Category Archives: Web Themes

The Merrie Monarch Festival Returns

By Koa Luke, ʻUluʻulu staff member

It’s that time of year again everyone is getting excited for the first in person Merrie Monarch Festival since the pandemic began. With this yearʻs passing of Kumu Johnny Lum Ho, we wanted to honor him and his hālau, Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua by curating clips from our Merrie Monarch collection featuring the kumu and the hālau. Please note, that there is more footage of the hālau in the collection than just the clips we are sharing in this post. You are always welcome to contact us to request seeing more!

Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua under the direction of Kumu Johnny Lum Ho

The Merrie Monarch [Festival 1983] : Coronation of a King

Always a favorite for their presentation of the moʻolelo including costumes, oli, and choreography here is Geola Puaʻs 1983 Miss Aloha Hula kahiko in honor of Pele.

The winners of the 21st annual Merrie Monarch Festival [1984]

Kumu Johnny Lum Ho and the hālau were always known for their edgy and groundbreaking performances that won them numerous awards. In this clip they win 2nd Place overall in the wāhine division in 1984, but that year they also won 3rd place in the wāhine kahiko division; fourth place in the ʻauana wāhine division; and 2nd place overall in the kāne division.

23rd Annual Merrie Monarch Winner Highlights [1986]

This clip begins with one of the Merrie Monarch founders and visionary George Naʻope speaking on the movements and feelings in hula but also includes Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua winning wāhine kahiko performance at the 23rd Annual Merrie Monarch festival [1986]. Youʻll see a closeup of a younger Johnny Lum Ho as he chants and keeps beat with the ipu heke. 

25th Merrie Monarch Festival Hula Kahiko [1988]

This clip features the hālau utilizing bunches of grass as implements as the mele is about lapu spirits dwelling in the grassland of Molokaʻi.

25th Merrie Monarch Festival Hula ʻAuana [1988]

Includes Keone Nunes speaking about his late kumu Darrell Lupenui and and beautiful hula ʻauana mele and hula by Hālau ʻO Ka Ua Kani Lehua honoring mama Lum Ho and her recollections about “all the exciting things she did in her life. Like catching the ʻŌʻō bird [to use for feather lei] with the sticky gum of the ʻulu tree and gathering maile in the Panaʻewa forest she made feather leis and flower leis and raised the orchids she’d wear in her hair.”


50th Anniversary Tribute to Earth Day!

This essay and the accompanying digital video theme page were written and curated by Sidney Louie and Haunani Haia as part of their Spring 2020 Library and Information Science course called LIS 658 Archival & Special Collections Management. Sidney and Haunani are graduate students in the LIS program at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa and are also Archive Project Assistants at ‘Ulu‘ulu.

“A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.”  – John James Audubon

When Earth Day was founded on April 22, 1970, environmental issues of pollution, depleting natural resources, and endangered species pervaded the news.  This global movement mobilized earth’s citizens to advocate regulatory legislation within their national and local governments.  Building the next generation of environmental stewards, educators developed curriculum and activities for community transformation.  Fifty years later, environmental protection issues are still being discussed with newer practices of sustainability, climate action, zero waste, and restoration.  

With a threat like the COVID 19 coronavirus pandemic, we are forced to re-evaluate our responsibilities to environmental sustainability. In the midst of this pandemic and enforced lockdowns across the planet we see the effects of less pollution being caused and the earth breathing again. Our connection and impact to the world is more powerful than anything else on earth. Today we see fish returning to the canals of Venice; views of the Himalayan Mountains in India which havenʻt been seen clearly visible in almost 30 years; and clean, clear skies in the U.S. and China. Although our fight for the environment is not over; a crisis like this helps to clear the fog of economic and social development. We all must do our part in protecting the earth and the environment for generations to come. 

The conservation efforts chronicled and recorded by our local filmmakers and videographers are available to view in ‘Uluʻulu’s collections in our Earth Day Theme Page.  These videos represent the wide breadth of Hawaiʻi’s natural resources. They show our interaction with the environment, reflecting Native Hawaiian culture with respect to indigenous plants, animals, land and water.  

May Earth Live : A Journey Through the Hawaiian Forest

The clips that we post are only about 10% of the full-length footage. So, if you find yourself wanting to know just how the rest of an interview or segment went in one of the clips, request the full-length video on the  “Ask an Archivist” button located at the bottom of every page on our website. If you click on that button, you can fill out the form.  Please indicate the title  name and number.  From there, we’ll be able to assist you in getting the full-length footage streamed directly to you.

