Kaui Sai-Dudoit

OHA Alana Pavilion
Saturday, May 5, 11:00 am
Discussing Ho‘olaupa‘i, the collaborative project to digitize Hawaiian Language newspapers, with Puakea Nogelmeier in the ‘Ike Ku‘oko‘a panel

The Ho‘olaupa‘i Project: Thousands of oli were printed in the Hawaiian language newspapers between 1834 and 1949. Until now, these oli have been largely lost and unavailable to contemporary Hawaiians due to lack of access. Through efforts by the Ho‘olaupa‘i research team, 646 oli have been compiled for selection by the chanters for performance at Pa Ka Leo.

According to concert organizer and Hoolaupa: Hawaiian Newspaper Resource Project Manager Kaui Sai-Dudoit, “Our goal was to honor the composers by breathing life back into their compositions, through the talents of modern day practitioners, young and old. It is our hope that through these efforts we can help renew interest in an important cultural practice of our kupuna and raise awareness and much needed funding for the continuation of the Ho‘olaupa‘i Research Project.”

The Ho‘olaupa‘i Project is reconstructing a national archive. Using the internet and new digital technology, Bishop Museum is creating the world’s largest collection of written Hawaiian language material, making it available and easily accessible to millions at http://www.nupepa.org. During the 1800 and early 1900s, native Hawaiians amassed a large collection of newspaper publications equaling approximately 125,000 pages of text written in their native language. The traditional, cultural, historical, and political wisdom of this culture during this time period is contained within this repository. These newspapers represent the largest collection of native language writings of any Pacific peoples and were the product of a fully literate population, created by and for them.

Access has been extremely limited because of the state of the originals, which are deteriorating despite costly aggressive preservation techniques. Making the information available on the internet reduces the need for manual search which helps preservation efforts by reducing use of the originals in the archival collections.

Because the papers are written in Hawaiian, the language barrier has prevented even the most tenacious researchers from transcribing the vast collection of more than 125,000 pages of newspapers. Time was running out and there was great concern that this valuable resource would deteriorate before the important cultural information contained within was retrieved.

Recent technological advancements in Optical Character Recognition (OCR) have enabled Bishop Museum researchers to create digital images of the publications from microfilm or the original documents. OCR renders the whole Hawaiian language newspaper archive directly accessible by word search. Although the information is all in Hawaiian, OCR access can locate key content through Hawaiian word and phrase searching. This process facilitates further research and understanding of Hawaiian discussion on key topics during the 19 th and early 20 th centuries.

For the past four years, Ho‘olaupa‘i has operated quietly and methodically completing nearly 9,000 pages of the earliest Hawaiian newspapers under the leadership of project manager Sai-Dudoit. She and her staff have developed significant skills in comprehending the style of early Hawaiian language, which is used in the early newspapers. Through training and experience, they have earned a level of expertise and practical understanding that exists nowhere else. The work of the Ho‘olaupa‘i team has created a contemporary connectivity to the language, thoughts, emotions, and expressions of Hawaiians from a century earlier. They are creating an incredible source of materials for others to read and use in forming new interpretations of historical events and issues.

More information about Ho‘olaupa‘i:

The evening’s centerpiece is a short film about Liliuokalani, created by Kaui Sai-Dudoit and compiled from interviews and historical sources such as Hawaiian newspapers, the Bishop Museum Archives and Hawaii State Archives.

“Information about Queen Liliuokalani during the events around the 1893 overthrow have been well documented,” Sai-Dudoit stated in an e-mail. “However, this video will also provide highlights about the queen’s life after 1893, through 1917 — the date of her passing.”

Nogelmeier, who was involved with translating materials used in the film, calls it “insightful,” and says the idea was to “let the queen speak for herself.”

After the showing, Sai-Dudoit, a filmmaker and historian, Nogelmeier, an associate professor at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, and Washington Place curator Corrine Chun Fujimoto will be available for a discussion.

Nogelmeier and Sai-Dudoit have been deeply involved in the Bishop Museum project Ho’olaupa’i: Hawaiian Newspaper Resource, which has sought to digitize and create on online resource from the Hawaiian-language newspapers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Find it online at nupepa.org.

One significant piece of information that has been uncovered in researching Liliuokalani’s history, according to Nogelmeier: The queen, known for her love of music and songs in the Hawaiian language, considered dedicating her legacy to the preservation of Hawaiian language and mele. Ultimately, she directed the bulk of her legacy to the support of Hawaiian children, but Nogelmeier says, “As we unfold the archive of Hawaiian history, it makes it three-dimensional. … It adds more to that picture.”

Honolulu Pulse

Kau’i Sai-Dudoit has been the Project Manager of Ho’olaupa’i for almost a decade, leading the effort to make the Hawaiian-language newspapers searchable, and now she leads this new initiative, ‘Ike Ku’oko’a. A researcher and history scholar, Kau’i has just completed a documentary DVD entitled “Ua Mau Ke Ea”, which accompanies a book of the same name written by Dr. Keanu Sai. These two resources, supported by the Pūʻā Foundation, are part of a movement to make Hawaiian history clearer and more accessible for students, the Hawaiian community, and all those here and afar.

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