KAHIKĀHEALANI WIGHT, HAWAIIAN CULTURAL ADVISOR
Kahi is a native Hawaiian who has spent her lifetime nurturing the Hawaiian language and culture renaissance in her homeland. After an early career teaching writing and study skills at various campuses of the University of Hawai’i system, she was able to follow her true passion by earning degrees in Hawaiian Studies and Linguistics at the University of Hawaii, Hilo. From her current position as Associate Professor in Hawaiian language, literature and Oral Traditions at Kapi’olani Community College (KCC), Kahi has inspired generations of students to embrace, sustain and develop Hawaiian culture.
Kahi has published widely-respected material for learning Hawaiian language as well as several short stories in Bamboo Ridge Press on the theme of being Hawaiian, including “Puka Kinikini” in their award-winning anthology, Growing Up Local (1999). Alongside her university teaching, Kahi responds to frequent community requests for cultural advice, translations, and choosing Hawaiian names for newborns. Apart from her collaboration with Nick and Gareth on the Hawaiian material for Shining Isle and Between Worlds, she works with Hawaiian musician and composer Wade Cambern regarding his Hawaiian-language songs.
In 2015, Kahi’s deeply moving and inspiring autobiography was published tracing her painful and joyous journey, in equal measure, to reconnect to the world of Hawaiian nature, language oand spirituality (Rainforest Pu’uhonua (‘place of refuge’). Her current book in preparation, Heiau Light, explores the depth of traditional knowledge and practice still alive, through the prism of meanings attached to heiau (ancient temples of worship).