A newly created club on campus, Pasefika Club focuses on the culture of Pacific Islanders. (Photo by Micah Tutuvanu)

By Shawna Takaki | Staff Writer

The Pasefika Club, one of the newest student clubs on the Kapi‘olani Community College campus, was founded this semester by five friends who attended Na Waʻa: A Learning Odyssey (IS 109) together. It was a free class held during the summer semester taught by professor Losch Kealalokahi. The class was concerned with teaching the class about Pacific Islander culture and embracing their heritage. 

Inspired by what they learned, the friends decided to revive the Pacific Islander Club that the college once had prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

It is a social and cultural club at Kapiʻolani Community College that aims to create a place for people to unite as a community. The club’s first general meeting will be on Thursday from 1:45 p.m. until 2:45 p.m. in Kopiko 127AB, and the club plans to have meetings twice a month.

Pasefika (pronounced Pacifica), is an umbrella term that refers to the entire Pacific. Thus, the Pasefika Club wants people to talk about their issues in the Pacific realm, have fun, and learn more about the rich culture of Pacific Islanders such as Micronesians, Sāmoans, Hawaiians, and many others. The president of the club is Micah Tutuvanu, who believes in the importance of learning as an engagement tool in building community. [Tutuvanu is also a staff writer with Kapiʻo News.]

“We want people who want to learn more about Pacific Islander culture, proud Pacific Islanders, and people who wanna learn more about their heritage,” Tutuvanu said. “People from any walks of life.”

The club was approved officially on Oct. 3, and the advisor is Miki Crutchfield, a counselor at Kapiʻolani Community College.

As a new club, Pasefika Club is still solidifying its plans for the future, but the officers discussed several hopes for the future.

During meetings, the officers want to serve cultural Polynesian food from various origins in order for its members to experience the taste of many different cultures. Their first meeting is upcoming this Thursday.

Many of the current 20 club members have ties to Farrington High School and its Pacific Islander club, and they plan to visit the high school and talk to the students, although the details are still being discussed. Other planned excursions are to hike Diamond Head and visit the Polynesian Cultural Center. They want the members to experience the beauty of Hawaiʻi.

Most importantly, they hope for the club’s members to bond and learn more about each other’s cultures.

Pacific Islander culture has always been bound by community,” said Tutuvanu. “Community is important in this day and age, especially for Pacific Islander cultures. We’ve gone through so much. … Community is what brings us together.” 

The Pasefika Club is also personally significant to Tutuvanu, as he struggled with his identity as a Pacific Islander in the past. 

“I was ashamed,” said Tutuvanu, who has Sāmoan heritage. “But I realized over time that we should be proud of who we are. … That’s what I want everyone to know, and that’s why I want us Pacific Islanders at KCC to be proud of who we are and where we came from.”

Frederick Francis, who is Chuukese, is the secretary of Pasefika Club. He aims for the club’s members to feel like family and to help each other through everything.

“I’m really grateful for students joining us and getting to know other people from other cultures,” said Francis.

Tutuvanu wanted to assert that anyone can join, even if they aren’t of Pacific Islander heritage. 

“If you just want to learn more about our culture, and you’re not a Pacific Islander, you can still join and we’ll accept you with open arms,” said Tutuvanu. 

To join Pasefika Club or ask any questions, email the club at pasefika@hawaii.edu.