Ke Alaka'i Spring 2022 issue

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SPRING 2022 • VOLUME 132 • ISSUE 1

LeeAnn Lambert ADVISOR


Mckenzie Alvarez MANAGING EDITOR

Emily Hendrickson ART DIRECTOR


Hadley Wurtz COPY EDITOR














Munkhbayar Magvandorj PHOTOGRAPHER


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Mark Daeson Tabbilos PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO

Marwin Jay Villegas PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO


LE T T E R FRO M TH E E D ITOR -IN -CHIEF There is nothing quite like this little corner of the world. From the early morning crowing of neighborhood roosters to the community members who bleed Red Raider red; from the world-famous surf and “ono” eats to the aunties and uncles whose quiet, little acts of service have shaped our whole world—we love it here. We count it a delight, a blessing and a privilege to study in such a place, especially among people whose North Shore upbringing guides their everyday life and teaches us how to be better. With “Growing Up North Shore” as the theme for this issue, we here at Ke Alaka‘i wanted to showcase not only the place but also the people who are North Shore born and bred, as well as those whose love for this special place is relatively new but growing everyday. This includes local businesses (p. 8, 28, 26), North Shore lifestyles and hobbies (pg. 14, 30, 32) and tips on how to spend your time in this lovely place (pg. 18). Because this issue spans across both May and June, we also had the opportunity to pay tribute to student mothers (pg.38) and fathers (pg. 34) and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (pg. 36). We hope reading and experiencing these stories allows you to take a look at the beauty all around us and have hope for the future. Working on this issue has also been a very personal joy for me—and bittersweet—as my time at BYUH and Ke Alaka‘i comes to a close after beginning nearly 8 years ago. Mahalo nui loa and fa’afetai tele lava for this incredible experience.

Leiani Faimafili Molis Leiani Faimafili Molis, Editor-In-Chief NEWS CENTER: Box 1920 BYUH Laie, HI 96762 Editorial, photo submissions & distribution inquires: To view additional articles go to

CONTACT: Email: Phone: (808) 675-3694 Office: BYU–Hawaii Aloha Center 134 ON THE COVER: Film photos taken around North Shore. Graphics by Emily Hendrickson. Photos by Emily Hendrickson.

ABOUT The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the University, then called Church College of Hawaii, opened. It has continued printing for more than 60 years. The name means “the leader” in Hawaiian.What began as a monthly newsletter, evolved into a weekly newspaper, then a weekly magazine and is now a monthly news magazine with a website and a social media presence.Today, a staff of about 25 students work to provide information for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community.

© 2022 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved S PRIN G 2022 3

Table of

CONT ENTS Growing Up North Shore

6 Art Submission

18 Plan your Perfect North Shore Day

7 Campus Comments

20 Kenzo Furukawa: Creative Builder

8 Baking Chunky Cookies

24 Learn the Lingo

12 Watermelon Pineapple Otai

26 Truth of Traditions

14 Surfing Through Hawaii’s Past, Present, & Future

28 Bananza 30 Fishin’ North Shore 32 Fun-sized Fireknife

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Campus Life


34 From Son to Father

50 Festivals of Tahiti

36 Asian American and Pacific

52 Island Hopping

Islander Heritage Month

54 The World of Mochi 58 Creature Feature: Monk Seals

38 Devoted Mothers 42 Boys on Jupiter 44 Becoming Future Ambassadors 46 Representation Matters

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“Awareness” by Sadie Madriaga, an alumna from California who majored in graphic design Share your art, photos or creative writing with us to print in our next issue. E-mail us your high-resolution photo or work with a caption at


K E A L A K A I . BY UH . E D U

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C O M M E N T S W h a t exci t i ng su m m er b re a k pla n are you look in g for wa rd to?


Jonathan Crisanto, a freshman majoring in information technology from Batangas City in the Philippines, said he does not have any plans yet. But he said he is prioritizing getting his second part-time job for this summer break. He explained his current job at the Polynesian Cultural Center night show only provides 19 hours while he needs to work for 40 hours during the summer.” I [am] hoping to get into the IT department,” said Crisanto and shared he completed IT certificates to qualify himself for the job.

Charlene Ram, a freshman majoring in hotel & tourism management from Fiji, said she does not have a special plan she is excited about, but she will be working in her current job as an English as an international language peer mentor. “I will be contacting the students who come in for the Fall Semester, so I’m excited to meet them and email them,” said Ram.

