Tag Archives: Preservation

Welcome to the team, Kimo!

As we announced earlier, our newest team-mate is Kimo Nichols. Kimo is our Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellow. We’ve asked Kimo to fill out our introductory interview so you all get to know him a little better. Dive in below!


I grew up on Oʻahu, attended local public schools and graduated from UH-Mānoa with a B.A. in American Studies and a Certificate in Ethnic Studies in 1993. I currently work in the Serials Department at Hamilton Library and am now working on my MLIS degree. In my spare time, I do a reggae show on KTUH FM and enjoy collecting vinyl, listening to music, watching football, hiking and spending time with my family.

What brought you here to ‘Ulu‘ulu? What are some of the things you’re hoping to learn during your internship with us?

I’ve been interested in audio/visual related archives for a while now and had the great fortune to previously work in one at UH-Manoa: The Wong Audiovisual Center located at the former Sinclair Library. I was brought to ʻUluʻulu through the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s MLIS program, where I learned about the Public Broadcasting Preservation Fellowship that was available through the American Archive of Public Broadcasting. I was extremely fortunate to be awarded a fellowship for the current academic year and placed at ‘Uluʻulu to serve my internship.

While at ‘Uluʻulu I look forward to learning as much as I can about video digitization and archival descriptive cataloging practices.

What projects are you working on at ‘Ulu‘ulu?

At the moment, I am working on digitizing and writing cataloging metadata descriptions for raw video footage of episodes in the Biography Hawaii series. So far I have digitized Betacam SP tapes and written metadata for episodes focusing on kumu hula Maʻiki Aiu Lake and union/civil rights attorney Harriet Bouslog.

Kimo reviewing tapes from the Biographical Research Center Collection.

Is there anything about the items you are working with that is surprising or unexpected?

Actually, quite a lot of what I’m working on has been unexpected, due mostly to my own ignorance of the historical subject matter.  I had never heard of Harriet Bouslog before working with the Biography Hawaii footage, let alone Hawaiʻi labor movement icon Ah Quon McElrath, the main interview source for the episodes on Bouslog. Similarly, although I have a bit more knowledge on the subject of hula, the many hours of footage and interviews I’ve digitized on the life and impact of Maʻiki Aiu Lake have been completely revelatory. Getting to hear the expertise and candor of hula and Hawaiian cultural authorities such as Robert Cazimero, Kalena Silva and Puakea Nogelmeier reminisce about Maʻiki and break down her hallowed place in the Hawaiian renaissance has been both fascinating and entertaining.

Now that  you’ve been at the archive for a little while now, have you found a favorite aspect?

Apart from being fortunate enough to benefit daily from the kindness, patience and amazing expertise of the staff, I’d say my favorite aspect of interning at ʻUluʻulu is being able to soak up as much as I can of all the incredible stories, history and images available in its archives. I’m being allowed to work with materials that really broaden and further my perspective of Hawaiʻi and its peoples .

Kimo hard at work in the digitizing lab.

Do you have any advice for future ‘Uluʻulu interns or fellows?

My advice would be to really just soak it all in and enjoy every moment of the learning experience.  I think that if future interns keep an open mind, love learning and show respect to the materials, interning at ‘Uluʻulu is an incredibly rewarding opportunity to work with an amazing group of people all committed to helping make sure Hawaiʻi’s story is told through the preservation of moving images.

Advertisement

Roselani Highlight – Learning About Sand Island

One of the many projects that our Roselani Intern, Lily, has been working on is the enhanced descriptions of some of our news tapes. Since she is doing her work remotely, she is doing a lot of learning about Hawaiʻi without the benefit of being in the archive to chat with all of us in person. However, through her communication with us over email and through meetings and through the mountain of material she’s been working on during her internship, Lily has been getting a real crash-course in Hawaiʻiʻs more recent history. During her hours of research and viewing, she has found some topics have stood out to her as particularly impactful. Read on to see what caught Lily’s attention this summer.


One thing I’ve really enjoyed during my internship this summer is how many opportunities I’ve had to learn more about Hawaiʻi’s history through the various collection footage I’m going through. In particular, there was one recurring piece of history that I found significant to gaining a deeper understanding about the relationship between the State and Native Hawaiians in the 1980s — the events of Sand Island. 

What I found while watching the news segments on Sand Island in the KGMB Electronic News Gathering (ENG) File collection, and then comparing it to Victoria Keith ProductionsThe Sand Island Story — a documentary filmed at the same time — is that the news withheld a lot of information which, in turn, negatively framed Sand Island residents as squatters and derelicts.

The news segments from November 1979 through January 1980 follow the efforts of the Sand Island residents as they attempt to negotiate with the State and Governor Ariyoshi on their decision to turn Sand Island into a State recreation area and evict the community that had built their homes on the shoreline. 

Abraham “Puhipau” Ahmad talking to State Officials about the bulldozer blockade at the settlement. (KGMB ENG #58)

A primary difference that I observed was how the footage and interviews with Sand Island residents, such as Abraham “Puhipau” Ahmad, are filmed and presented in both the documentary and news segments. The KGMB news segments manage to capture the frustration of residents and highlight their inability to move to another home — but they conveniently fail to mention why most people living on Sand Island are unable to find a new residence; which was largely due to unreasonable housing costs and arbitrary evictions that pushed many Native Hawaiians out of their homes. One couple in the documentary even mentioned that their names had been on the list for housing since 1949 — at the time of filming they had already waited 30 years. 

