Try Think: Hulihia

We believe that genuine conversation builds community, and we know that we need new ways of community building to help us face all our challenges ahead. Different from the idea of the “new normal” or “going back to how things were,” the Hawaiian word and concept “hulihia” helps us face our turmoil more directly and opens up greater future opportunities. As Value of Hawaiʻi: Hulihia book coeditor Dr. Noelani Goodyear-Kaʻōpua puts it, “imagining new possibilities can be the best consequence of this undeniable phase of massive disruption and overturning of the assumed normal.”

How can we build trust in each other and in the realization that we are who we need?
How much we can eat from one banana tree?

Starting March 26th, Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities, in partnership with Value of Hawaiʻi: Hulihia, will be holding space for deep-dive community conversations on your ideas, wonderings, hopes, and challenges for our post-pandemic futures. Small groups of very diverse voices from across our islands will tackle different topics together, and spend time listening, sharing, imagining, and building new connections.

These Try Think events are opportunities for small groups of diverse voices to speak and be heard. Each conversation will be led by a thoughtful facilitator, to help to create a space where we feel valued as full people. Each conversation topic is inspired by a Value of Hawaiʻi Hulihia essay, which can be read for free online HERE.

What will it take to begin again now, in ways that open futures, rather than continue to foreclose them?
What kind of ancestors do we want to become?

We need many voices to do this right, and all are welcome to attend. We would love to hear your perspective on topics that range from reinventing public education to revisioning elder care to returning to old-new economies, and more. For more information and to register, please see the schedule below.

This innovative Try Think Hulihia conversation series is co-sponsored by the following organizations: Ceeds of Peace, Center for Biographical Research, 

Hawaiʻi Alliance for Community-Based Economic Development, Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, Institute for Climate and Peace, Matsunaga Institute for Peace
, Nā Mea Hawaiʻi / Native Books, Pacific Islands Development Program
, The Pōpolo Project and Waiwai Collective.

Mahalo to the Sidney Stern Memorial Trust for making this work possible.

Friday March 26 – 3:30-5:00pm HST
***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Our City as Ahupuaʻa—Ben Treviño, Facilitator
How can we turn our individual gifts and contributions into a resilient economy for Hawaiʻi? A conversation on new ways of thinking about urban life. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Home is What We Make It—Greg Gushiken, Facilitator
How do we work to build home, to build puʻuhonua, in spite of the challenges we have faced in light of COVID-19? How do we re-learn how to care for and support each other as a community? A conversation on new ways of thinking about houselessness and belonging in Hawaiʻi. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

We Need to Talk: How a Con Con Can Secure Hawaiʻi’s Post-COVID Future—Ryan Mandado, Facilitator
What can a political future look like for Hawaiʻi? A conversation on the power of policymaking post-COVID, inspired by the legendary Con Con of 1978. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Wednesday April 14 – 6:00-7:30pm HST
***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Ancient is Modern: Transforming Public Education for Hawaiians—Ric Ornellas, Facilitator
How can we identify learning that is eternally useful or eternally transient and when do we use the eternal or the transient? A conversation exploring models of education outside of the DOE that are grounded in culture, family, and community to help students excel. You can find this essay HERE.

Register HERE.

Activist Genealogy: Visions and Enactments of Solidarity Across Black and Kanaka Maoli Movements—Ryan Mandado, Facilitator
How is genealogy tied to our collective liberation? A conversation inspired by Black Lives Matter and Protect Mauna Kea Movements, about learning to love one another across different struggles. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

“If People Aren’t Locking Rocks Together, We Ain’t Got a Story”: Pōhaku by Pōhaku, Connecting Stories of Community Building—Serena Ngaio Simmons, Facilitator
What places do we bring with us into this work that we do with each other? How does bringing places we feel kinship to into spaces we aren’t from help us to carry out this work? A conversation about the power of community-led storytelling and media making, inspired by new technology and the Protect Mauna Kea media campaigns. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Friday April 30 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

Wednesdays With Grandma—Ben Treviño, Facilitator
What would an economy with the kind of spaciousness that is lived in Wednesdays With Grandma look like? A conversation about grandchildren and grandparents, and the impact of spending time together on family and community health. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Dear Reader: Making the Value of Hawaiʻi Together—Ric Ornellas, Facilitator
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” A conversation about the power of genuine conversation, listening, and collaboration post-COVID. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Teachers, Public Education and Civic Leadership—Ryan Mandado, Facilitator
How can teachers create liberatory futures? A conversation about racism, school mascots, and how youth and teachers are leading efforts to create a more just society. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Wednesday May 12 – 6:00-7:30pm HST
***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Lessons from Jojo: Organizing Side-by-Side with Power, Heart and Grace—Mara Mahoney and Seru Tagivakatini, Facilitators
A conversation exploring ways to organize across different communities, rooted in Micronesian/Pacific Islander experiences. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Writing in the Path of Our Ancestors: Ke Ea Hawaiʻi Student Council—Ric Ornellas, Facilitator
Has the time arrived for paradigm shifts and kupuna listen to haumana? A conversation centered around amplifying youth voices and taking control of narratives. You can find this essay HERE.

