson, marked Manaiakalani as a leader in integrating indigenous knowledge with 21st century technology.

“Today is the day that we learn the possibilities and the opportunities, and the creativity and the innovation, when you link tradition to technology and science,” Thompson said.

Hawaii's educators are in New Zealand for the Malama Honua Education Summit where they hope a new partnership with education leaders there, will help pave the way for blending native and western-based knowledge.

“We teach academic subjects, but if you don't reach the children in their heart, to teach them who they are, to help them understand who they are, then I don't know that we're building the resilience and the strength in them to meet whatever challenge comes their way,” Matayoshi said. “And I think that piece is so hard to figure out, unless we can appreciate and understand and support our teachers in bringing that part of education to our children.”

They toured nearby Point England School to learn first-hand about the innovative teaching methods.

“We're absolutely committed to the idea that our children need to stand on the teaching of their ancestors, their tupuna, or they don't know who they are.” Point England School Principal Russell Burt said. “It's so easy to come from another place to a big city, to live in a civilized, built-up environment and forget that your people coped with all kinds of difficulty, all kinds of challenges, but overcame those challenges in order to create a future.

The education conference started Sunday and ends Wednesday.

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