Kapiʻolani CC celebrates installation of Hawaiian Star Compass

Opening ceremony to be held at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 10 at the Great Lawn, Kapi'olani CC

Kapiʻolani Community College
Dennis Kawaharada, (808) 734-9372
Associate Professor, Languages, Linguistics and Literature
Susan Lee, (808) 956-5852
Marketing & Communications Director, Office of the VP for Community Colleges
Posted: Sep 7, 2011

Hawaiian Star Compass
Hawaiian Star Compass

HONOLULU—Kapiʻolani Community College celebrates the completed installation of a 26-foot-diameter Hawaiian Star Compass—a modern edifice of the revered Polynesian wayfinding traditions—with an opening ceremony on Saturday, September 10, 2011, at 5:30 p.m. on the grounds of Kapi'olani Community College. Held in conjunction with the Polynesian Voyaging Society's fundraiser "Malama Hōkūle'a," the opening ceremony will feature a chant by Kapi'olani CC Hawaiian Language Professor Kawika Napoleon and a hula pahu performed by staff member Lehua Gaison-Tyler and two dancers.

Hōkūle'a Navigator Nainoa Thompson will speak about the development, design and use of the Compass, and honor two of his teachers who were instrumental in its development: Mau Piailug, the navigator from Satawal Micronesia who taught Thompson to navigate without instruments and who passed away in 2010; and retired UH Associate Professor Will Kyselka, who taught Thompson about the night sky at the Bishop Museum Planetarium.

"To see the Hawaiian Star Compass on our campus is phenomenal," says Kapi'olani CC Chancellor Leon Richards. "It is a source of strength for some, and an inspiration to many."

"The compass symbolizes the educational journey students will take with the knowledge that they are being guided by the wisdom of an ancient past. We feel that this star compass found itself here so it could resonate with Queen Kapi'olani's motto," said Richards.

The mosaic Hawaiian Star Compass is the first of its kind to be installed on a University of Hawai'i campus, and it will be used as a teaching tool for the Kapi'olani CC Hawaiian language and studies programs and related courses. 

"It's wonderful that the university recognizes and values the importance of traditional knowledge and has created this learning tool for all those who would want to know and learn about Hawai'i's great ocean traditions," says Thompson. "So, it's an honor for us as a voyaging community." 

In explaining the impact of this navigational tool on the community, Thompson says: "The Hawaiian star compass is the most important fundamental construct that is used and needed to make the entire navigational system work. All of navigation is based on the principles and design of the star compass, which comes from the teachings of Mau Piailug. Everything in navigation is directly connected and related to it. It really is a testament to the genius of our ancestors. So it's an honor to have the star compass being used as an educational tool at Kapi‘olani Community College."

The public is invited to attend the opening ceremony and the Polynesian Voyaging Society "Malama Hōkūle'a" event, featuring "talk story" sessions with Hōkūle'a crew members, video presentations, music and entertainment by Danny Carvalho, Kawika Kahiapo, Mike Kaawa, Weldon Kekauoha and Ernie Cruz, Jr.  Tickets to this fundraiser are $25 per person. Visit http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/index.html for more details and ticket information.

For more information, visit: http://pvs.kcc.hawaii.edu/index.html