Oli workshops are held by ʻAha Kalāualani, an organization that educates students and faculty on Native Hawaiian culture and history. (Photo courtesy of Kapulani Landgraf)

By Shawna Takaki | Staff Writer

ʻAha Kalāualani is the Native Hawaiian counsel for Kapiʻolani Community College. It advances the college as a recognized model indigenous serving institution. One of its main initiatives in 2022 was Ka Wehena Kaiao, a protocol handbook that educated students and faculty on the history of the place of Queen Kapiʻolani, the land that it’s on, and the oli and mele of the college. 

There are a variety of events that ʻAha Kalāualani offers from semester to semester.

This semester, the organization offers in-person oli workshops to all students on campus. Oli, or Hawaiian chant, is thought to hold mana. There have been two held previously, on February 22 and March 20. The next upcoming workshop is going to be held on April 19, taught by Palakiko Yagodich, a professor at the college. It will be held at Manono 101A/101B from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. the last this semester.

“We’re trying to get more students to come, especially for commencement, as you do an oli during it,” said Kapulani Landgraf, a professor at Kapiʻolani Community College and a part of ʻAha Kalāualani.

Students can learn more about ʻAha Kalāualani and other events and projects they work on at their website.

The workshop will teach about the background of the oli and the land, as well as the meanings of the words and places referred to during it. 

“It’s not just learning the oli, it’s learning the reason why you do it,” said Langraf.

As an authorized governance organization for the college, ʻAha Kalāualani is involved in making sure Hawaiian values are followed at the college.

“It’s also about educating the campus and college about Native Hawaiian cultural rights, justices, anything about the land, and proper use of the Hawaiian language,” said Landgraf.

“We reach out to people not from here and give them better background on it,” said Landgraf.

ʻAha Kalāualani is also holding a Lei Contest on May 1, 2023. All students, faculty, and staff of the college can enter, and your entry has to be delivered to Manono 101A/B on May 1, 2023 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. More details on the contest can be found here.

“Just come out and get involved,” said Landgraf.