(Media release) — Eminent scientist and kahuna Dr. Samuel M. ‘Ohukani‘?hi‘a Gon, III, brings his must-see talk, “Pre-contact Hawaiian Ecological Footprint: A model for sustainability from our island past,” to Hilo later this month.
Gon, senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy of Hawai`i, is the featured speaker at Environment Hawai`I’s annual fundraising dinner on Friday, August 29, at the `Imiloa Astronomy Center in Hilo. The event will be held from 6-9 p.m. and will include a silent auction featuring the work of local artists and products from area businesses, a cash bar, and music by Jazzx2.
For the past 24 years, Environment Hawai`i has published countless articles documenting the recent human impacts on Hawai`i’s natural, agricultural, and urban landscapes, as well as its marine waters. It has also reported on efforts by government agencies, community groups, and individuals to make Hawai`i a more sustainable place to live. Although its reach is statewide, it has been based in Hilo since 1993.
Gon’s research delves deep into our past in an attempt to answer the question of whether we can ever return to what he says is the “100 percent sustainability of our past.”
“Before 1778, hundreds of thousands of Hawaiians lived in a thriving self-sustained Polynesian culture in these islands,” Gon says.
But where, exactly, did they live and what was their impact on the land?
Using archaeological modeling and traditional knowledge sources – including mo‘olelo (stories) and oli (chants) – Gon has reconstructed the pre-contact Hawaiian world, “from which unfolds the story of the changing island landscapes that culminate in our world today,” he says.
Earlier this year, Gon was honored with the designation of Living Treasure of Hawai?i by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai?i. In July, his halau
The deadline to reserve a spot is August 25. Tickets are $65 per person and include a $20 donation. To make a reservation, call (808) 934-0115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among many other roles, Gon serves on the Restoration Advisory Group for the Kaho‘olawe Island Reserve Commission, on the Board of Trustees for the Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program (NHCAP), and the Bishop Museum Association Council. He also recently ended his term as an at-large member of the Land Board.
Gon has also studied oli (traditional Hawaiian chant) and hula for more than a decade with Kumu John Keolamaka‘?inana Lake, a master of Hawaiian religion and cultural protocols. That training culminated in his ‘uniki (traditional rite of passage) in February 2003 as a kahuna k?kalaleo, practitioner of Hawaiian chant and protocol. In that capacity he serves as a kahuna pule (prayer master) at the heiau (temple) of Pu?u Kohol? at Kawaihae, Island of Hawai?i as part of N? Wa?a L?lani K?huna o Pu?u Kohol?.