7 Jul 2019

NAISA panel discussions: Spaces of Kanaka Maoli Resurgence

From Te Ahi Kaa, 6:04 pm on 7 July 2019
Professor Mary Tuti Baker, Tina Grandinetti, Makana Kushi and Kyle Kajihiro, NAISA 2019

Professor Mary Tuti Baker, Tina Grandinetti, Makana Kushi and Kyle Kajihiro, NAISA 2019 Photo: RNZ/Justine Murray

The University of Waikato hosted Academics and Scholars from around the world at this years NAISA (Native American and Indigenous Studies Association) conference. The organisation is dedicated to Critical Indigenous Studies and was held over four days. Academics presented their research and dissertations on a range of issue and topics that impact Indigenous people while also highlighting the resurgence of Indigenous cultural practices.

Baker’s work is largely focussed on how Kanaka Maoli can share and cultivate knowledge and the concept of Kipuka Aloha Āina as places where resurgence is realised between resistance and kukulu or the building and recreating indigenous spaces.

Aloha Circle: every workday begins with an aloha circle.

Aloha Circle: every workday begins with an aloha circle. Photo: www.hoouluaina.com

“The work that I am engaged in comes out of Puholu Aina which is a Kipua on the edge of eurban honolulu te practise of Maoli placed ethics of care on a one hundred acre garden, that’s part of Kokua Kalihi valley (KKV) – Comprehensive Family Services service that was built by and for working class community in Kalihi valley and it’s a health centre, but is more than a health centre” – Professor Baker says.

Kokua Kalihi Valley in urban Honolulu offer medical and dental services but it extends to the holistic approach in working with local people of their community, Professor Baker discusses their work as an example of Indigenous Ideology.

Tina Grandinetti is based at RMIT University in Melbourne and presented her dissertation Aloha Āina in the Face of Urban Dispossession. Her research focusses on the Pu’uhonua o Waikanae, the refuge of Wai’anae, a community of two hundred residents who live in makeshift homes on the edge of Wai’anae boat harbour.  

Hoʻoulu ʻĀina, a kīpuka on the edge of urban Honolulu, practices Maoli place-based ethics of care.

Hoʻoulu ʻĀina, a kīpuka on the edge of urban Honolulu, practices Maoli place-based ethics of care. Photo: Mary Tuti Baker

Kipuka Aloha Aina is the expression and practice of love of land and as Grandinetti explains in her research. Kipuka Aloha Aina combined with a tight knit community living on the fringes of society is an example of self-determination. Meanwhile, large buildings in the heart of the city sit vacant in the midst of increasing homelessness in Oahu. Grandinetti’s research into Pu’uhonua o Waianae found communal living lead by Twinkle Borge is an example of self-determination.