Four cohorts of students from the Kūʻula Integrated Science class in the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Marine Science program have been invited by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Marine Program to open the Marine World Heritage Reception on September 5. The reception is part of the Internal Union of Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress (IUCN WCC) that will be held in Honolulu September 1-10.
The Kūʻula students will present a chant and hula describing human relationships with the ocean and coral reefs. One of these chants, Uku ʻĀkoʻakoʻa, was composed specifically for Kūʻula by Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, the director of Hawaiian Culture and Protocols Engagement for UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College through the Uluākea Program. The students presented the same chant and hula to open the International Coral Reef Symposium in Honolulu attended by 2,500 people in July.
Kū’ula students integrate western and Native Hawaiian scientific knowledge and research methodologies to understand the environment of Hawai’i. Their research has enabled them to establish personal and meaningful connections to the places they study, which have included Midway Atoll and Ha’ena, Kaua’i. Most Kū’ula graduates have gone on to graduate schools or to jobs in natural resource management and education.
“This is a significant achievement for our students majoring in natural sciences, Hawaiian Studies, and social sciences, who worked together through the Kūʻula class experience,” said Dr. Misaki Takabayashi, professor, marine science. “The recognition they are receiving is well-deserved.”
For more information about Kūʻula, contact Takabayashi at 932-7095 or email