Pacific Spaces International Lecture Series: Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu

Pacific Spaces International Lecture Series present Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, American Studies.

The Kū-ratorial Practice of Nation-Building

The Hawaiian word for museum is Hale Ho‘ike‘ike – literally display house, but ‘ike does not only mean ‘to see’, it instead encompasses other ways of knowing, feeling, and understanding, of sensory perception and spiritual revelations. Increasingly museums are engaged with indigenous communities in transforming once rigid colonial spaces into dynamic engaging living arenas where the past intersects, informs and enlivens the present. This presentation will focus on the ho‘ina or return of several significant Hawaiian cultural treasures, including two Ku temple god images and the chiefly adornments of ali‘i nui Kalaniopu’u, to the shores of Hawai‘i well over a century of separation. Such returns were predicated on significant cross-cultural negotiations and conversations but also facilitated by active indigenous intervention and agency. The presentation will examine how the return of these ancestral items arrived at critical moments of community engagement around the issues of Hawaiian kuleana (responsibility) and ea (sovereignty) and how they continue to contribute to a collective community consciousness.

Noelle M.K.Y. Kahanu | ‘Oiwi/Native Hawaiian

Noelle joined the American Studies Department in 2016 as an Assistant Specialist in Public Humanities and Native Hawaiian Programs. Of Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, and Scottish descent, she received her BA in Political Science from the University of Hawai‘i and her JD from the William S. Richardson School of Law in 1992.

She was a curator at the Bishop Museum for 17 years and was instrumental in the 2010 landmark exhibition, E Kū Ana Ka Paia, an international gathering of the last three Kū temple images in the world. In 2010, Noelle completed a decade-long film project, “Under a Jarvis Moon,” which was nominated for a Halekulani Best Documentary award from the Hawaii International Film Festival and has been shown locally and nationally.

Wednesday 15 June 2016
3.00pm – 5pm
WW201 | 7 Mount Street | AUT Wellesley Campus

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