Hawaiian History lives on Instagram


Photo by Instagram post by Michelle Nakashima

Hawaiian History class is using Instagram to make their learning meaningful. This is an example posting from @kaniuula: “He lawai‘a no ke papa‘u, he pokole ke aho; he lawai‘a no ke kai hohonu he loa ke aho – ‘Ōlelo No‘eau (A fisherman of shallow sea uses only a short line; a fisherman of the deep sea uses a long line) My mana‘o: the explanation to me is that “you will reach only as far as you aim and prepare yourself to reach.” Obviously Pa‘ao had big things in mind when migrating to Hawaii‘i. He prepared well… P.s. This is the canoe I made this weekend for class ft. Galaxy bath bomb.”

Hawaiian History, a Kamehameha Schools Maui class, has joined 500 million Instagram users by creating a class page that is run by the students. Kumu Kapulani Antonio is behind @kaniuula and hopes this will be the beginning of a new tool in education at KS.

Throughout the school year, Hawaiian History students are assigned to post a short summary with a relevant picture about one of four class units- indigenous past, colonization, decolonization, and indigenous futures.

“Kaniuʻula serves as a platform for us to share, with others around the world, what we learn in Kumu Kapulani’s class about our Hawaiian history,” Dayle “Kaulike” Pescaia said. “It helps us…be creative with our words when we summarize every manaʻo of each kiʻi we post.”

Kumu Kapulani was inspired to create @kaniuula after being exposed to @poptourshawaii, by her daughter, ‘Iolani (’08), who is an alumna of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and now teaches at the University of Hawai’i Maui College.

“Pop tours Hawai’i has students post about various events that happened during colonization with the goal of knowing where they come from,” she said.

The next step was to create an Instagram name. “Ka Niu ʻUla” translates to “The Red Coconut.” This refers to Maui chief Kahekili’s warriors before Kamehameha united the Hawaiian islands.

Kahanu Haake said that “@kaniuula helps us take what we learned from past lessons and incorporates it into something we do every day.”

As new classes begin, Kumu Kapulani hopes to keep @kaniuula in her curriculum while changing the posting requirements to keep new material going up on the page.

“It’s neat that social media can be used as a learning tool and put information out in an artful way,” she said.

@kaniuula is public for all to read.

“We need followers,” Kumu Kapulani said.