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
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.
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 . Youʻll see a closeup of a younger Johnny Lum Ho as he chants and keeps beat with the ipu heke.
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.”
Please help us give a warm welcome to our first in-person intern in over two years, Jon Snyder! Jon has already been with us for about five weeks, but he has several more weeks to go and we would love to introduce him to you. He has agreed to do a brief interview with us to share a little bit about himself and his time with us so far. Welcome Jon! We’re happy to have you!
My name is Jon Snyder, I am pursuing my Bachelors Degree in English here at The University of Hawai’i West Oahu. I am the perfect example of that old saying “Jack of all trades, master of none,” as I have held many different jobs and hobbies. I enjoy attempting to create music and playing with sound editors. I also have a small book collection of about 400 books. At different points in my life I have been a courier for a local mortuary, a sign maker, and member of a punk band that opened for Blink-182 at the Blaisdell arena. Most recently I have been working at the Leeward Community College Library as a Reference Student Assistant.
What brought you here to ‘Ulu‘ulu? What are some of the things you’re hoping to learn during your internship with us?
The idea of doing an internship with an archive was planted in my mind when I began classes at UHWO in 2016 by Dr. Brenda Machosky. Through our conversations after class she realized that with my personal experiences and academic work ethic, that I would be a perfect match for something like this. When it came time to begin looking for an internship for the practicum, I wanted to find something that was not only interesting, but also on campus. ‘Ulu’ulu was the first and obvious choice. Aside from learning how an archive functions and what its purpose is, I would like to see how an archive, such as this one, can not only help to preserve the past but also service the future.
What projects are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu?
I have been working with Hōkū and just finished creating the preliminary inventory for the films and tapes that have come in for the 100th Infantry Battalion. I have also been involved with preparing ʻUluʻulu video clips for website migration with Robbie. Both projects are interesting in their own ways. For me, it is interesting to see how a collection is handled at the beginning phase of its inclusion to the collections here. The interesting part of the website clip migration has been seeing the clips from the past. At times I have to stop myself from trying to see where the clip might be from and seeing how the location has changed over time.
Is there anything about the items you are working with that is surprising or unexpected?
One aspect that surprised me was how much has to be done to a film or tape before a student or a researcher might even see it. It is not like archives are depicted in movies where someone just walks into the space and begins rummaging around. Everything has a name, number, and location. I really think working at Leewardʻs library has been an advantage for me in understanding how this aspect of an archive works.
One unexpected thing actually happened the other day. While I was being shown how to examine film that has been donated, we noticed that this particular film had sound on it. I remarked that the sound resembled what a waveform looks like on a computer. To my surprise, I was told that that is pretty much exactly what it is. A lot of little things from my personal interests have seemed to find a use while I am here. I really enjoy learning by doing, and thankfully everyone here has trusted me with being hands on.
Now, that you’ve been at the archive for a few weeks have you found a favorite aspect?
I think the thing that I like the most is that there does not seem to be a ton of pressure in the process, even though I know that everyplace has their own deadlines to meet. The preservation process can be time consuming, but since the focus is on making sure that what is coming in is usable and can eventually be digitized, it is understood why some things may take longer than others. I really like the emphasis on preservation here. It is almost the same reason why I like libraries. If you think of every book in a library as being an idea, the library is sort of a repository for ideas. That same feeling is present here at ʻUluʻulu, except the medium being preserved involves moving images. In both examples, the people working at a library and at this archive are working toward a common goal of preserving the past in order to inform the future.
Do you have any advice for future ‘Ulu’ulu Interns?
Since being a Humanities intern is not so typical for ʻUluʻulu, I would say that it is important to approach anything and everything with an open mind. I have found that even though my major is not typically associated with this kind of work, there is still a lot that I can relate from my schooling to this kind of archival work. If I had to use an analogy I would say, just try to be like a dry sponge and soak up all you can. You never know what may influence your direction in life.
