Moana Nuiby Terri Kekoʻolani and Ikaika Hussey
Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell at the Moana Nui conference.
While hundreds of chief executives of companies and countries came together at the annual APEC conference in Waikiki this past fall, the Pacific’s “99%” were gathering at the Moana Nui 2011 Conference. Organized by the International Forum on Globalization (IFG) and Pua Mohala i ka Po, Moana Nui (“the great ocean”) brought together academics, indigenous leaders, and activists from 30 Pacific countries to discuss the impact of economic globalization in the Pacific.
At the 3-day conference, November 9-11, 2011, speakers and participants recognized that a movement of different groups had come together to assert their opposition to APEC and their support of indigenous peoples in determining their own future. Participants said they had never seen an event with as many diverse cultures and peoples focused on the Pacific.
The “teach-in” format of panel discussions featured 80 scholars, activists, policy analysts, lawyers, labor union leaders, cultural practitioners, and artists who argued against the ongoing militarism and colonialism in the Pacific.
Hawai’i Peace and Justice played a critical role in the conference; HPJ staffers Terri Keko’olani and Kyle Kajihiro and HPJ Board member Ikaika Hussey were part of the local organizing committee which pulled a event together.
The first day of the conference, held at Calvary by the Sea church in Maunalua, featured speeches and dialogue among Pacific indigenous. Kaleikoa Ka‘eo, of Hamoa, Maui, opened the conference with a speech calling for Pacific leadership to ea mai ke kai mai, or to ‘rise from the sea.’ He implored the gathering to fight for indigenous rights as part of a movement to restore humanity and build solidarity.
The second and third days of Moana Nui featured panel discussions about broad pan-Pacific issues: militarism; climate change; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Brilliant speakers such as Christine Ahn (Korea Policy Institute) www.civilbeat.com/articles/2011/11/03/13477-moana-nui-speaker-challenges-people-to-examine-apec-more-closely/ and Richard Heinberg (“The End of Growth”) www.civilbeat.com/articles/2011/11/04/13478-moana-nui-speaker-says-hawaii-should-take-its-cue-from-new-zealand/ informed the attenders.
Thanks to the Olelo production team with people like Scotty Wong and the talents of film producer Connie Florez, a compilation of videos featuring all the Moana Nui 2011 speakers and their presentations is available on the web at http://moananui2011.org/. This is an excellent resource for teachers and community leaders.
Moana Nui brought us together to learn and also to laugh. Women Voices Women Speak, a Hawaii delegation of the International Network of Women Against Militarism (INWAM), in collaboration with Third Path Movement for Reproductive Justice, DMZ Hawai’i/Aloha ‘Aina, Pek Pek Liberation Front, and Women for Genuine Security produced a fashion show entitled Passionista! Undressing Globalization and Militarism Fashion Show. More coverage on Passionista! can be found at wvw.808.blogspot.com/2011/11/passionistas-resisting-sistahs-and.html.
The fashion show was a Honolulu community-based grassroots production bringing together a community of scholar-activists, teachers, students, parents and movers and shakers who are addressing and fighting against the hewa that APEC and other ultra-militaristic, corporate and state entities bring into our lives and onto our homelands across the globe.
The conference culminated in a large march through the plains of Moiliili to Waikiki, where hundreds of people converged at the site of the APEC conference. There, Moana Nui participants chanted the Moana Nui statement.
” We the peoples of Moana Nui, connected by the currents of our ocean home, declare that we will not cooperate with the commodification of life and land as represented by APEC’s predatory capitalistic practices, distorted information and secret trade negotiations and agreements
We invoke our rights to free, prior and informed consent. We choose cooperative trans-Pacific dialogue, action, advocacy and solidarity between and amongst the peoples of the Pacific, rooted in traditional cultural practices and wisdom.
E mau ke ea ‘o ka ‘aina i ka pono. A mama. Ua noa. ”
Hawai’i Peace and Justice’s Transition Ceremonyby Kay Larsen
I stood under the kukui tree and breathed in the air. It was the Transition Ceremony for Hawai’i Peace and Justice. We had been upstairs in the Meeting room listening to speeches by the American Friends Service Committee’s representatives who had traveled from California to participate in the event. There had been introductions of the board members of the new entity. Now, here in the sunshine, we stood in a circle around the tree, and the spiritual infusion to the ceremony began. Terri Keko’olani explained the meaning of the object she held; a bowl that was grown from an ipu gourd by Kyle Kajihiro, and which was filled with water that was collected from a stream at the base of Mt. Ka’ala (Hale’au’au Gulch).
As the bowl was passed around the circle, we each breathed our wishes into the water, for Hawai’i’s future, for HPJ’s. Lastly, Terri asked the children, representing our future, to hold the bowl and empty the water onto the roots of the kukui tree.
This “tree of light” (“Kukui” means lamp or light, and the Hawaiians use to burn the nuts for light, like candles) had been bought and planted years ago with donations by Friends in memory of Marieja Beckett Fuller. I could feel her gentle presence.
Then we ended with a rousing Korean drum ensemble to energize our endeavors. A delicious lunch followed, complete with a carrot cake baked by Renie Wong Lindley, that sported the Hawai’i Peace and Justice logo.
DOWNLOAD NA PUA HOALA I KA PONO (PDF)