One of a Kind Hawaiian Language Program Launches

One of a Kind Hawaiian Language Program Launches

INPEACE Develops “Basic Hawaiian” Pilot for a New Generation of Learners

Kapolei, Hawai‘i — The Institute for Native Pacific Education & Culture (INPEACE) is proud to announce a $775,661.00 (3-year) grant to create a Web-based pilot project to transition Native Hawaiians from knowing hundreds of words, phrases, songs and chants to being able to converse in Hawaiian.

“Basic Hawaiian will make learning to speak our language easy and fun,” said Dr. Kū Kahakalau, Program Director for the newly launched INPEACE project. “Using the latest in digital technology, our activities and lessons will be designed to involve the whole family or any group of learners, such as co-workers at Hawaiian organizations, or even students in a traditional classroom, who want to become speakers of Hawaiian.

“The program is the first of its kind for Hawaiian language learners — and will engage small groups of multi-age learners in fun, culturally-driven activities and interactive exercises, including cooking, playing games and listening to Hawaiian stories, without unnecessarily complicating lessons with intense grammar instruction,” said Dr. Kanoe Nāone, INPEACE Chief Executive Officer.

The grant from the Administration for Native Americans within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Children and Families is a three-year project that will produce an interactive, research-based teaching tool designed specifically for Hawaiians that can be accessed worldwide.

“Our data show that more than 90 percent of Native Hawaiians want to learn more Hawaiian than they know,” explained Dr. Nāone. “Our objective is to take them from an average conversational proficiency rating of one or two, to a third level language proficiency, where they are “mākaukau”, or equipped with the basics skills to engage in everyday conversations.

By enrolling in four 20-week courses students will be able to improve conversational skills, build their vocabulary to over 1,000 Hawaiian words and over 400 phrases, proverbs, chants and songs. All lessons will be reinforced with pictures and or video, text and sound, as well as a variety of fun activities and games for learners of all ages.

For the past 25 years, Dr. Kahakalau has been a leader in cultural education and language. She developed a successful bi-lingual Pedagogy of Aloha, which has enabled thousands of Hawaiian students to reach their highest potential in an atmosphere of aloha and mutual respect.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Kahakalau to our team. Her experience as a native Hawaiian practitioner, educator, scholar, researcher, Hawaiian language and culture expert and composer is invaluable,” said Dr. Nāone.

“This latest endeavor involves a radically new, fun way of learning Hawaiian language, based on decades of action research. Our approach is culturally driven and family-oriented and aligns with both ancient methods, as well as the latest in language learning,” explained Dr. Kahakalau. “I am excited to embark on this new journey with INPEACE by creating a way that makes learning Hawaiian fun and easy and builds on the assets of the entire ‘ohana – thereby empowering Hawaiians of all ages to enjoy speaking our mother tongue again.”

Pilot testing with Hawaiian families and organizations, as well as Hawaiian-focused charter schools, will begin in fall 2013, with the full program scheduled for worldwide launch in summer of 2015. For more information, please contact Dr. Kahakalau at 808-775-0867 or e-mail her at

*NOTE TO MEDIA: Dr. Kahakalau is available for in-person (Hawaiʻi Island) this week (September 5-7, 2012) and for in-person (Oʻahu) interviews next week Monday – Wednesday (September 10-12, 2012). She is available for phone interviews at any time.

To view the entire story on the basic Hawaiian language project, log onto KHON


INPEACE is a Native Hawaiian early childhood, workforce development and cultural land stewardship agency serving communities with high concentrations of Native Hawaiians. They are dedicated to improving the quality of life for Native Hawaiians through community partnerships that provide educational opportunities and promote self-sufficiency. Central to our commitment is the preservation and promotion of our culture and heritage through education.