AUCKLAND, NZ – Hawai’i’s education leadership yesterday sailed aboard deep sea voyaging canoe Hikianalia to build new partnerships with some of Aotearoa’s most innovative educators. Legendary canoes Hōkūleʻa and Hikianalia anchored together at Point England Beach to meet the students and teachers of Manaiakalani School Cluster. They were joined by education leaders from throughout Aotearoa to learn about the innovations in place-based education and community development programs underway at Point England School.
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, described the significance of the gathering. “Today’s events were a key demonstration of our Mālama Honua vision; people of different ages and backgrounds came together to reimagine our future,” said Thompson. “Education is at the very core of Mālama 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 Hawai’i.”
More than 2,000 students, predominantly Maori and Pasifika, greeted the Hawai’i visitors on the beach along with their community elders and teachers. The students performed special oli (chants) that they had written together, and each one of them stood in line to shake hands with the Hawai’i educators and crewmembers. The students also live-streamed the event on their student-run video conference platform. The Hawai’i-based educators toured Point England School to experience the schools’ pioneering approach of 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 Mālama Honua Education Hui, and engage with our educational partners here in Aotearoa,” stated Kathryn Matayoshi, Superintendent, Hawaiʻi State Department of Education. “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.”
The influential delegation of education leaders from Hawai’i includes superintendent Matayoshi, University of Hawai’i president David Lassner, and key thought leaders from Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi charter schools, and the University of Hawaiʻi College of Education. These teachers and administrators gathered for the Mālama Honua education summit in Aotearoa.