Taking Our Cue from the Kukui Tree
Pictured: Architect Sheryl Seaman created these kukui designs for our NEW HOME. The designs are featured on PBS Hawai‘i’s new t-shirt
If you pluck just one nut from a kukui tree, you will have oil to illuminate the dark for more than three minutes. That’s one of many reasons that Polynesian voyagers brought kukui saplings aboard their canoes to this new land more than 1,500 years ago. Almost every part of the kukui tree was useful in the settlers’ everyday lives. Today the kukui tree is our state tree.
Our PBS Hawai‘i team looks forward to seeing the kukui represented on our soon-to-be NEW HOME on Nimitz Highway. Group 70 International architect Sheryl Seaman has designed an artful metal screen to enfold the building, depicting historically important Hawaiian plants of the area.
The kukui is a particular favorite of ours because it does what we try to do in our own way – be useful every day and illuminate.
At last month’s meeting of PBS Hawai‘i’s statewide Community Advisory Board, Maui member Kainoa Horcajo called out a recent illuminating Insights on PBS Hawai‘i program. Three individuals who’ve been diagnosed with stage-four (advanced) cancer spoke candidly on live television about what they think about and what their lives are like as they face the prospect of death.
“What is more shrouded in darkness and needs more illumination than death?” Horcajo asked. “(Hawaiian) sovereignty and death – those are the elephants in the room in Hawai‘i.”
Lei Kihoi Dunne of Hawai‘i Island spoke of activists in her rural county. A Kona attorney, Dunne said, “They need to know how to access and participate and properly conduct themselves in advocacy that truly advances their cause.”
“Right now, people feel outside the process,” Dunne said. “They can be empowered to make a difference and bring, for example, a contested-case hearing to protect natural resources and culture.”
Horcajo agreed that knowledge of procedure counts: “Knocking on the wrong doors engenders apathy – a feeling that nothing will change…You don’t go to a shave ice store to buy a loco moco.”
Oahu member Cheryl Ka‘uhane Lupenui said that civics education is important for good citizenship: “It’s wayfinding.”
Long ago, Polynesian voyagers brought the means to create light. The kukui tree design on our new building will be a constant reminder to shed light on things that matter.
Aloha a hui hou,