Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

For the sea-faring people of the Pacific Islands, canoes have long been a way to travel, trade, and fish for food. But for a tight-knit community of local Tokelauans, they hope their newly-built canoe will strengthen their ties to their ancestral homeland – a remote group of atolls 2,500 miles south of Hawaiʻi. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has this story.

University of Hawai'i at Manoa

If you’re still looking for a worthy New Year’s resolution, how about learning a new language in 2019? Studies have shown that language learning can help you tune out distractions, become better at multitasking and even ward off dementia. HPR Reporter Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has more.

Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

If you build it, they will come. A tight-knit community of local Tokelauans are building a traditional canoe. They’re doing it as they would in their ancestral homeland – a small set of islands half way between Hawaiʻi and New Zealand. They’re hoping the project will encourage younger generations to learn more about their language and culture. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has this story.

Gunawan Kartapranata / Wikimedia Commons

The Trump Administration is reviewing rules about foreign investment in the United States. But it’s not the only government taking a closer look at how foreign businesses operate in other countries. And last week, that sparked some confusion in Indonesia.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi

New Zealand’s highest ranking Maori judge is visiting Hawai’i. Justice Joseph Williams is the first fluent Maori speaker to be appointed to the New Zealand Court of Appeals. His visit comes as Hawaiʻi grapples with its own issue of native language in the courtrooms. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has more.

Trisha Kehaulani Watson-Sproat

February is Hawaiian language month in the state of Hawai‘i. Nearly 40 years ago, the Hawaiian language was recognized as one of two official languages in the state. While the Hawaiian language speaking community has grown, recent events in a Maui courtroom have led to questions about what it really means to have Hawaiian as an official language. HPR’s Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi has this story.

Game of Thrones / HBO

Studies have shown that learning a second language has multiple benefits for intelligence, memory, and concentration. But who wants to learn Spanish or Chinese? Everyone speaks that. You want a real challenge? Try a constructed language like Klingon or Dothraki. HPR’s Ku’uwehi Hiraishi delves into the world of made-up languages with a local linguist attempting to construct his own.


About one in four residents in Hawai‘i speak a language other than English at home. That’s according to a new report by the Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, it offers a different look into the state’s diverse community.

The report shows more than 130 languages are spoken across the islands. The top three include Ilocano, Tagalog, and Japanese.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

One of the most popular classes in Hawaii these days is not just for school children. Chinese language courses are increasing … both for adults and for kids. HPR’s Molly Solomon reports.

Hawaii is not the only place where the use of pidgin gets debated. In Singapore, the use of language is the topic of an annual government campaign. HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

For most Chamorro people living in Hawai`i, hearing the language of their ancestors is a rare thing. But, as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, members in the Pacific Island community are working to revitalize the language and keep it alive for generations to come.

The Chamorro language class meets weekly at Kaka'ako Kitchen, every Saturday at 10 am.

For more information on the class, contact Kenneth Gofigan Kuper at or the Marianas Club at