Vā Kōrero: Ty P. Kāwika Tengan

Vā Moana was thrilled to host Professor Ty P. Kāwika Tengan, who was visiting from Hawaiʻi, for a Vā Kōrero. We had a fantastic turnout in the Pacific Space here at AUT, a place on campus for Pacific researchers and students.

Professor Tengan presented ‘Kū ‘o Wākea i ka Wā: Expanding Hawaiian Time and Space on the Mauna’, a paper co-authored with Dr. Kalei Nuʻuhiwa. Their paper explores ways that contemporary Kanaka ‘Ōiwi (Native Hawaiians) engage and reconceptualise wā through genealogical returns to Wākea, particularly in the movement to protect Mauna a Wākea (Mauna Kea). The Mauna movement, and the historical research that has accompanied it, has created a new set of understandings and practices of wā among Hawaiians and those who have stood in solidarity with the Mauna (including Tongan, Samoan, Māori and other Moana kin). Taking as their point of departure the daily ‘aha ceremonies held to restore ancestral connections across time and space, Tengan and Nu’uhiwa look to the Hawaiian language archive for insights on wā derived from the oral traditions of the chief-cum-deity, Wākea. Ty will connect these aspects of wā to the 2022 short film E Mālama Pono, Willy Boy by Scott W Kekama Amona.

Ty Kawika Tengan, a Professor of Ethnic Studies and Anthropology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, has researched Hawaiian masculinities, sovereignty, land, militarism, identity, museums, heritage, football, and Native Pacific culture and politics. He works within the Hawai’ian community, especially with the Hale Mua o Kūali‘i organisation, the ‘Aha Kāne foundation and carries out ‘Aha Kāne Makahiki ceremonies celebrating the cultural and spiritual significance of Lono and the fertility of the land. He co-edited the book New Mana: Transformations of a classic concept in Pacific languages and cultures (ANU Press 2016) and Native Men Remade: Gender and Nation in Contemporary Hawai'i (Duke University Press 2008). He is an associate investigator on our Marsden Funded research Vā Moana: Space and Relationality in Pacific Thought and Identity (Marsden funded research, 2019-2022).

Vā Kōrero operates as a quarterly platform to support the research and practice of cluster members and our extended network. Affiliates, candidates, and wider whānau are invited to share in ceremony, food, and presentations of research; to engage with and seek support/mentorship from knowledge holders, senior academics, and artists alike.

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