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Hawaii’s Legacy of Literacy: Puakea Nogelmeier at TEDxManoa

Puakea Nogelmeier is a Professor of Hawaiian language at the University of Hawaiʻi, Mānoa, where he has taught for 28 years. His BAs in Hawaiian language and Anthropology, his MA in Pacific Islands Studies and PhD in Anthropology were all completed at UH, while beyond the university, he trained for decades in learning Hawaiian language, traditional dance, chant and literature.

He has gone through formal training and ceremonial graduation (ʻūniki) as both a dancer (ʻōlapa) and a teacher of the dance (kumu hula). A prolific composer of Hawaiian poetry in both traditional and modern styles, his compositions are widely published and recorded. Dr. Nogelmeier works extensively with the various Hawaiian-language archives and is active in rearticulating historical Hawaiian knowledge into fields of study today, producing translations, new presentations and reprintings of archival materials for publication and dissemination.

He is the Executive Director of Awaiaulu, training translators and researchers to work with Hawaiian legacy materials and generating access for modern audiences to historical resources. For the last two decades, Hawaiian-language newspapers have been one of his central fields of research and study. Puakea came to Hawaiʻi from Minnesota as an 18-year-old, and not being Hawaiian, has spent most of his adult life learning from respected elders and native speakers who fostered his ever-growing interest in and respect for Hawaiʻi, its people, and Hawaiian knowledge. Puakea lives in Kalihi, Oʻahu.