The Washington Place will soon become a hub for Hawaii’s native tongue. The movement is part of a vision Queen Lili’uokalani had just before her death.
“She was hoping to have Washington Place as a center for presentation and for the perpetuation of Hawaiian language and music,” said Washington Place Foundation President Gussie Schubert.
The white mansion can’t be missed off Beretania Street, its where the queen lived for more than 50 years.
Music and community events are held on the grounds from time to time-
But an avenue strictly focused on ‘olelo Hawai’i will finally be launched next month.
“This is the inaugural event of trying to put up a regular sequence of Hawaiian language presence in that house,” said Washington Place Foundation boardmember Puakea Nogelmeier.
The Hawaiian Scholar will take the helm. His foundation, Awaiaulu will present research they’ve compiled translating old Hawaiian language newspapers and manuscripts, content that hasn’t seen the light of day for about a hundred years.
“I can throw translation through Google and it’ll translate for you but that mechanical translation misses 80% of the meaning,” he explained.
Nogelmeier’s team meets mainly through Skype, that’s because his students live on four different islands and as far as New Zealand. Theyve already interpreted thousands of pages of content. Content, Nogelmeier describes as a treasure chest of knowledge. He says its allowed them to travel through time and digest what Hawaiians were truly experiencing from the 1820’s to the early 1900’s.
His team was particularily moved at how reporter’s described explosive reactions following the overthrow of the Kingdom of Hawai’i.
“People are simply discounting that this move is illegal. It’s not real. So there’s lots of dialogue that’s going on…Hawaiian’s aren’t stunned and glazed. They’re alarmed and upset and responding,” said Nogelmeier.
Awaiulu at Washington Place is set for June 8th and is open to the public.