Welina mai me ke aloha! Welcome to Honolulu Community College’s Hulili Ke Kukui Hawaiian Center. The Center was established as part of the college’s efforts to make the University of Hawai‘i one of the world’s foremost indigenous-serving institutions and fulfills the college’s kuleana (responsibility) to the Native Hawaiian Community.
Who We Are
The Hawaiian Center was established through a Title III grant in 2001 and officially opened its doors with a public grand opening on October 17, 2002. Hawaiian Language instructor Kumu Kimo Alama Keaulana gifted the Hawaiian Center its name “Hulili Ke Kukui,” which means “blazing torch (of knowledge).” Today the Hawaiian Center is part of the college’s Kulana Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Division, which is a unique organization in the University of Hawaiʻi system that comprises Nā Papa Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian Studies & Hawaiian Language classes) and Hulili Ke Kukui (student support).
We are located in the upstairs makai wing of Building 5 (next to the Hale ʻAina/Cafeteria), just adjacent to the traditional hale at the piko (center) of campus.
Hulili Ke Kukui Hawaiian Center is committed to actively preserve and perpetuate Hawaiian culture and values. Through an array of comprehensive services, we strengthen the college’s educational programs and enable students of Hawaiian ancestry to succeed in their academic, career and individual endeavors.
Service Area Outcomes
Hulili Ke Kukui fulfills its mission through the following Service Area Outcomes:
SAO 1: Hulili Ke Kukui will foster a Hawaiian place of learning through the integration of language, culture, values, and history into curriculum, campus services, and community engagement.
Hulili Ke Kukui will achieve this by:
- Serving as a model for malama ‘aina/sustainability initiatives on campus,
- Supporting enrollment in the AA Hawaiian Studies program and Hawaiian Studies courses,
- Providing activities and services that support ola kino (holistic health and wellness),
- Strengthening the campus’s partnerships with Hawaiian community organizations,
- Creating a repository of kupuna ?ike (ancestral knowledge) about the surrounding campus community,
- Increasing the usage of ‘olelo Hawai‘i (Hawaiian language) on campus, and
- Providing opportunities to demonstrate Hawaiian cultural practices and protocol.
SAO 2: Hulili Ke Kukui will serve as a pu‘uhonua (safe space) for all Native Hawaiian students to increase their recruitment, retention, graduation, university transfer, and employment.
Hulili Ke Kukui will achieve this by:
- Identifying the unique needs of non-traditional Native Hawaiian students and providing them with appropriate wrap-around services to foster their success,
- Developing and implementing innovative strategies to support student success,
- Developing strategic partnerships with selected businesses, industry, and training providers to better respond to workforce development and training requirements, and
- Collaborating with campus departments to support student success.
SAO 3: Hulili Ke Kukui will serve as the piko (core) for the institutionalization of Native Hawaiian cultural values across faculty and staff development, leadership, and campus programs.
Hulili Ke Kukui will achieve this by:
- Supporting the development of Hawaiian/Asian/Pacific (HAP) focused courses,
- Integrating Native Hawaiian culture and place in the new employee orientation processes,
- Providing opportunities for professional development in the integration and implementation of Native Hawaiian culture and place-based education,
- Improving efforts to recruit and retain Native Hawaiian faculty, staff, and administrators, and
- Advocating for the institutionalization of programs and positions that support the campus’s Native Hawaiian student population.
Hawaiian Programs at Honolulu Community College
The college’s commitment to the Hawaiian Community is evidenced by the plethora of programs and services available on campus to support Native Hawaiian students and perpetuate the Hawaiian culture. A detailed account of our programs and outcomes is available below.
Hawaiian Center Staff
Services We Offer
Hulili Ke Kukui provides an array of services to support its mission to preserve the Hawaiian Culture and support Native Hawaiian students. As part of an indigenous-serving institution, the Center provides academic, career and transfer advising, co-curricular activities that promote culture-based education and enrichment events. While some programs are specific to Native Hawaiian students, most services are open to everyone.
Hulili Ke Kukui services include:
- Student lounge & study space
- Cultural enrichment workshops
- Academic, career and transfer advising
- Mālama ‘Āina Days (service learning opportunities)
- Computer Lab and printing
Hulili Ke Kukui regularly assesses how we can improve our programs to better support our campus and students. Please complete this survey to provide us with feedback and suggestions.
In an effort to fulfill our mission, we regularly conduct outreach in the community and on our campus. We attend community events, conduct presentations in classes, and welcome visitors to the Center. If you are interested in scheduling outreach with us, please email us at email@example.com. Be sure to include the dates and times you would like to visit, your estimated counts, and what you want to learn about (i.e. services for Native Hawaiian students).
The Hālau is a space for students, staff, faculty and the community to gather and learn more about the Hawaiian culture. It is a place to make new friends, eat lunch, study, and relax. E komo mai!
Cultural Enrichment Workshops
We also offer a variety of cultural enrichment workshops, bringing in experts from different cultural practices, guest speakers and storytellers, and providing hands-on opportunities to learn more about the Hawaiian culture.
Starting in Fall 2019, the Kūlana Hawaiʻi Hawaiian Division and Hulili Ke Kukui Hawaiian Center began offering a Morning Piko. The piko is meant to help attendees center themselves at the start of the day and provides a source of daily cultural grounding. Piko begins with the sound of the pū (conch shell) at 8:00 am on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the Building 5 Courtyard. We begin our protocol with a pule, followed by a manaʻo o ka lā (thought of the day), a mele (song), and closing with a pule. Everyone is invited to attend! Contact Kalani Flores for more information.
Native Hawaiian Counselor
The Native Hawaiian Counselor at Hulili Ke Kukui can assist students with:
- Career advising
- Academic planning
- Scholarships/financial aid
- Personal problems
- Cultural identity
To make an appointment with the Native Hawaiian Counselor you can ask a peer mentor for help, walk-in, or go to STAR Balance to make an appointment online.
The Hawaiian Center Computer Lab is open to students, staff and faculty, and the community. It is equipped with 12 MAC computers and includes printing services and scanners for use.
Hours of Operation
Monday – Friday: 8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Black and white and color printing are available at the following rates:
- $0.10 per page for B&W
- $0.25 per page for Color
Requesting Computer Lab Reservations
The Computer Lab may also be reserved for instructional/classroom use or events. To reserve the Computer Lab, please check the calendar below for availability and then email the Hawaiian Center at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
Hale Kawelohea & Courtyard
From 2018 to 2020, Honolulu Community College’s faculty, staff, administrators, and students worked with community mentors to erect a hale hālawai (community gathering space) through the support of the US DOE Title III funded Hoʻāla Hou project (2015-2021). The hale is named after the college’s first Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies Professor, Kumu Edith Kawelohea McKinzie, who taught at Honolulu Community College from the 1980s until her retirement in 1996.
Hale Kawelohea may be used for meetings and gatherings. The hale is available to faculty, staff, and students on campus for the following purposes:
- Welcoming special guests
- Cultural presentations and workshops
- Outdoor classroom space
While the hale was in progress, Native Hawaiian Counselor Kahale Saito secured a SEED grant established a partnership with Kōkua Kalihi Valley’s KVIBE program to put up a mural on campus that featured the moʻolelo of Niuhelewai and Kapālama. The project was led by 808 Urban. The process included bringing together Hawaiian programs staff to provide input and then everyone on campus had the opportunity to place their mana on the wall before painting began. If you look very closely, you can see the handprints of students, staff, and even keiki.
Native Hawaiian Tuition Waiver
Every academic year the UH system distributes tuition waivers intended for Hawaiian students pursuing their academics at all UH Campuses. The Native Hawaiian Tuition Waiver Program was established to support and increase the number of Hawaiian and part-Hawaiian students seeking higher education. The waivers are allocated to each campus based on enrollment data from the previous academic year, and are intended for students who are NEED BASED according to their FAFSA report. In the past few years, HonCC has been allocated a range of 14-20 Tuition Waivers.
This will support students who:
- Have identified as Native Hawaiian on their Admissions Application
- Will be a full-time (up to 15 credits) or part-time (minimum 6 credits)
- Maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher
In collaboration with the Financial Aid office and Hulili Ke Kukui Hawaiian Center, a process of identifying and selecting individuals has been created. There is no application, students will be invited based on the criteria below. In the initial identification process, criteria used by the Financial Aid office are as follows:
- Does not have a Bachelor’s Degree
- Is not on Financial Aid or Academic Probation
- Applied and completed their FAFSA (inclusive of additional documents) by May 1*
- Has an expected family contribution (EFC) of $3,000 or less*
*Subject to change from academic year or semester
The Financial Aid Office will distribute a letter to all identified students, inviting them to submit a Personal Statement based on three set questions. A selection committee created by Hulili Ke Kukui Hawaiian Center will rank, review and select individuals based on their Personal Statement and will be awarded the Tuition Waiver. Students who have accepted the waiver are required each semester to:
- Attend an orientation at the beginning of the semester
- Attend an advising session with the Native Hawaiian Counselor
- Attend one of the scheduled Mālama ʻĀina events
For more information contact the Native Hawaiian Counselor: Faith Kahale Saito, 845-9112, email@example.com
Hulili Ke Kukui Programs
Po‘i Na Nalu Program
Established in 1995, Po‘i Nā Nalu is Honolulu Community College’s oldest Native Hawaiian-serving program. Its goal is to prepare Native Hawaiian students for employment into high-demand occupations with family-sustaining wages by providing vigorous and culturally appropriate opportunities for academic and professional success. Learn more about the Poʻi Na Nalu program
Kūkalahale: Building an Indigenous-Serving Institution through Professional Development is a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant in collaboration between Honolulu and Kapiʻolani Community Colleges. The overarching theme of this collaborative project is indigenous education frameworks in professional development. Through the proposed goals and activities both HonCC, who will serve as lead, and KapCC hope to build the capacity of their faculty, staff, and administration to develop and sustain culturally appropriate and culturally relevant strategies that kipaipai (encourage) current and future Native Hawaiian students. Learn more about the Kukalahale program.
Ola Niuhelewai Program
“Ola Niuhelewai!” Niuhelewai Lives! Ola Niuhelewai is funded by a US DOE Title III grant from October 1, 2020 thru September 30, 2025. The overarching theme of this project is “mauli ola” and it is inspired by the ʻō noʻ’eau, or proverb: “Ka la i ka Mauliola,” which is translated as “the sun at the source of life” (Pukui, 1983, p. 154). Mauli ola refers to health and well-being and it is described as a holistic approach that balances Native Hawaiians’ traditional concepts of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual health (OHA, 2019, Mauli Ola). The goal of this project is to raise HonCC’s Native Hawaiian students’ satisfactory academic progress, retention, and graduation by increasing their health literacy through a culturally relevant curriculum focused on the roles of aina (land) and ola pono (personal health and wellness) in mauli ola (well-being). Through the proposed goals and activities HonCC hopes to build the capacity of its Native Hawaiian students increase educational attainment and improve their personal health and well-being. Learn more about the Ola Niuhelewai program.
Ke Ahupuaʻa ʻo Kapālama
Hulili Ke Kukui is proud to be a part of the Niuhelewai ʻIli in the Ahupuaʻa of Kapālama. You can learn more about the culture and history of this ʻāina by watching our webinars below, which were part of the Hawaʻi Papa o ke Ao “He Ukana Kā Kīlauea” series:
- Kapālama i ka wā kahiko: Hear moʻolelo about Niuhelewai and Kapālama before Western contact
- Modern History of Kapālama: Learn about how Niuhelewai and Kapālama have changed since Western contact
- Ke Aliʻi Wahine Kaʻiulani ma Kapālama: Learn about Princess Kaʻiulani’s connections to Kapālama
You can also learn more about the ahupuaʻa of Kapālama by visiting Honolulu Community College Library’s “Hawaiʻi – Researching Place” website.
Community Resources in Kapālama
Mālama ʻĀina Resources
Hulili Ke Kukui believes in providing access to information so that students, faculty, and staff can make informed decisions on contemporary ʻāina issues. The following websites provide information on several issues related to ʻāina in Hawaiʻi:
- Sand Island Evictions: Victoria Keith’s documentary and Ed Greevy’s Photos
- Kapālama Canal Catalytic Project
- Kalihi Neighborhood Transit-Oriented Development Plan
- Kalihi-Pālama Action Plan
- Greening Iwilei and Kapālama (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
- Kamehameha Schools’ Kapālama Kai Plan
- Loʻi Kalo Park
- Mauna Kea Science Reserve Master Plan (Office of Mauna Kea Management)
- Mauna Kea Comprehensive Management Plan (Office of Mauna Kea Management)
- Mauna a Wākea Legal Documents (Mauna a Wākea)
- Mauna Kea Resources (Office of Hawaiian Affairs)
- 10 Questions About Mauna Kea Whose Answers Might Surprise You (Kanaeokana)
Community Work Days
If you would like to get more involved in the Mālama ʻĀina movement, there are organizations throughout Oʻahu that host community work days. These work days are a great opportunity to get your hands dirty, learn more about traditional resource management practices, and feel more connected to the ʻāina. Click on the hyperlinks to learn more.
Hoʻoulu ʻĀina, Kōkua Kalihi Valley
Location: Kalihi Valley
Workdays: Every 3rd Saturday of the month, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm; Wednesday community work days, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm; Seed Sharing Workshops every Thursday, 9:30 am – 12:00 pm
Contact: Puni Jackson, 841-7504, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paepae o Heʻeia
Location: Heʻeia Fishpond, Kāneʻohe
Workdays: Saturday Community Workdays, 2nd and 4th Saturdays of most months, 8:30 am – 12:00 pm (RSVP required and lunch is provided).
**If you would like to suggest an addition to this list, please email Kalei at email@example.com.
Hawaiian Culture & ʻĀina-Based Learning Resources
These are culture and place-based learning resources available online or through the Honolulu Community College library.
*Hours are subject to change. On rare occasions the Hawaiian Center is closed for off site activities. Follow our social media accounts and check the Calendar of Events for announcements.
Hui ‘Oiwi Hawaiian Club
Hui ʻŌiwi is currently seeking members and officers interested in getting more involved in college and perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. The mission of Hui ʻŌiwi is to perpetuate the Hawaiian culture by providing a co-curricular experience for students to gain knowledge about the Hawaiian culture, while providing an outlet for an enhancing student experience. Members may plan activities to fulfill the club’s mission such as workshops, celebrations, etc.
Hui ‘Oiwi Faculty Advisor
Hui ‘Oiwi Faculty Advisor