Britlyn Smith, a sophomore majoring in information technology and English from Phoenix, Arizona, said, “I’m going to Alaska in July. I’m very excited. We’ll be camping all around the different parts of Alaska.” She added she is planning on going on her mission two weeks after the trip. She said she is called to serve in the Zimbabwe Bulawayo Mission.

Ho Ting Pak, a freshman majoring in hotel & tourism management from Hong Kong, said, “[Because] I am an I-WORK student, ... [my plan] is mainly working, but also probably go camping with my friends and [go] scuba diving.” He said he brought his scuba diving license from Hong Kong. Pak explained people cannot go scuba diving without a permit or alone. This safety procedure is called a “buddy system,” said Pak.

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What started as a class project propelled a young Laie couple into a thriving local business BY LEVI FUAGA


n 2017, Hali’a Moe said she and her husband, Sterling Moe, visited Utah and tasted cookies from Crumbl and Chip. Intrigued by the taste, Moe said she wanted to figure out why these cookies tasted like nothing she ever had before. “So I was like, ‘I want to try to recreate that,’” she said. After talking to her husband, she said they proposed their idea of selling cookies in a food and beverage class. Today, five years later, thanks to the support of the people around them and a great deal of trials and errors, their idea has grown into a thriving business, called Chunky cookies, shared Moe.

An early support system Sterling Moe, a 2018 BYU–Hawaii alumnus from Laie, Hawaii, said in the food and beverage class, taught by Instructor Greg Maples, their assignment was to create a prototype for a restaurant or food truck that could open up on this side of the island. He said Maples supported their idea from the beginning and was confident it would do well amongst college students. Maples, an adjunct instructor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said Sterling and Hali’a Moe were passionate and enthusiastic about doing something on their own. “I fell in love with them and their concept and just thought they [did] and continue to do a really great job.” An expert with 35 years, Maples said he appreciated too that the couple was open to tough feedback. Hali’a Moe said they began selling cookies under a pop-up tent in October 2019 but officially started as a business in January 2020. She said due to the pandemic, their business opened and closed based on state shutdowns. Sterling Moe said through support from the community, they were able to thrive The freshly baked cookies boxed and ready for sale. Photo by Yui Leung.

through the pandemic. “The students weren’t on campus yet. It was just the community that kept us afloat.” Polynesians don’t just buy for themselves, he added, and buyers would purchase their cookies for families to share, ministering purposes, birthdays or church events. He said Chunky cookies appeal to people because it’s different from other snacks such as chocolate macadamia nuts. Upon seeing their success, Sterling Moe shared he wanted to start selling cookies as a full-time business. He realized he needed to quit his job at CLIMB Works to fully commit to running their business. Quitting his full-time job during a pandemic was a “leap of faith” and a blessing because they are both able to work from home, he said.

Trial and error Sterling Moe said at first, his wife would bake multiple batches of cookies for family members to get their feedback. Although her cookies tasted good, he said it wasn’t different from what they’ve tasted before, and they wanted to make their cookies different from everyone else’s. Christina Akanoa is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government and one of the relatives who taste tested for the Moes. According to Akanoa, Hali’a Moe enjoyed baking from a young age and her mother and sisters baked as well. Living across from Sterling and Hali’a Moe, Akanoa said she was often asked to try out their cookies to see how they tasted. Hali’a Moe, a 2018 BYUH alumna from Laie, Hawaii, said she and her husband grew up using semi-sweet chocolate chips and had never heard of using milk chocolate chips for baking cookies. After hearing this, she began looking for different chocolate chips and tried

to recreate similar tastes she had experienced before. Hali’a Moe said one of their challenges was finding a consistent amount of ingredients to bake their cookies. Initially, they started with one brand of chocolate before it went out of stock, she said, and had to search for a new one. In seeking out their ingredients, she shared, they had to find something that was both affordable and available in bulk. Another challenge, Sterling Moe shared, was living in Laie. It hasn’t gotten easier since they still have to go to town to get their ingredients, he said. However, he added, they have more space to store their ingredients than their first year of business and don’t have to commute as much.