Register HERE.

We Are Art—Serena Ngaio Simmons, Facilitator
How do we use art to build relationships? A conversation about art and culture, and how artistic expressions can help us connect with each other in trying times. You can find this essay HERE.

Register HERE.

Friday May 28 – 3:30-5:00pm HST
***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Waiʻaleʻale—Camille Hampton, Facilitator
What lessons can we learn from challenges and adversity? A conversation about resilience and innovation of Kauaʻi residents after the torrential rains of April 2018, and paths forward for all of post-pandemic Hawaiʻi. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

This is Not a Drill; Notes On Surviving the End of the World, Again—Noe Tupou, Facilitator
Can pilina (relationships) inspire a kind of beginning?” A conversation about re-connecting and re-membering community in the wake of the missile alert, Mauna Kea, COVID-19 and other life-altering events. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Food of Our Future Grows From Seeds of Our Past—Pauline Sato, Facilitator
How might we make the concept of food sovereignty digestible to the common Hawaiʻi resident? A conversation about rebuilding food systems and finding our individual roles in establishing food sovereignty. You can find this essay HERE.
Register HERE.

Wednesday June  9 – 6:00-7:30pm HST
***This session has three conversation topics. Please register for one topic of your choice below.

Labor and Social Justice Against the Colonial University: A Union for Radical Solidarity—ʻIlima Long, Facilitator
How are labor unions integral to a better society, not just good contracts? A conversation about organization and unification through the lens of the Academic Labor Unitedʻs ongoing relationship with the University of Hawaiʻi. Read the essay by the Executive Committee of Academic Labor United that is the inspiration for this conversation HERE.
Register HERE.

Puʻuhonua o Puʻuhuluhulu University: He Kīpuka Aloha ‘Āina no ka ‘Imi Naʻauao—Greg Gushiken, Facilitator
What could it mean to center our communities, rather than institutions, in the passing on of knowledge? A conversation about rethinking  and reimagining education through the lessons learned and taught at Puʻuhuluhulu University. Read the essay by Presley Keʻalaanuhea Ah Mook Sang that is the inspiration for this conversation HERE.
Register HERE.

Shine Your Light Wherever You Go—Seru Tagivakatini and Mara Mahoney, Facilitators
How can we create sustainable spaces for youth empowerment? A conversation about empowering youth to become their own leaders. Read the essay by Shanty Sigrah Asher that is the inspiration for this conversation HERE.
Register HERE.


Friday June 25 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

The Next Aloha ‘Āina—‘Ilima Long, Facilitator

Wednesday July  14 – 6:00-7:30pm HST

Hāmākua 2120: A Moʻolelo of Abundance From a Future—Greg Gushiken, Facilitator
The Story of Sisterhood Behind the World’s First  Feminist Economy Recovery Plan for COVID-19—Mara Mahoney, Facilitator
Wednesdays With Grandma—Seru Tagivakatini, Facilitator

Friday July 30 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

An Aloha  ‘Āina Economy: Give, Take, Regenerate—Ben Treviño, Facilitator
Activist Genealogy: Visions and Enactments of Solidarity Across Black and Kanaka Maoli Movements—‘Ilima Long, Facilitator

Hawai’i Needs to Stand Governing on Its Head—Michael Broderick, Facilitator

Wednesday August  11 – 6:00-7:30pm HST

Haumāna—Noe Tupou, Facilitator
Home is What We Make It—Serena Ngaio Simmons, Facilitator
Food of Our Future Grows From Seeds of Our Past—Seru Tagivakatini, Facilitator

Friday August 27 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

‘Ohana Urbanism—Camille Hampton, Facilitator
Teachers, Public Education and Civic Leadership—Pauline Sato, Facilitator

Wednesday September 8 – 6:00-7:30pm HST

An Aloha  ‘Āina Economy: Give, Take, Regenerate—Mara Mahoney, Facilitator

Friday September 24 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

Ancient is Modern: Transforming Public Education for Hawaiians—Camille Hampton, Facilitator
This is Just the Beginning: Climate Change, Positive Peace and the “New Normal”—Pauline Sato, Facilitator

Friday October 29 – 3:30-5:00pm HST

Toward a Smaller, Smarter Correctional System for Hawaiʻi—Michael Broderick, Facilitator
Grounded—Noe Tupou, Facilitator




Michael Broderick
Michael Broderick’s career resembles that of a cat—nine lives.  Michael has been a lawyer, an administrator, a mediator and facilitator, a judge and a non-profit CEO.  Michael feels best when he can help strengthen the community, especially for the most marginalized in our Island home.






