Category Archives: Recent Acquisitions

‘Ulu‘ulu 2019 Annual Newsletter


From all of us here at ‘Ulu‘ulu to all of you – we wish you the very best in the coming New Year! Since we sent out our last “year ender” two years ago, well, we have much to share.

ʻUluʻulu is not just your typical archive. It preserves, educates and participates. The Academy for Creative Media System concluded an agreement with Disney Animation in the summer of 2017 to translate Disney’s Moana into the Hawaiian language. With ACM System’s Director Chris Lee at the helm, the work continued throughout 2018 culminating with a world premiere on the beach at the ‘Aulani, A DIsney Resort & Spa followed by screenings at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival 2018 and on the Great Lawn of the Bishop Museum. UHWO ACM partnered with ʻUluʻulu, Awaiaulu, Mele Studios at Honolulu Community College and UH Manoa’s Department of Theater and Dance among others to make this a successful effort.

In 2018, ‘Uluʻulu continued to grow with many new collections. One was the partnership with Bishop Museum, holder of one of the largest film collections in the state. The transfer will take a few years as staff from both institutions work carefully to prepare the thousands of film reels for the move from Kalihi to Kapolei. Within the collection is a small number of nitrate films from the early 1900s. Cellulose nitrate based films were produced in the early 20th century until 1952 and are combustible under certain temperatures and so are a priority for preservation. While attending the Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA) Conference in November of 2019, Assistant Archivist for Processing Hōkū Kaʻahaʻaina completed the Nitrate Shipping and Packing Workshop and is now the only certified technician in the state that can safely pack and ship these films.

2019 was also a very special year. It marked our ten year anniversary since our first grant award was received to create ‘Uluʻulu. We celebrated with a fabulous “fun-raiser” on the Great Lawn of the Bishop Museum where we honored collection donors and supporters.  Hawaii News Now’s Rick Blangiardi was the Event Chair and ‘Iolani Palace Executive Director Paula Akana was our Emcee. We are grateful for the support of so many including the Hawaiʻi State Legislature who helped to make this incredible educational facility possible.

In terms of special collections in 2019, we were honored to become the official caretakers of the Merrie Monarch Festival video content. We were also the recipient of the cinematic legacy of George Tahara, a prolific filmmaker who directed from the 1930s through the 1970s. His special interest was Hawaiian legends but in his lifetime he produced many projects from his days with the U.S. military producing war bond films during World War II, to educational documentaries that a generation of students watched in Hawai‘i classrooms.

We ended the year with a HIFF 2019 screening of newly transferred 16mm footage about the making of the tapestries which hang on the walls of the Senate and House chambers in the State Capitol.

All of this and more can be found on our website! Be sure to check it out!

We’d like to take a moment to share some of our accomplishments from 2018 and 2019 with you. Click here to view the ‘Ulu‘ulu 2019 Annual Newsletter report on our new collections, digital preservation projects, television and film premieres and more!

Mahalo nui loa for your support!

New Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana collection

We’re excited to share that we’ve received about 80 items from the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO). The collection includes raw footage, edited materials, and documents related to the activities of the PKO from the 1970s through the 1990s. The majority of videotapes are ½ EIAJ videotapes and VHS. From what we’ve learned thus far, it looks like these include footage of community meetings in Hāna, Kaunakakai, Kailua-Kona, Hilo, Lāna‘i City, at Kaua‘i Community College, and elsewhere around Hawai‘i. We’ll be taking a closer look at these in the coming weeks, so we’ll be able to gather more complete details and research on the contents.

For those who might not be familiar with the ‘Ohana, the PKO is a grassroots organization dedicated to the island of Kaho‘olawe and the principles of Aloha ‘Āina throughout Hawai‘i. The organization was instrumental in stopping the bombing of Kaho‘olawe and in the return of the island from the United States military in 1994. Even today, nearly forty years after carrying out its first occupation of the island (which attracted national attention), the PKO continues to work actively to restore the health of Kaho‘olawe by revitalizing its natural and cultural resources. Many well-known individuals were members and leaders of the PKO, including Harry Mitchell, Kimo Mitchell, George Helm, Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli, Loretta Ritte, Scarlett Ritte, Walter Ritte, Davianna McGregor and Collette Machado.

While we haven’t yet finished processing the collection, we wanted to share our excitement and let you know about this new collection. Check our website for updates and feel free to email us (uluulu at for more information.

For more info on the PKO and on Kaho‘olawe, visit the PKO’s website ( and the Kaho‘olawe Reserve Commission’s website (

Meleanna Aluli Meyer Collection

‘Ulu‘ulu is pleased to announce our latest acquisition, the Meleanna Aluli Meyer Collection. The collection includes original 16mm motion picture film reels and sound recordings created during the production of the documentary film Puamana in 1989-1991. Produced by Meyer, Puamana features interviews, songs and performances by Irmgard Farden Aluli, one of Hawai‘i’s most loved and influential musical composers.



This acquisition is a timely one, as it comes very soon after the passing of noted documentary filmmaker Les Blank, who directed and shot the film, his only production in Hawai‘i. Meyer recalled an early meeting with Blank at his home in Berkeley, in which she saw several arrangements of flowers in all corners of the house. She instantly knew that anyone who could appreciate and fill their home with so much natural beauty was the person to capture the story of Puamana and Auntie Irmgard that Meyer envisioned.

The approximately 40 hours of raw footage, audio and outtakes are a unique resource that will be available to researchers for the first time, and ‘Ulu‘ulu is honored to be their caretaker.


Meleanna Aluli Meyer with ‘Ulu‘ulu crew

Happy Holidays!

Christmas came early to ‘Ulu‘ulu this year as we’ve recently acquired the KITV Collection which includes programming and news footage of events like the Merrie Monarch Festival and specials like The Don Ho Christmas Show.

The Don Ho Christmas Show (1967), KITV Collection

The Don Ho Christmas Show (1967), KITV Collection

Preserving and archiving this footage is important because it informs future generations and researchers about trends and cultural and political events from different time periods in Hawaiʻi. We are excited to have this material in our collection.

The archives will be closed during the UH West Oahu Winter Break starting December 17 and will reopen on January 2, 2013.

Whatever your ʻohana’s traditions — Happy Holidays from the ‘Ulu‘ulu crew!

happy holidays 2012 small

ʻIolani Palace Collection

We would like to introduce you to a recent ʻUluʻulu acquisition: The ʻIolani Palace Collection from the Friends of ʻIolani Palace.


Film cans from the ʻIolani Palace Collection

Label on film reel from the ʻIolani Palace collection

Label on film reel from the ʻIolani Palace Collection

King Kālakauaʻs vision for Hawaiʻi can be seen through the architecture and building of ʻIolani Palace. Built as a statement to the world and infused with Hawaiian symbols to establish his trust with the people, the palace is a hybrid of Hawaiian and western worldviews. The palace had fallen into disrepair after being used as government offices during the various governing eras of the Provisional Government, the Republic of Hawaiʻi and the Territory of Hawaiʻi. In the late 1960s after the government offices moved to the new Capitol Building, the restoration process on the palace began. This collection includes 156 tapes and motion picture film reels documenting the restoration process and events like the Centennial Jubilee and Regatta. These materials will soon be available to researchers and demonstrate the mission of ʻIolani Palace: “to preserve, restore, interpret, share, and celebrate the unique cultural, historical, and spiritual qualities of ʻIolani Palace and its grounds for the benefit of native Hawaiians, the people of Hawaiʻi and the world.”  As the palace stands as an important site for Hawaiians and others, we take this responsibility of the care and preservation of this collection with great honor.

For more about the history of the restoration of ʻIolani Palace, visit their website.

By Koa Luke

Pacific Islanders in Communication Collection

We are proud to announce our newest acquisition from the Pacific Islanders in Communication (PIC).  Established in 1991, the mission of PIC is to support, advance, and develop Pacific Island media content and talent that results in a deeper understanding of Pacific Island history, culture, and contemporary challenges. The acquired collection includes the final cuts and raw materials for productions such as, Holo Mai Pele, Nā Kamalei -The Men of Hula, Then There were None, One Voice and many more.

The Hawaiʻi International Film Festival kicks off tonight! Make sure to check out some great films sponsored by PIC :

Jake Shimabukuro: Life On Four Strings

The Land of Eb

Nova- Mystery of Easter Island

Nuclear Savage

Sione’s 2: Unfinished Business

Sound of Crickets at Night

Ua Mau Ke Ea: Sovereignty Endures

Pacific Shorts Showcase