Mālama honua:
Bridging traditional knowledge and
modern science through observation

Haunani Kane

Coastal Geology Group

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

May 16, 2018
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

In June 2017, Hōkūle‘a—a traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoe—completed a three year voyage around the world sharing the message of mālama honua (translated as “to care for island Earth”). The voyage bridged traditional knowledge and modern science to communicate the changing conditions of our islands and oceans. The ‘ōlelo no‘eau (Hawaiian proverb), ka wā ma mua, ka wā ma hope (“time in front, time in back”) describes the value of looking to the past to solve current and future dilemmas. Inspired by this ‘ōlelo no‘eau and Hōkūle‘a the Coastal Geology Group’s research investigates a former sea-level event known as the mid-Holocene highstand. Analysis of island sediment and fossil reef cores improves understandings of the implications of sea-level change upon island stability. Our research calls upon the importance of understanding an islands sea-level history to interpret island habitability during initial colonization and into the future.

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