ʻUluʻulu is saying goodbye to our project assistant, Sidney Louie. After three years and graduating from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with her masters degree in Library and Information Science she will be moving to the Honolulu Museum of Art as their archivist. We asked Sidney to do a quick interview with us before she headed out on her last day.
How did you learn about ‘Ulu‘ulu and why did you decide to work here?
When I left my longtime job in media, I thought about my next career steps. I listed the things that made me happy, and on top of that list were film and libraries. I heard about ‘Ulu‘ulu Moving Image Archive among my peers in the media industry, but I did not fathom the scope and depth of the collections. My first visit to the archive was in Spring 2018, where I met up with Heather, Janel, Robbie, and Koa. Heather showed me the collection vault, which pretty much won me over. Janel told me that she was teaching a moving image archive course at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) that fall semester. Soon afterwards, I enrolled in the Library and Information Science program at UHM, jumped on the archives track, and took Janel’s excellent class. A year later, the OHA project assistant job opened, and I bolted on the opportunity to work here.
Could you share a little about the work you did at ‘Ulu’ulu?
I worked on a digitization project supported by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) in partnership with OHA’s Papakilo Database. The digital content consists of television programs that focus on Hawaiian history, arts, and culture: “The Best of Treasures,” “Holo Mai Pele,” “Legacy of Light,” “Merrie Monarch Festival,” and “Pau Hana Years.” We accessioned, digitized, described, and made accessible 521 video tapes containing 224 hours of audiovisual recordings. I also worked on a few other side projects: helped Hōkū process incoming collections, wrote grants with Janel, and formatted transcripts for closed captioning.
Was there anything about the videos you worked with that was surprising or unexpected?
I appreciate seeing the raw footage of two or more cameras on a particular scene. You can view quite a few of them in “Holo Mai Pele” from the Pacific Islanders in Communications collection. I enjoy seeing different angles and vantage points of the same scene. It helps me think about looking at an object with a different perspective.
You’ve recently graduated from the Library and Information Sciences program at UH Mānoa, where are you headed now and what will you be doing there?
I will be working as the archivist at the Honolulu Museum of Art, processing and preserving HoMAʻs institutional memory that includes not only the historic building on Beretania Street, but also the Spalding House (formerly The Contemporary Museum) and the Linekona Arts Center. I will also be involved with records management and reference and research services.
Now that you have worked as a Moving Image Archivist, what is your favorite archival media format and why?
Before, now, and forever is film. I was fascinated with 8mm and Super 8 film when I was young. I would watch the 8mm film reels in one of those small projectors in a carrel at the public library. I remember the 16mm films that we watched in elementary school. I also loved 35mm back when I worked at the Hawaiʻi International Film Festival when we hauled those heavy film cans.
Tell us a little about what it was like for the last couple of years working for an AV archive through the pandemic?
I worked from home for about 14 months. Although I prefer working at the archive, I do like watching hours of video footage from home on my comfy reading chair or couch. I also tend do my best writing from home. However, I like to think about different ways of approaching a topic, and I enjoy listening to various points of view from my co-workers, especially when I hit an obstacle. I definitely will miss the camaraderie I have developed with my ʻUluʻulu colleagues.
Do you have any recommendations for movies or TV shows that feature libraries, archives, or archival footage?
I was fascinated by Peter Jackson’s “They Shall Not Grow Old,” seeing how much his technical team worked on not only restoring the archival film footage, but also transforming it through adjustments of speed and light. It’s interesting to see an auteur’s handling of archival footage, which is vastly different from documentary filmmakers who use archival footage to present, argue, or support their own thesis or perspective. Most recently, I am enamored with Questlove’s “Summer of Soul” about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival. The music and performances in the archival concert footage, shot by TV producer Hal Tulchin, are uplifting, toe-tapping, and delightful. It is a treasure trove of talent.
Thank you, Sidney, for your wonderful work and friendship. We wish you the best in your next chapter!