Exploring Theme Pages

The last several months have been a whirlwind for us all. While the world learns to deal with the concept of “social distancing” we hope that everyone is able to find some bright spots in their abundance of “me time.” The ‘Ulu’ulu staff is largely working from home, at the moment, but there are still parts of our collection that you can access without contacting us directly. For example, if you haven’t gotten a chance to familiarize yourself with our website, please do! The clip collection, in particular, is a feature on our website that is meant to assist anyone interested in searching our collection for research or just for fun. It’s perfect for when you have some extra time on your hands.
Anyone can search the clip collection using the search bar that should be at the top of every page on our website. The clip collection is always growing and we also create themes to pull some of them together by topic. Some topics are entertaining and some are more solemn, but we try to encompass the breadth of our collection in these themes. Past themes have included The Merrie Monarch Festival, Wai (water rights), politicians, women’s history month, paniolo and so much more. We have continued creating theme pages and are aiming to release new ones regularly as more items from our collections are digitized.
theme page
From our home page you can follow the navigation link at the top right hand corner of the page that says “Explore,” and this will take you to the complete collection of Theme Pages. You can browse through all of them and even discover a jumping off point for learning more. The sampling of clips in our themes are not exhaustive, but we hope they are an enlightening introduction to the many facets of Hawai‘i that are preserved in our archive. Below, are the two most recent themes focusing on the Performing Arts in Hawai‘i and Food!

Performing Arts

The performing arts have always been a big part of the cultures of Hawai‘i. From Hula to comedy, everything we do is unique or has a unique spin on it. We thought this would be a terrific opportunity to highlight ‘Ulu’ulu’s growing collection of performing arts materials.
We added a corresponding web theme to share some of the many clips that are available on our website to view. This collection focuses on the performing arts legacy that Hawai‘i and its people have nurtured for generations. Because of its multitude of cultures, Hawai‘i has regularly churned out artists and performances that are distinctly its own. Included here are a combination of clips depicting dance, stage drama, comedy and musical performances.


We updated an older theme on food to include some of our more recently generated clips, as food is one of the most important facets of any group of people. We need it to survive, but we also consume and share certain foods as ways to celebrate life events, comfort ourselves and demonstrate pride in our heritage. Here is our updated, theme page with clips from our numerous collections showing some of the many aspects of food in Hawai’i, from gathering to production to enjoyment.
The clips that we post are only about 10% of the full-length footage. So, if you find yourself wanting to know just how the rest of an interview or segment went in one of the clips, there is the “Ask an Archivist” button the bottom of every page on our website. If you click on that button, you can fill out the form and let us know which clip you want to see more of. Try to give as much information as possible; the title and the title number are particularly helpful. From there, we’ll be able to assist you in getting the full-length footage streamed directly to you.
We hope that this additional knowledge helps boost understanding about the archive and what we do.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month and we decided to reflect on the resources in our archive that demonstrate and acknowledge the strength of women in Hawaii’s history. This selection of videos highlights the contributions of women and their engagement in changing the understanding of where women are situated within the social and political landscape of Hawaii.


Hanapbuhay Filipina: Looking for Work in Hawaii

Description: A look at Filipino immigrant women and their problems with finding suitable employment in Hawaiʻi.


Hannah Springer Interview May 30, 1995

Description: Hannah Springer interview May 30, 1995. Hannah discusses topics such as women in Hawaiian leadership roles, subsistence living, origin of Hawaiian pig hunting, transmission of Hawaiian knowledge, and tradition.


First Friday: The Unauthorized News: Native Women Poets (July 1991)

Description: Poetry Readings by Native Hawaiian Women Dana Naone Hall and Haunani-Kay Trask and Native American Woman Joy Harjo. The reading was presented on June 6, 1991.


Her Majesty: Lili’ukalani

Description: Documentary about Queen Liliʻuokalani and her life; before and after the overthrow. Features interviews with people who knew her intimately including Aunty Alice Namakelua.

View our web theme on WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH for more archival footage!

Archivist Picks: Volcanoes

Volcano Footage (Ted Shibuya collection)

Volcano Footage (Ted Shibuya collection)

With lava from Kilauea flowing toward Puna homes and Highway 130, photos and live footage are continuing to be shared on the news and on social networks. ‘Ulu‘ulu may not have footage of this flow in our collections just yet, but we do have archival footage of past Kilauea eruptions in our collections.