It appears that the only time the news focuses on the efforts of Sand Island residents to compromise with the State are during ENG File #56, where the community has proposed a cultural park that preserves the Native Hawaiian lifestyle and allows for combined public use and resident living. Unfortunately, as mentioned by the reporter, the State refused every request for a meeting between the parties. Personally, I feel that the lack of information about the Sand Island residents’ attempts for compromise contributed to the negative image the Sand Island community had on the news. It’s unfortunate because the documentary emphasizes the efforts the residents made to create a cultural space to pass down Native Hawaiian traditions. An interviewee in the documentary even points out that the news makes them out as squatters who want a free place to stay, but they have knowledge and desire to pass down Native Hawaiian traditions and culture. 

Another thing I noticed after watching the documentary is the information the news does not include. Important contextual information about the history of Sand Island is absent from the news segments which only further frames the Sand Island community negatively as squatters and illegal tenants. Although at this point I feel that it should be noted a major benefit that I have which the employees and public viewers of KGMB news in 1979 did not have: access to the World Wide Web — which has vastly changed the way we receive our information. 

Clement Apolo reacting to the bulldozing of the Sand Island settlement in Victoria Keith’s “Sand Island Story.”

A quick search of the island’s history is this: Sand Island, originally nicknamed “Quarantine Island” in the 1800s because the area was used to quarantine ships that carried contagious passengers. It was then used as an internment camp during World War Two for primarily Japanese-Americans until 1943. After the war, the neglected space was used as a dumping ground and until the 1970s when there was a cleanup effort by Native Hawaiians — who built homes and cleared away the waste on their own volition. 

It was then that the State reclaimed this land for industrial and recreational development, and in fact, it was only once the State decided to reclaim the land that the community was legally declared squatters on state land. 

Arguably, the absence of this information in the news cycles at that time made it easier to convince the public that the residents are taking advantage of the State, while in fact they were still paying taxes while living on Sand Island. 

Comparing footage from the day of demolition on the homes, there’s a disconnect watching the residents on the news and in the documentary. Peaceful protests are not depicted in that way and the news footage captures the anger and hurt of the residents, yet because of time limitations, the full story cannot be told. One clue that indicates that the news may be presenting the story more one-sided is the involvement — or refusal — of parties outside of the Sand Island community. Both ENG Files #57 and #58 have segments that comment on the outside groups that are in support of the residents. ENG file #57 mentions various activist groups that have joined to protest the eviction –which included People Against Chinatown Evictions, Waiāhole-Waikāne Community Association, Ota Camp, and the Revolutionary Communist Party; and in ENG file #58, a bulldozer operator leaves the job the day that demolition is set to begin. While I can only speculate, I still believe these two segments hint at a larger public concern and engagement than the news was able to broadcast.  

After a bulldozers showed up at 6am to begin demolishing abandoned structures, residents attempt to prevent bulldozing to ensure their homes will not be destroyed. One bulldozer operator left job due to personal feelings on the matter. (KGMB ENG #58)

As ubiquitous as the Sand Island eviction story was for four months on the news, it seems to end with no resolution. In ENG File #73, February 25th, 1980, a solo interview with Abraham Ahmad, “Uncle Puhipau,” outside of the ʻIolani Palace, where he discusses how their option now is to charge the State for breach of trust and bring the attention of the 5F issue to the U.S. Attorney General. ENG File #74 shows a legislature meeting with local community members while they voice their concerns, but the outcome is unclear. 

To my knowledge and from what I’ve been able to determine from research, ultimately the space was not developed the way the State intended when they evicted the residents, and there is still trouble in determining its function; ironically an article from 2014 speaks about a proposal for a homeless shelter in the Sand Island State Recreation Area,  featuring facilities and housing which would temporarily abade the homeless crisis. I’d be curious how the Sand Island State Recreation Area is used today, and what is and is not included in whatever history of the land they might share in the visitor’s center. 

It’s important to keep in mind that KGMB news did not have the same ability to see a broader outline of the events that led up to the State’s reclamation of the land as I did; nor could they have known the failed outcome. The segments tended to frame the conflict with the State in the more positive light.  However, it appears evident in the footage that the reporters were making the effort to interview residents for their side of the story. 

After seeing how drastically the narrative of the Sand Island community can be transformed through the absence of crucial information, I am even more convinced that it is essential to be able to save and preserve as much history as possible from local filmmakers and creators; the ability to see multiple sides of the same story paints a fuller picture. In fact, The Sand Island Story has hours of RAW footage that wasn’t included in the final cut that I’m very interested to check out; especially when the internet doesn’t yield many results on the residents’ side.  

Preservation Vendor Identified

Vendor - Scene Savers

Aloha!

The HKG Archive undertook a comprehensive search for vendors that will be used for the preservation and digitization work in the Pilot Project. Proposals were obtained from Bay Area Video Coalition, and D. C. Video, both in California,  and Scene Savers in Covington, Kentucky across the river from Cincinnati.  All three submitted excellent proposals. Based on these proposals I would not hesitate recommending any of these companies for future work.

However, in the end we could only select one, and I am happy to inform you we we selected Scene Savers. They were the only company that could handle all the the formats we are looking to preserve in this Project in-house. John Walco, from Scene Savers, will be coming to conduct a media digitization/ preservation workshop in August. More information about the workshop will be posted soon.

Mahalo