Well 2021 was some kind of year! There were highs and lows throughout, but Covid-19 aside (if only it could be forever put aside), stories have thrived and human resilience has remained high. Here on the West Side of Oʻahu, ʻUluʻulu staff continued throughout the year to work wonders in preserving, cataloging and archiving Hawaiʻi’s precious films and videotape. We accomplished this through teleworking, which began in 2020, connecting us through the internet and finally moving back into scheduled office days in 2021.
We also welcomed incredible collections from Hawaiʻi residents – and from some who are no longer with us. The late Cal Hirai spent most of his career as a news camera operator and editor before moving on as an independent, producing the Outside Hawaiʻi series; recently departed Robert Liljestrand helped save his parent’s home, known as the Liljestrand House, by creating a foundation that not only preserved his dad’s legacy and that of architect Vladimir Ossipoff but the exceptional film collection created by his dad, Dr. Howard Liljestrand. And thanks to Paula Rath, whose grandparents founded and supported the Palama Settlement, the archive is caring for those treasured moving images.
These new collections are now part of ʻUluʻulu, an archive that keeps growing thanks to the support and inspiration of donors, researchers and funders. We are a unique educational agency that is about our past and our future. About memories that will last lifetimes. About stories that never get old.
We are grateful to you the reader, the supporter, the fan, the donor. Please continue to support ʻUluʻulu! We wish you the best in 2022!
ʻUluʻulu is relocating to the new UH West Oʻahu Kapolei campus on August 14, 2012. We are temporarily shutting down our lab and may have limited access to our telephone and emails from Aug 10-17. We apologize for any inconvenience but will be back in business as soon as we can!
In the meantime, please enjoy this highlight reel of footage from some of our Pilot Project participants:
This video footage may be protected under U.S. copyright law and is provided for educational and research purposes only.
ʻUluʻulu is featured in the August/September 2012 issue of Hana Hou! Magazine.
Read Matthew DeKneffʻs article “Saving Celluloid” to learn about our origins, our digital preservation lab and plans for our new facility at UH West Oʻahu Library!
Rep. Heather Giugni addresses the Social Science Association on May 7, 2012
We’ve been honored recently by several local organizations and community groups that have invited us to speak about ʻUluʻulu to their members. On May 7, Rep. Heather Giugni spoke to the Social Science Association at the Nuʻuanu YMCA. Janel Quirante gave a presentation at the Aiea/Pearl City Community Town Meeting at Pearl Ridge Elementary School on May 17. And on June 14, Rep. Heather Giugni was one of the featured speakers at the Kapolei Chamber of Commerce Luncheon at the Kroc Center Hawaii.
Our presentations are great opportunities for us to introduce our archive and to highlight our preservation efforts and recently digitized collection materials.
Senate Bill SB2110 relating to the preservation of Hawaiʻi’s Moving Images and designating ʻUluʻulu as the state archive for moving images has been recommended for passage by the committees on Education and on Economic Development and Technology. The committee on Ways and Means will have a public hearing on this measure on Thursday, February 23 at 9:00 AM in Conference Room 211 of the State Capitol.
You can follow the status of SB2110 and submit online testimony in support of the bill on the Hawaiʻi State Legislature website.
Two bills were introduced in the Hawaiʻi State Legislature’s current session to designate ʻUluʻulu as the state archive for moving images. Senate bill SB2110 and the House companion bill HB2754 have passed their first reading and have been referred to committee for review. These two Bills also establish a special fund and a tax check-off for ʻUluʻulu. Thanks to the Senate committees on Economic Development & Technology and Education and the House committees on Culture & the Arts and Finance for introducing these bills!
You can follow the Bills’ latest status on the Hawaiʻi State Legislature website.
ʻUluʻulu is the subject of an article in this past Sunday’s Star Advertiser. Mike Gordon writes:
From old television footage to home movies, the moving images of Hawaii’s history are in peril… But a new local archive, funded with nearly $1 million in federal money, hopes to preserve the various media in a digital collection that can be viewed online.