Greg Pōmaikaʻi Gushiken
Greg Pōmaikaʻi Gushiken is a Kanaka Maoli and Okinawan writer and educator from Nānākuli, Hawaiʻi. He is currently an Ethnic Studies doctoral student at UC San Diego and currently resides in Honolulu.






Camille Hampton
Camille Hampton is a kanaka maoli educator born, raised, and still residing in Wai’anae, O’ahu. She is passionate about creating spaces where students and teachers can thrive, which she has been trying to do as an instructional coach at Wai’anae High School. When she is not working, she loves spending time with her family and traveling, even if it’s only around the island.





‘Ilima Long

‘Ilima Long is a PhD student in the Political Science department at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She works as a Uniserv Director for the Hawai’i State Teacher’s Association. She has organized around Native Hawaiian, land defense, and labor issues on O’ahu for 12 years.







Mara Mahoney
Bula! My name is Mara. I was born and raised in the beautiful islands of Fiji and am currently a guest in Hawaiʻi. My mother is Fijian and my father who is of Yapese descent was born and raised for a number of years in Palau. Being someone who is from and of the region I have always had a passion for Oceania and for the rich and diverse cultures and people that inhabit her. This is what led me to pursue a degree in Pacific Island studies. I am a community navigator, activist, student organizer, and educator.





Ryan Mandado

Ryan Mandado is the founding Chief Academic Officer (CAO) of DreamHouse ‘Ewa Beach Public Charter School – a school focused on leadership and identity development. He attended Kalihi public schools his entire life and is committed to providing excellent learning experiences for low-income students and communities. He is passionate about critical and culturally responsive pedagogy and inclusive practices for students with disabilities.


Ric Hanale Ornellas

In life’s ocean, terra firma for Ric Ornellas has been two islands: Moloka’i and Manhattan. Polar opposites in wealth, population, perspectives, and forces, these two islands have shaped his views of inclusion, confrontation, collaboration, and, most importantly, the power of words and the everlasting reach of literature. Ric is currently a teacher at Moloka‘i High School.


Pauline Sato
Pauline’s passion for protecting Hawai‘i’s environment dates back to her childhood. In her 30+ years of professional experience, she has helped to build a broad network of individuals and groups dedicated to the conservation of natural, cultural, and agricultural resources across the state. Pauline’s current and recent work experiences are with the Mālama Learning Center and the Agricultural Leadership Foundation of Hawai‘i reaching people of all ages from a wide range of communities throughout Hawaiʻi. Pauline is a proud graduate of public schools and enjoys working up a sweat outdoors whether in her garden or the native forest, finding new recipes to cook ‘ulu picked from her tree, and being a mom to puppies.


Serena Ngaio Simmons

Serena Ngaio (she/her, he/him) was born and raised on the island of O’ahu and has spent most of her life right in the heart of Waikīkī. She wen grad from Kaimukī High School in 2011 and in 2016 she graduated with her Bachelors in English from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa. She’s been a spoken word artist for over ten years and her writing often focuses on queerness, identity, being Māori in diaspora, and decolonization.





Seru Tagivakatini
Bula Vinaka! My name is Seru Tagivakatini and I am from Fiji. Currently a US South Pacific Scholarship recipient through East West Center working towards a Masters in Animal Science and a Graduate certificate in Pacific Island Studies. I thoroughly enjoy contributing to my Pacific Island Family in whatever way I can and being progressive in ways about it. I enjoy going to the beach and sharing stories with family, friends and anyone that is open enough to have a conversation.



Ben Treviño

Ben currently serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Hawaii Institute for Public Affairs. Previously he served as the Sustainability Planner for the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation and was the founding President and COO of Bikeshare Hawaii/BIKI. Ben is a committed LEGO enthusiast who used to enjoy playing basketball before the pandemic.






Noe Tupou

Aloha nō! I am Michelle Kamakanoenoe Tupou, I am from the ‘Ohana Hapai from Hawaiʻi Island and the ‘Ohana Nelson from Maui. I was born in Waikīkī and raised in ‘Aiea on O’ahu. I am a mother, a wife and a forever Kanaka ‘Ōiwi scholar. I am blessed to work at Windward Community College at the base of the Koʻolau Mountains below the peak of Keahiakahoe. As a Hawaiian Studies Instructor and Director of WCCʻs ‘Ike Kaiāulu: Community Engagement Program, my passions keep me involved in the community and empowering Native voice in indigenous Arts, Literature and Film. I have taught in higher education in both Hawai’i and Aotearoa, New Zealand for over 20 years.  My University of Hawai’i Master’s degree in Pacific Islands Studies is entitled “Pacific Voices through Film” in which I speak of film as a powerful tool in bridging oral and written traditions. I did doctoral work at the University of Auckland in the early 1990ʻs at a time of an emerging contemporary Maori and Pacific Island literary and filmmaking community where I was able to continue my passion work in the role of story found within the belly of Oceania.