Sweet and salty After much trial and error, Sterling Moe said his wife added salt to their chocolate chip cookies. Initially, he and others weren’t too sure about having salt on cookies, but said it tasted good upon trying it for the first time. Hali’a Moe said the salt helps balance the sweetness from the dark chocolate chunks placed on their cookies. “I think it’s just my taste buds too. I really like salty and sweet. So, I really tried to make that balance with all of our cookies.” Tyrone Brown, a BYUH alumnus from Laie, Hawaii, said Chunky cookies were everything he imagined them to be: crispy and chunky with gooey chocolate. In high school, he said his friends would call him “The Cookie Monster” because he always sought out the best chocolate chip cookie. Hearing about the Moes’ business was exciting to him because trying new cookies is one of his favorite things. Brown, a training supervisor at the Polynesian Cultural Center, said he would buy Chunky cookies in bulk during their sales on

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Wednesdays and Fridays. He said the pandemic opened his eyes to supporting local businesses, and he respects Sterling and Hali’a Moe for working with what they have and making the best of it. “If you’re looking to support local, this is one of the ways you can do that. It’s kind of hard for natives or locals to stay in Hawaii.” Akanoa said they order cookies from the couple during their sales. Her son, she added, enjoys the cookies and would call

Fridays “Cookie Friday.” She said, “We do it to support. We love the cookies, but at the same time, we want to help them out by supporting [their] business.” Akanoa said Sterling Moe enjoys football and has trained her sons, without asking for anything in return, because he loves doing it. He and his wife, she added, have genuinely good hearts and serve without asking for anything in return.

Mark of an owner One time, Maples said he had ordered 300 cookies for a church activity. He said Sterling and Hali’a Moe delivered the cookies neatly in boxes, undamaged and provided napkins. “You felt like you were really being taken care of, and that’s a mark of an owner

who really wants to make a difference, who loves their business.” As the vice president of Culinary Services at Polynesian Cultural Center, Maples said he offered to buy their cookies and sell them at Pounders Restaurant. He said he made that decision because he believed in their product and in them as people. “These are successful people [who] just so happen [to] have a passion for making a really great bunch of cookies. And they’re using their talent to do that.” It is important for people to follow their passion, said Maples, and to find joy in doing what they love. Having grown up in Laie, Sterling and Hali’a Moe didn’t ride on the “coattails of their families” or take up jobs at the PCC or BYUH, he added. “They went into something completely different and did it on their own. “I would say anybody can bake a cookie. Not everybody can sell a cookie that’s

Above: Hali’a and Sterling Moe showing off a box of their cookies at a Chunky cookie sale. Right: BYUH student buying a box of the locally made cookies. Photos by Yui Leung. 1 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

going to be around for a long time.You have to have passion for whatever you’re doing in order to do that.” Brown described Sterling and Hali’a Moe as people with “golden hearts,” who bless other people through their talents. Supporting people like the Moes, he added, will allow them to continue serving and giving back to the community. Brown, who grew up with Sterling Moe, said he is a service-oriented person. On one occasion, Sterling Moe started a barbecue fundraiser to raise money for an athlete from Laie who was injured playing football on the mainland, he added. He said in Laie, it is normal for community members to support each other in times of need. Despite challenges they’ve faced, Sterling and Hali’a Moe are very hardworking people, said Akanoa. She added she admires the Moes’ perseverance. As a young couple with four children, she said they have managed to support themselves financially and still spend quality time together. “They’re a great example of ‘no pain, no gain.’ You’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t work for it.”

The future of Chunky cookies Sterling Moe said they eventually want to work on a food truck to drive around and sell their products across the North Shore. He said they’re selling at Pounders and BYUH and have been approached by Seven Brothers. Hali’a Moe added they want to have a storefront to sell from but aren’t able to at the moment with their current space. She said she and her husband are extremely grateful for the support from students and community members. Sterling Moe said students can continue to support other small businesses alongside theirs. To learn more about Chunky cookies and stay up to date about the newest cookie, follow @chunky_co on Instagram. Cookies are sold every Wednesday and Friday from 1 p.m. until the last cookie is gone. The tent can be found at 55-421 Naniloa Loop, Laie, Hawaii. You can also find the cookies on campus at the C-Store whenever there is a new supply of them. •

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WATERMELON PINEAPPLE ‘OTAI ’Otai (OH-tye) originated in Polynesia and is enjoyed across the region INGREDIENTS • 1/2 large watermelon • 1 can crushed pineapple • 3 cups of cold water • 1 can coconut milk • Sugar (optional, to taste) • Crushed Ice

INSTRUCTIONS 1. Use a fork to scrape the inside of the watermelon into shreds or cut the watermelon into large chunks and use the large side of your grater to grate the fruit. 2. Add the rest of the ingredients. Do not drain the pineapple juice — add it all together. 3. Chill 4. Add enough crushed ice to equal at least 1/3 of the ‘otai mixture. 5. Serve immediately after adding the ice.

Recipe from the Polynesian Cultural Center’s website Freshly made watermelon pineapple ‘otai and a reptilian friend. Photos by Emarie Majors. S PRIN G 2022 13

Gender equality increasing for surfing in Hawaii, but is not like the dominance women had when surfing began, local surfers say BY NICHOLE WHITELEY


ixty-two percent of college-aged students in an April Instagram survey said they think of surfing as a male sport. Kinsey Hippolite, a resident of Kahuku, said the way to change this perception is for women to talk more about being surfers and support other female surfers. She said as women are proud to be surfers and bring it into the conversation, others will start to do the same, and people will begin to recognize surfing as a sport for both men and women. In Hawaiian lore, Mamala, a kupua or demigod who is half woman and half shark, was the first female surfer, according to the article “Women Making Waves” on the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center website ( The article says she “skillfully danced on the roughest waves.” The article continues saying the oldest surfboard ever found, dating back to the 1600s, belonged to Princess Kaneamuna, and it was discovered in her burial cave in Ho’okena on the Big Island in 1905. The article says this finding confirms women were prominent and respected surfers since the beginning of the sport.

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MISSIONARIES AND THE DECLINE OF WOMEN’S SURFING The History website states, “The arrival of American missionaries in the 19th century disrupted the mixed-gender sport as they disapproved of baring skin and gambling during surf contests.” BYU–Hawaii Academic Vice President Isaiah Walker, who is a surfing historian, explained when the Calvinist missionaries arrived in Hawaii, they saw Hawaiian traditions such as hula and surfing as sexual in nature. The missionaries tried to replace Hawaiian traditions with their own, says the History website. Walker added while the missionaries frowned upon these traditions, “There wasn’t really an official ban on surfing, and a lot of Hawaiians just didn’t listen to them.” One of these Hawaiians was Princess Ka‘iulani, a prominent female surfer in the late 1800s who brought surfing to England when she surfed the English Channel. The History website says she played a key part in keeping surfing alive for people to enjoy today. The missionaries’ disapproval was not the main factor in the decline of surfing

among Hawaiians, Walker explained, but it did contribute largely to surfing becoming a male-dominated sport. “I think what the missionaries may have had more impact on is the decline of women’s surfing,” Walker said. He added diseases brought over through colonization caused almost 90 percent of the Hawaiian population to perish. This meant there were less Hawaiians to surf, which led to the decline in surfing as a whole.

GENDER ROLES IN HAWAII The results of the Instagram survey also showed 78 percent of college-aged students think surfing culture, in regards to gender equality, is more equal today than when it started. However, when Hawaiian surfing began, men and women were seen as equals on the water, according to an article from the Magicseaweed website. “In pre-contact Hawaii, surfing was for everyone: mothers, grandfathers, warriors, princesses, children. In fact, historians of Ancient Polynesia acknowledge that it was women who seemed to stand in the highest regard for their skill, grace and poise as surfers.”

BYUH students Michael Reynolds-Smith and Anna Jeffries surf together at Turtle Bay. Photo by Marwin Jay Villegas.

Although women were seen as equals to men in most regards, in pre-contact Hawaii, Walker said, there were certain traditions that separated women. He explained women were involved in government positions and athletic activities such as wrestling, boxing, and surfing, which was seen as progressive to Western culture. Limited traditions for women included not being allowed to eat certain foods and not eating or sleeping in the same house as a man. Walker said Queen Ka’ahumanu, one of the wives of King Kamehameha, viewed these gender rules as very limiting and unfair to women. When King Kamehameha died, Ka’ahumanu became the ruler. To counteract or protest against these restrictions in Hawaiian culture, she adopted western gender rules and Christianity to lift the limitations on women under her rule. Along with Western culture came many new restrictions for women, including the participation of women in athletic activities. Walker said this may be one of the large contributing factors to the decline of women as prominent surfers.

SURFING CULTURE TODAY A few early surfers helped break down some of the gender norms in surfing and made it more socially acceptable for women to surf alongside men. Duke Kahanamoku was an Olympic gold medalist swimmer. He was a Native Hawaiian, and as he traveled the world, he brought surfing with him. He was the first to introduce surfing in Australia. Walker said as a crowd was watching Kahanamoku surf, he asked 15-year-old Isabel Letham, a woman, to tandem surf with him, and everyone was amazed. Not only did this event break some of the gender boundaries for surfing, but also it began breaking gender norms for women in general. While there have been strides made within equality between genders, Hippolite said she has noticed small differences between men and women on the water. Hippolite has lived in Hawaii most of her life but was born in Utah and lived in New Zealand for four years before coming to Hawaii. She said she has been surfing since she was 8 years old. She said in her experience, the surfing culture in Hawaii is “pretty equal” between

men and women. She added as surfing becomes more competitive, men are frequently more recognized over women. The sport becomes male dominated when it is high performance, Hippolite added. She explained she sees more women longboarding, which focuses more on style such as walking to the nose of the board or doing tricks like headstands while surfing, but she sees more men on shortboards, which are built for high performance and focuses on technique such as “faster turns” or “higher airs.” Still, there are prominent female surfers who have made history. Carissa Moore was born in Hawaii and started surfing at the age of 5, and in 2016 she finished in third place for the world ranking, according to the Surf Canarias website. Stephanie Gilmore is a professional surfer from Australia, according to Surf Canarias, and was included in the Surfing Hall of Fame at 22 years old. She is currently No. 1 in professional female surfing. Walker, who grew up in Hilo on the Big Island, said when he was a teenager the surfing gender dynamic was very different. He said it was very unequal between men and women, S PRIN G 2022 15

Below: Hauula teenager Naomi Saenz competing at the Volcom Surf contest at Makaha Beach. Photo by Monique Saenz. Right, top: Also from Hauula, Zane Saenz is pictured winning his third National Championship title and Naomi Saenz winning second place in the adult professional division at the SUP surfing nationals in Oceanside, California. Photo by Monique Saenz. Bottom: Michael Reynolds-Smith and Anna Jeffries share their love for surfing. Photo by Marwin Jay Villegas.

but over the years he has seen more women competing and surfing as a whole.

FACTORS OTHER THAN GENDER Although the survey results showed there is a perception that surfing is more equal between genders today than when it started, an article by Isaiah Walker titled “Womentum: Rethinking the Women’s Movement,” which talks of prominent female surfers today says, “In many ways, this new cohort is drawing us closer to surfing’s roots and identity, one where women surfers were more dominant.” Hippolite said, in regard to gender, she has never felt discrimination for being a female


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surfer other than feeling intimidated by other surfers, although she has noticed men will take priority to catch a wave if it is between him and a woman. More than gender, she said she has noticed different treatment towards surfers depending on their race and where they are from. Priority to catch a wave is usually given to locals. She said it can be frustrating for locals when inexperienced surfers, usually non-locals, do not follow surfing etiquette and try to catch every wave, but even an experienced surfer who is visiting is treated differently, she added. It is not always about being a local, Hippolite said, rather the color of your skin can play a factor in how one is treated out on the water too. “It’s so sad to say, but my sister, she’s lighter skinned than me, and she was born here, She has been raised here her whole life, and since she’s seen as more fair toned, she’s treated different out on the water,” despite having the same skill level as Hippolite. The difference of treatment is small but noticeable, she said. When Hippolite paddles out to a wave, she is cheered on, but when her sister paddles out, the other surfers are silent, and will paddle next to her, taking the wave she was going after. She said she loves how recognized female surfers are becoming but added, “I would love to see a lot more girls competing. A lot more girls just getting out there and not feeling intimidated, reaching their full potential.” Another change she said she would love to see is “stopping the norm of guys overtaking every wave for the woman. Girls, they’ve got it. It’s theirs too.” •





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Need plans for today? Here are some options. Watch sunrise? Watch the sunrise from Bikini Beach or Laie Point.

Sleep in? Go on a morning walk down the Malaekahana Bike Path. Write in your journal.

Hike Crouching Lion for sunrise.

Go out for breakfast? Make your own breakfast?

Get Loco Moco at Ted’s Bakery. Get Mac Nut Banana Pancakes at Papa Ole’s.