So, we thought we’d highlight a sample – including footage of the 1960, 1959 and 1955 flows as well as what looks to be footage of the 1924 eruption.

screenshot_title625Pele comes back to Puna, 1960
HKG Pilot : Lyman Museum and Mission House
1960 Kapoho Eruption of Kīlauea Volcano in Puna. Footage from January, February, and March is in three phases…

Title 679Kīlauea Iki Eruption, 1959
HKG Pilot : Lyman Museum and Mission House
– Footage of the summit eruption of Kīlauea Volcano, in Kīlauea Iki Crater.


Title 630Halemaʻumaʻu Volcano
HKG Pilot : Lyman Museum and Mission House
– Film container said “Halemaumau Volcano, 1924.” Footage of lava and steam, but also Hawaiʻi National Park signs describing volcano activity occuring as late as January 1932.

View our web theme on VOLCANOES for more archival footage!


Other Resources:
– SOEST website – “Historical Eruptions of Kilauea Volcano” Timeline
– USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) website – photos and video of the flow

Archivists Picks – Sports

Leeeet’s watch sports! Here in Hawai‘i, we love our home team, the University of Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors, continue to host major sporting events, like the Ironman Triathlon, Honolulu Marathon and PGA Tour tournaments, and are home to sports notables like Olympic champion Duke Kahanamoku. Oh yeah and we’re also the birthplace of surfing!

With football and volleyball seasons starting up, we thought this was the perfect time to highlight ‘Ulu‘ulu footage on sports. Check it out now in our new web theme:

Miscellaneous Sports : Sidelines '82 Football Highlights, KGMB Collection

Miscellaneous Sports : Sidelines ’82 Football Highlights, KGMB Collection

Want to go straight to the football footage, click the above image.

Can’t wait for that winter swell?
Click the image below to check out archival surf footage.

ENG File #431, KGMB Collection

ENG File #431, KGMB Collection

Our sports theme also includes clips of:

Archivist Picks – Hawaiian Sovereignty

With the topic of sovereignty being raised quite a bit in the news recently and with Lā Ho‘iho‘i Ea (Restoration Day) being celebrated this weekend (July 26), we decided to highlight some of the footage we have in our collections that are related to Hawaiian sovereignty.

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Hawaiian Sovereignty (February 1993), HKG Pilot Program Collection

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Hawaiian Sovereignty (February 1993), Pilot Program Collection

Topics discussed and events observed in the selected footage include the 1893 overthrow of Queen Lili‘uokalani and the 1898 (purported) annexation of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i. It should be pointed out that the footage we have covers an array of issues related to sovereignty for Hawai‘i, including efforts to stop the bombing of Kaho‘olawe and a number of First Friday episodes which detail the state-run Native Hawaiian plebiscite.

We also have a good amount of footage on Ka Lāhui Hawai‘i, mainly because members of that group, like Haunani-Kay Trask and Mililani Trask, hosted the First Friday program (which we acquired as part of our Pilot Program) and detail much of Ka Lāhui’s actions and viewpoints during the show. But, we also have digitized video of Kekuni Blaisdell, who was active in the Ka Pākaukau group, and of George Helm, Emmett Aluli and others from the Protect Kaho‘olawe ‘Ohana (PKO).

Her Majesty: Liliʻuokalani, Hawai'i Public Broadcast Collection

Her Majesty: Liliʻuokalani, Hawaiʻi Public Broadcast Collection

For those less familiar with the ongoing struggle for Hawaiian sovereignty… Many, if not all, in the sovereignty movement agree that the overthrow was illegal; however, there have been various actions proposed to address the issue and the debate continues as to a solution to the injustice. It could be argued that the sovereignty movement was started by the Queen and her supporters immediately after the 1893 overthrow. But, the modern sovereignty movement coincides with the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s and was especially strong in the 1990s with the anniversaries of the overthrow and the annexation in 1993* and 1998 respectively.

* We’re currently digitizing footage of the 1993 ‘Onipa‘a event held at ‘Iolani Palace on the 100th anniversary of the overthrow of the Queen. We’re hoping to be able to add these videos to our website later this year. Email us (uluulu at for more info.

