Hawaiian language educator Kili Namauʻu will be the featured speaker at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting on June 12 at UH Maui College. The meeting will be held at 5:30 pm in the Paʻina Food Court. Following Namauʻu’s presentation, the Honorable Boyd Mossman will install the chamber’s newly elected board and officers for fiscal year 2018-2019.
Namauʻu has been director of the Hawaiian language immersion preschool, Punana Leo o Maui, for 25 years. She is a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children and the Hawaiian Agencies and Organizations.
Punana Leo o Maui is one of 13 preschools in the state under the direction of ʻAha Pūnana Leo, Inc., an educational nonprofit organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Hawaiian language. The language immersion schools have become a model for early learning in an endangered indigenous language. Pūnana Leo o Maui was founded in 1987 and currently serves 30 children and their families. The school is accredited by the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium and the NAEYC.
“Indigenous languages around the world are going extinct at an alarming rate,” said Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce President Teri Freitas Gorman. “People may believe it doesn’t personally affect them, but that’s just wrong. Each language carries a unique worldview that is transmitted through speech from one generation to the next. There are two official languages in Hawaiʻi and Kili’s work ensures this will always be the case.”
During the annual dinner, Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce members will elect a board of directors and officers for the new fiscal year beginning on July 1. Before the installation ceremony, Mossman will say a few words about “kuleana,” the privilege and responsibility of community service. Judge Mossman is the founding president of Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, having established the new organization in 2005.
To learn how to attend, visit mnhcoc.org or call (808) 757-3045.
Photo courtesy of MNACoC