Make an acai bowl or fruit smoothie.

Make pancakes with friends.

Day in Haleiwa?

Beach day? Visit all the shops in Downtown Haleiwa and jump off the Rainbow Bridge.

Head to Keiki’s Beach to lay out and catch some sun.

Go paddleboarding down the Anahulu Stream and see the sea turtles.

Dinner? Grab Foodland sushi and catch the sunset from Sunset Beach. Get a Seven Brother’s burger at Shark’s Cove for dinner.

Dessert? Get real fruit ice cream at Sweet As. Go to Angel’s and get milkshakes or shave ice.

Lay out at Pipeline and watch the surfers.

Refuel with... Some fresh fruit from a nearby fruit stand. Banzai Bowls or Matsumoto’s shave ice for a snack.

Watch the sunset? Hike the Sunset Pillbox for sunset, then grab dinner at the Kahuku Mill. Pack a picnic and hike the Kawela Bay Pillbox. Watch the sunset while enjoying your dinner. S PRIN G 2022 19

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CREATIVE BUILDER Longtime Hauula community member and volunteer says it’s up to the individual to create their own space BY LEIANI MOLIS


and painted onto the circular ceiling of longtime Hauula community member Kenneth Kenzo Furukawa’s three-story house are these words in Hawaiian: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” The words encircle an angelic scene Furukawa said he decided to paint after seeing many majestic ceilings on his trips to Europe. Furukawa said house is named “Ku’u Home Me Na Anela O Nalani,” or “My Home With the Angels of the Heavens.” He said turning it into the structure it is today has been a matter of prayer. More than 30 years after buying a small, two-bedroom house, today the interior of his three-story home features a spiral staircase leading up to the ceiling art and Hawaiian words of ho‘okipa, or hospitality, that was painted and designed by Furukawa himself. “I want kids to understand that you can. From an uncle who thought … I could not even live off [his first paycheck], to getting

a house, I want them to know that you can. Nothing’s impossible.”

‘You create your space’ Despite not completing any formal training in architecture or design, Furukawa said whenever he goes to a new place, he always envisions what he would do to change it. When designing changes for his own house, Furukawa shared, it was no different. He said he would stand outside the sliding glass door on the deck and picture how he wanted to change its structure. When he first came to look at the house, it was 42 years old, and Furukawa said it reminded him of his grandfather’s ranch house on Moloka‘i. The ranch house was built in the old board and batten style with old fashioned windows, Furukawa explained, which he said he likes, along with architecture and “nice things.” One of Furukawa’s good friends and fellow full-time volunteer at the Hauula

Community Association, Dotty KellyPaddock, said her friend is a gentle soul with a big heart for his community. “Ken [Furukawa] cares very deeply about making things nice and looking nice. He always says that in our meetings [community association meetings]. He wants people to care about their community and how it looks.” She added Furukawa frequently goes around the community offering to powerwash any of his neighbors’ properties, including the walkway in front of 7-Eleven. Furukawa added, “My philosophy is, whatever your place is, ugly or whatever, you create your space.” Son to a Hawaiian mother and Japanese father, Furukawa said his parents named him after his father’s father, who Top: Furukawa sitting in his three-story Hauula home. Photo by Sugarmaa Bataa (Kendra). Bottom left: Furukawa, in 1977, in front of the Christus statue replica he created. Bottom right: The mini Washington D.C. temple model Furukawa designed. Photos courtesy of Kenneth Furukawa. S PRIN G 2022 21

e c a l p r u o y r e , v r e e t v e t a Wha h w r . o e y c l a g p s u , r s i u o y e t a e r c u yo passed away a month before Furukawa was born. “Kenzo,” Furukawa’s middle name, pays tribute to this grandfather and means “creative builder,” Furukawa explained. It was this creative builder aspect of Furukawa’s personality that propelled his home-renovation project. Three years after he moved in, Furukawa said he had drawn up plans for the new design of his house. Using the resources available to him, including the bishop of his ward at the time who was a contractor looking for work, Furukawa made his designs come to life. Furukawa shared other projects he has designed and completed over the years include a mini model of the Washington D.C. Temple and a Christus statue, both of which were displayed at the 1977 Moloka‘i Junior Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Annual Carnival. Furukawa explained this annual carnival was a huge affair in Moloka‘i where he grew up. Furukawa said he was inspired by the 127-foot-tall replica of the eastern spires of the Salt Lake City temple that were displayed at the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair, according to the BYU Religious Education website. With this example in mind, Furukawa said he envisioned more for the Church’s booth at his hometown carnival and drew up plans for a mini Washington D.C. Temple because he liked the architecture. His dad helped him put it together, he added. 2 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