View Hawaiian Sovereignty Theme

Archivist Picks: Wai ~ Water

Water is life… film as a tool for outreach on water struggles

Water is believed to be a physical manifestation of Kāne, who is considered one of the four major gods in Hawai‘i. In light of this spiritual belief, no one had ownership over water in traditional society, not even the ali‘i. Instead, laws were created to manage water as a community resource.

However, with the increased settlement by foreigners from 1778 onwards, water became a growing concern. Enticed by Hawai‘i’s location and climate, foreigners flocked to Hawai‘i to establish their businesses and sugar and pineapple plantations spread across the Islands. With the growing demand for water and irrigation, ditch systems were introduced to transport millions upon millions of gallons of water from windward communities to the plantations. For decades, water diversions for sugar interests have stunted native life and Hawaiian communities that rely on freshwater streams; as D. Kapua‘ala Sproat reminds us in Ola I Ka Wai: A Legal Primer for Water Use and Management in Hawai‘i, “pu‘ali kalo i ka wai ‘ole – taro, for lack of water, grows misshapen.”

Irrigation. Lyman Museum & Mission House subcollection

Irrigation (circa 1920s). Lyman Museum & Mission House subcollection

Fast forward to the 1990s… As plantation after plantation began to shut down, conflicts over the distribution and use of water were brought to the forefront. Issues of ahupua‘a management, particularly the importance of water for kalo farming and for the health of marine life and the environment overall, were raised by Hawaiians and interest groups who advocated for the restoration of streamflows.

Perhaps one of the most well-known efforts is the Waiāhole-Waikāne water struggle over the diversion of water from east O‘ahu after the close of Oahu Sugar. The Waiāhole-Waikāne case is important for Hawaiians and for Hawai‘i because it resulted in the first return of water to Hawai‘i’s streams. The case is discussed in numerous articles and publications, including a multivolume text, titled “A History of Water: The world of water,” which acknowledges the significance of this water struggle at a global level.

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Waiāhole Water (September 1994). Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies subcollection

First Friday : The Unauthorized News : Waiāhole Water (September 1994). Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies subcollection

But, what’s noteworthy about Waiāhole-Waikāne (at least in relation to our work at ‘Ulu‘ulu) is the role of film in “providing voices and context for traditional Hawaiian water management” and subsequently educating Hawai‘i and the world about the importance of water:

“The internet has been an important means of disseminating information about the underlying basis for the windward position and updates on the status of the Waiāhole conflict… Other forums have also been used to address traditional Hawaiian ideas about water as they relate to the conflict over the waters of Waiahole and other windward O‘ahu streams… One of the most direct means of outreach, however, has been through the media of film. Movies with titles such as Ahupua‘a, Fishponds, and Lo‘i (1992), Hard Taro of Waiāhole (1995), and Stolen Waters (1997) were produced by the organization Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina [and]… underscore the need to let water remain in the streams of origin by providing voices and context for traditional Hawaiian water management. As a movie, its message has the potential to reach a diverse and wide audience within the archipelago, throughout the Pacific, and on the mainland.” – Oestigaard and Tvedt p. 45-46.

Thus, the appeal of film presented (and continues to present) a powerful medium for outreach on water. And, as evidenced by other films produced by Nā Maka o ka ‘Āina and others like Victoria Keith Productions, film (and video) provides an excellent medium for education about Hawaiian culture and for the issues facing our communities then and now.

Two Green Valleys (1976). Victoria Keith Productions Collection

Two Green Valleys (1976). Victoria Keith Productions Collection

The new theme on Water on our ‘Ulu‘ulu website includes footage from First Friday episodes with water resources researcher George Hudes and taro farmer Herbert Hoe from Waiāhole discussing the Waiāhole-Waikāne water case, water codes, the Water Commission, and the advantages of stream restoration. The theme also includes clips of a sugar irrigation system ditch, a Kaua‘i ditch (with footage of an interview on water rights), and a clip of what looks to be people working at the Waihe‘e Ditch.

Battles over water persist today. So, it is important to understand the history of water rights in Hawai‘i. Ola i ka wai, water is the life giving source!
View our Wai Theme here.

Ola I Ka Wai: A Legal Primer for Water Use and Management in Hawai‘i, by D. Kapua‘ala Sproat.

Oestigaard, Terje and T. Tvedt, ed. A History of Water: The world of water, vol. 3. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.
Excerpts available on GoogleBooks: