Leeward CC Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts website, Pūpū A ‘O ‘Ewa Native, was selected as a finalist for Edublog’s 2013 Best New Blogs Awards. The students and faculty involved were delighted by achieving a seventh place in the national initiative.
The website presents creative work of Native Hawaiian artists, writers, creators and producers in written pieces, videos and audio recordings.
Leeward CC faculty Pat Kamalani Hurley created the website last Spring to publish the creative work from the Ka ʻUmeke Kā‘eo Native Hawaiian Writing and Arts Achievement Awards, and to establish a creative place for students, faculty and community members. With a goal to encourage students to express themselves in both English and Hawaiian languages, the Ka ʻUmeke Kā‘eo awards program is supported by Leeward's Language Arts Division and Student Life.
Both the awards program and Pūpū focus on na mea Hawaiʻi—anything Native Hawaiian," said Hurley. "I am proud that Pūpū was nominated for a best blog of the year. We didn't win, but it was an honor for our students to get some well-deserved recognition."
Hurley and her volunteers spend countless hours in making the creative pieces come alive. "If the work is art and in the Hawaiian language, then we like to include audio recordings so that visitors who speak Hawaiian can enjoy the moʻolelo and so that those who don't speak Hawaiian can hear what the language sounds like," Hurley said.
Hurley also produces short, rather informal bios where the contributors talk about themselves and their work. "Videos help to make what could be a static, boring website into something pretty special," she said. "The students never fail to charm."
Although the website is pretty much a one-person operation, Hurley said she couldn't do any of this without the support of the many faculty, staff and students who believe in the goals and vision of the website.
"They recognize that such good, creative works have a wider educational value, and I am grateful for their support," she said.
The audio taping is supported by the Leeward Educational Media Center, and the production of short video bios are edited by volunteer Digital Media students.
"I like to think that both the Ka ʻUmeke Kā‘eo awards and Pūpū A ‘O ‘Ewa are innovative in supporting Leeward CC’s mission statement of addressing the needs of Native Hawaiians," Hurley said. "This project help me to meet my kuleana of supporting my fellow Hawaiians while contributing to the campus I love."
To encourage viewership, Hurley recently introduced “New Release Mondays.” Each week a new work is posted and featured on the site. As the online presence increase, Hurley’s dream is to reach out to high school students to have them “join the conversation.”