Another of Furukawa’s friends and fellow church member, Steven Carter, said Furukawa is not only creative but also he’s driven. “Creativity means something, but creativity coupled with work means a heck of a lot more. … He’s [Furukawa] a very hard worker, and he is willing to roll up his sleeves [and work]. And I think that kind of reflects itself in the way that he serves too. He doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk.”

Making do After graduating from BYU in Provo in 1980, Furukawa returned to Hawaii and lived with his sister in Honolulu, where he got a job at American Express Travel. “When I first got my first paycheck, when I looked at my paycheck I went, ‘They made a mistake. If this is my pay, I cannot live off of this!’” So, he went to his boss and asked her to check and make sure everything was okay. When she assured him that nothing was askew, Furukawa said he thought to himself, “I cannot live with this pay!” Nine years later, however, his financial planner told him he had reached his goal and could afford his own house, Furukawa shared. From there, Furukawa said his life was dollar movies, working two jobs, catching the bus whenever he could to save money and working on his house whenever he got the chance. Walking around his house, Furukawa also described different additions, such as

countertops and curtains, that he received for free or relatively cheap because he’s not afraid to use materials others are throwing away to bring his ideas to life. “My grandmother on the Japanese side of the family always said, ‘Go [to] school, study hard, work hard, save your money.’ But I always liked nice things. But you know, if you can’t afford it, then you just do with what you have.” Furukawa said he was always interested in architecture, even when he was a child. When asked what style of house he wanted when he was growing up, Furukawa said he could not decide on any one style, adding, “‘No, I don’t want just one house. I need at least six.’” Although people have been surprised by this declaration, Furukawa said it proved prophetic in a way. After his father passed away, Furukawa said he and his sister were left with all the houses their dad had built on Moloka‘i, which happened to be six of them.

A good neighbor to all He bought his now 75-year-old house in Hauula in June of 1990 and said he has lived there ever since. However, he visits Moloka‘i

frequently to check on the rental units of his other houses. Although he didn’t originally have the best impression of Hauula, Furukawa explained, “That’s what I bought because that’s what I could afford.” However, during his time here, he said his love for the place has expanded. KellyPaddock said, “[Furukawa is] so concerned about the community. He is very busy with his church and his rental properties, but I would say [the] Hauula community comes in there very close to next place.” Kelly-Paddock, originally from Indiana, said she met Furukawa in 2009, although they both moved to Honolulu in the 1980s. In 2014, the two of them started “Hui O Hauula,” a nonprofit with the goal to “improve the resilience of the community,” shared Kelly-Paddock. Carter, who teaches at BYU–Hawaii as an assistant professor in the Faculty of Education & Social Work, described Furukawa as “endearingly frank” and said he is always willing to serve but is also very direct. “Ken [Furukawa] is one of those people who is just a good neighbor to all. He may say

some things sometimes that not everybody agrees with, but he’s just a good neighbor to all. He’s sincere.” Carter explained Furukawa is always helping his neighbors with their yard work. One time, Furukawa brought grass in a garbage bag all the way from Moloka‘i and helped Carter and his family plant it in their yard, Carter shared. “He’s willing to do—in his own kind of funny, quirky way—whatever he can do to serve people around him. I think service is a core part of who he is.” •

Left: Furukawa holding up a shaka. Happily, he achieved his goal of owning six homes after inheriting several his father built. Top: Furukawa’s ceiling painting at the top of the spiral staircase in his three-story home, inspired by the ceilings he saw on his trips to Europe. Photos by Sugarmaa Bataa (Kendra).

