Event will examine how ancestral knowledge and modern technology
can solve emerging challenges

Hundreds of cultural experts, practitioners, and community members from Hawai‘i and nations across the Pacific will gather in Honolulu this fall to share lunar methodologies with one another and build a regional community of practice focused on addressing and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

‘Aimalama: Pacific Peoples’ Lunar Conference on Climate Change will take place September 25–27 at Keoni Auditorium on the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa campus. Representatives from Hawai‘i and Pacific nations will convene to share their experiences in reviving and applying traditional lunar calendar wisdom in daily practices, and discuss how ancestral knowledge can complement and even inform modern-day technology solutions.

The three-day conference is open to the public and includes numerous panel discussions, keynote addresses, and a selection of huaka‘i (guided day trips) to organizations and community programs on O‘ahu that incorporate lunar calendar knowledge in their endeavors. A limited number of earlybird registrations is available for $200 per person through the conference’s website ataimalama.org. The rate increases to $300 when earlybird registrations sell out.

Dr. Pualani Kanaka‘ole Kanahele, a revered Hawaiian cultural practitioner and a retired associate professor in the University Hawai‘i System, kumu hula, and co-founder of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation, will be the conference’s keynote speaker. “The Hawaiian lunar calendar is knowledge that belongs to Hawaiians,” Kanahele said. “The traditional lunar calendar is older than Hawaiians. It is ancient wisdom and therefore belongs to the People of the Pacific. The ‘Aimalama Lunar Conference will bring this ancient wisdom to the forefront for us to update our knowledge today so that we can create new knowledge for the future and share it with the world.”

Many Pacific societies are currently reviving and reconnecting with the traditional lunar calendar to restore wisdom of agricultural productivity, marine and forest gathering, resource management, health and healing, and daily practices that provide sustenance for the health and well-being of communities.‘Aimalama is expected to draw leaders and innovators operating at the intersection of ancestral knowledge and technological transformation to identify common ground to confront regional and global challenges.

Several Kaulana Mahina (Hawaiian lunar calendar) practitioners gathered on O‘ahu last year to examine ancestral methodologies, leading to the organization of a two-day ‘Aimalama Symposium in October at which elders, practitioners, and local scientists discussed and learned how the Kaulana Mahina was being used and could be used in daily activities. “The Kaulana Mahina is a proficient tool for noting baselines for healthy environments and for tracking changes that are occuring daily, seasonally, annually, and episodically,” said Kalei Nu‘uhiwa, a Hawaiian lunar practitioner and one of ‘Aimalama’s organizers. “They agreed that the lunar calendar provides a proven process in which changes can be recorded and adaptive changes for survival can be considered. The ‘Aimalama Lunar Conference is the next step in sharing this valuable knowledge with a wider audience and fostering a network of practitioners across the Pacific that can harness this wisdom for the benefit of their communities.”

The research and practices discussed at the conference will form the basis for a paper highlighting lunar methodologies used to identify changes occurring in the Pacific, the natural indicators of changing climate, and the adaptive measures to prepare for it.Intended to be a native peoples of the Pacific’s response to climate change, the paper will be submitted for publication and presentation to the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress in Honolulu next year, as well as other pertinent international meetings such as the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

‘Aimalama: Pacific Peoples’ Lunar Conference on Climate Change is sponsored by the Kama‘aha Education Initiative,Kamehameha Schools, Hawai‘inuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, LAMA (Loli Aniau, Maka‘ala Aniau), The Kohala Center, the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council, and the Gladys Kamakakuokalani ʻAinoa Brandt Chair in Polynesian Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.