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The ANA Messenger: Social Development Edition 2013

Published: September 26, 2013
Social and Economic Development Strategies (SEDS)

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Grantee Provides Media Access to Native Hawaiian Language

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Native Hawaiian media interns who participated in Aha Punana Leo’s Hawaiian Language Television Broadcast program posing on the beach. (Hilo, HI)Aha Punana Leo is a nonprofit organization recognized as the founder of Punana Leo Hawaiian language immersion preschools, which were first established in 1984.  The organization’s 25 years of dedication to revitalizing a living Hawaiian language have required ever-widening approaches to its work in the Native Hawaiian community.

Vertical development of Hawaiian language programming was identified as a strategy to re-establish a living Hawaiian language to eventually become the first language of the Native Hawaiian community.

It is undeniable that mass media, specifically television, shapes the thinking of people in modern society.  Historically, indigenous peoples have lacked control of their stories on television.  Despite technological advances in the broadcast industry that have the potential to level the playing, Hawaiians had yet to establish or solidify a position in the state’s television industry.

Text Box: “Now we have the opportunity to see television broadcasting in the Native language, bringing a renewed sense of self esteem that Hawaiian language has value.  It’s showing that Hawaiian is a living language and we are using it.”  Project InternAs a result of the project, 15 interns completed professional training, and 9 remain employed in the media. Additionally, over 300 minutes of daily newscast and news magazine stories were produced and broadcast in the Hawaiian language, as well as uploaded for recurring access on the Oiwi television web portal, a video-on-demand digital service, with nearly 9 million views and reaching about 50 percent of Hawaiian households.

Increasing Hawaiian language speaking fluency provided local television stations a pool of qualified talent to report stories from a Native Hawaiian perspective and met the Hawaiian speaking community need for language specific broadcasts.  The project provided high quality Hawaiian language materials to 15,000 speakers, as well as to approximately 400,000 households seeking mainstream usage of the Hawaiian language and connections with the unique culture of Hawaii.

Hawaiians are now better positioned to preserve, protect, perpetuate, and incorporate traditional values and practices into other parts of mainstream society, ensuring a “Hawaii for Hawaiians” in perpetuity.  Moreover, there is potential to take expertise development to the next level, through a partnership with University of Hawaii at Hilo to offer a certificate program in Hawaiian broadcasting.

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Last Reviewed: October 18, 2016