2019 RTDNA Kaleidoscope Award Entry

May 28, 2020

Native Hawaiian Community Coverage

Hawaiians, the host culture for our state, remain a major focus of our news coverage. Their socio-economic status reflects both the persistent struggles of a native people decades following the overthrow of their legitimate government and their growing success in politics, business and education. As a native Hawaiian and a fluent speaker of the Hawaiian language, Hawai‘i Public Radio general assignment reporter Ku’uwehi Hiraishi provides listeners with deep insights into a complex community. Her coverage in 2019 reflects both the community’s challenges and advancement, and the revival of long-simmering grievances sparked by the planned building of a telescope on the state’s highest peak, Mauna Kea. Here are her stories:

Jan. 21, 2019

Who Speaks For Native Hawaiians?

Last week’s arrest of members of a Hawaiian sovereignty group brought up an often asked question in the Hawaiian community: “Who exactly speaks for native Hawaiians?” The answer may be more complex than imagined. (2:52)

Mar. 20, 2019

KanakaCon: A Hawaiian Comic Book Convention That Seeks To Preserve Culture

You’ve probably heard of Comic-Cons where fans of fantasy, sci-fi, and comic books gather. Some dress up like superheroes and others line up to meet their favorite comic book creators. But KanakaCon is different. (2:35)

Aug. 5, 2019

Exploring The Native Hawaiian Belief In The Sacredness of Mauna Kea

Many native Hawaiians who oppose the construction of the planned Thirty-Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea say the mountain is sacred. But what does sacred mean and what is the foundation for that belief? Could we see similar challenges to activities on Haleakalā, Mauna Loa or Kīlauea? (2:41)

Aug. 14, 2019

Psychologists Say Historical Trauma, Hawaiian Resilience Play Out On Mauna Kea

Images from Mauna Kea of police arresting kupuna or elders and those of protesters chained to a cattle grate can elicit strong emotions from many who see them. But for some native Hawaiians, these sights can serve as reminders of past injustices, triggering what the American Psychological Association calls “historical trauma.” (2:42)

Sept. 5, 2019

Music & Politics: The Role of Song in Hawaiian Activism

There’s no denying the power of music to inspire passion and spark social change – such has been the case throughout Hawaiʻi’s history. From the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom to the current conflict on Mauna Kea, songs have inspired activism and activism has inspired songs. (2:47)

Sept. 5, 2019

Helicopter Company Fined for Unpermitted Structures Near Hanapēpē Salt Ponds

A Kauaʻi helicopter company is facing fines of up to $10,000 a day for structures that lack permits on its property in Port Allen. The tour company’s initial request for the Kauaʻi County permits was met with strong opposition from traditional salt makers who practice in nearby Hanapēpē. (1:54)

Sept. 3, 2019

Liliʻuokalani's Peaceful Approach To Foreign Aggression Set Stage for Kapu Aloha

The words kapu aloha have emerged in the ongoing conflict over Mauna Kea. The term refers to a non-violent approach in Hawaiian activism. This code of conduct has its roots in the peaceful steps taken by Hawaiʻi’s last monarch, Queen Liliʻuokalani. (2:44)

Oct. 28, 2019

As Mauna Kea Recalls Dark History, Stories of 1895 Political Prisoners Revived

Much of the discussion surrounding the protests on Mauna Kea has focused on historical injustices experienced by native Hawaiians. Some events are well-known, like the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. But others have only recently been rediscovered. (2:37)

Oct. 30, 2019

One Path To Better Health For Native Hawaiians May Be In Their Backyards

For centuries, native Hawaiians fed themselves by developing sophisticated systems of fishponds and irrigated taro patches. But societal changes disrupted their connection to traditional food sources, leading to high health risks for diabetes, obesity, and other diseases. Now a community intervention is underway in Waimānalo using backyard aquaponics. (2:30)

Nov. 11, 2019

Indigenous Authority Over Museum Objects Could Be the Future

Museums and archives are often celebrated as rich repositories of culture and history. But for the communities whose culture and history are on display, having a say over what should become of these items is an ongoing battle – one that some native Hawaiian advocates and scholars are tackling head on. (2:51)

Nov. 18, 2019

Why Hawaiian Flags, Parking Tickets, Arrests Are Raising Free Speech Questions

There’s been a noticeable spike in Hawaiian flags seen on roads and highways. Many of the drivers are showing support for the protest on Mauna Kea and other land disputes. But authorities' crackdown on the flags on vehicles, along with parking tickets on the mountain and arrests in Kahuku are raising the question: where is the line between the law and free speech? (2:23)

Dec. 16, 2019

Hawaiian Immersion May Get More State Support After Years of Community Activism

The Hawaiʻi Supreme Court recently ruled in a landmark case that the state is constitutionally required to provide reasonable access to Hawaiian immersion education. The ruling may be a game changer for advocates of ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language. (2:34)