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learning the

Information from the Collections of Waikiki website. Graphics by Marlee Palmer. 2 4 KE AL A K A‘I 2022


used when greeting someone and saying goodbye


used to express gratitude; turn it into "Mahalo nui loa" to add emphasis

da kine

from the word "the kind" and used as a substitution word for all scenarios


meaning child


a slang word used as "okay" or an acknowledgement


food or a meal; must be spelled with a 'z'


hand gesture meant as a greeting, farewell or sign of approval

talk story

meaning chatting and reminiscing with friends and acquaintances

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Local poke shack owner says he is inspired by the techniques his grandfather taught him at 5 years old BY NICHOLE WHITELEY


hen his eyes are closed, Ryan Ching said he can see a crystal-clear image of his grandfather: Ching is 5 years old, the baseball game is on and he is sitting on his grandpa’s lap playing with his chest hair and slapping his belly. Ching said he recalls pu pu platters, or trays of appetizers, on the table before them, which consist of pistachio nuts, boiled peanuts and the most important ingredient always present in his grandpa’s pu pu platter: poke. Over the years Ching, a resident of Ewa, Hawaii, said he had been looking for a job he loved—one he was passionate about and could look forward to every morning. After he and his wife, Khannie Ching, took a chance and opened Ry’s Poke Shack in Kahuku one year

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ago, Ryan Ching said he never snoozes his alarm anymore. Instead, his body wakes him up an hour ahead of time. His eagerness to wake up for work was how he knew he loved what he was doing, Ryan Ching explained. Khannie Ching added, “Service is Ryan’s [Ching’s] passion, and he has an affinity like no other for poke and Hawaii.” Ryan Ching said his poke is inspired by his grandfather’s techniques he learned as a child.

Tailor-made poke Instead of marinating the fish in the sauce and preparing it all before the customers come, Ryan Ching said he and his wife create each dish with thought to the individual customer as it is ordered. He said each dish is tailored to the customer as it is made fresh with love and care. “The secret to our poke is the secret to everything. … It’s such a cliché to say you love what you do, but that’s the truth. Because when you really love what you do, your mind just races every single day, non-stop, and then you’re always going to find a way.When people say you can’t do something or you’re just thinking about the same problem over and over and over and over, … you’re going to find all kinds of ways to conquer it,” Ryan Ching said. The technique of adding the sauce to the fish right before serving it comes from Ryan Ching’s grandfather, he said. He explained he has continued following the example his grandfather set because of his love for his grandfather, who instilled in him that this was the correct way to make poke.

Ryan Ching said his grandfather’s words and the techniques he taught him sank so deeply into his soul that, still today, it influences how he runs his business and makes his poke. “That’s why I enjoy the things I do, just because I feel like that [the way his grandfather makes poke] was correct. Even though it might not be complete truth, it’s true for me.”

More than just customers Ryan Ching’s customers praise his poke for tasting fresh and choose his shack over others on the island, said Chesser Cowan, a BYU–Hawaii alumnus from New Zealand. It is not just the food that keeps customers coming back to Ry’s Poke Shack, Cowan shared, it is the relationships the Chings form with their customers. Cowan is a regular at Ry’s Poke Shack, and he said he loves the freshly made poke and added “the hospitality is above and beyond.” He said one of his friends is another regular customer at Ry’s Poke Shack and has formed a good relationship with the Chings. He even has his own secret menu item. Khannie Ching said, “We are so proud of our poke and relationships with our customers.” She continued, “Ryan [Ching] has had a lot of belief in me and always makes me feel like we are making a difference in what we do. We are so thankful for each other and our poke business.” •

Left: Ryan Ching at 5 years old with his grandpa who taught him poke recipes and grandma in 1991. Photo provided by Ryan Ching.

Top to bottom: Local shack owners Ryan and Khannie Ching. Poke dish from Ry’s Poke shack. Customers Chesser Cowan and Tyrelle Fesola’i enjoy Ry’s poke. Photos by Emarie Majors. S PRIN G 2022 27

Owners of Bananza say they owe the success of their frozen banana food truck to BYUH for encouraging them during the pandemic BY LEXI LANGLEY


ess Moncur said she and her husband Max, who are owners of Bananza and BYU–Hawaii alumni, believe winning the Great Ideas Competition in Fall Semester 2020 gave them the emotional boost they needed to endure the hardships of opening a small business during the pandemic. Speaking on behalf of her husband, Tess Moncur said, “What he learned [at BYUH] from his professors and other students in the business program is what made Bananza possible.”

“Managing can be a lot of work, but I’ve grown and learned a lot from it. I am grateful for the experiences I get from doing it,” said Staley. Tess Moncur said the biggest blessing of owning Bananza has been meeting people. She explained how labor-intensive it is to run a business. “Max [Moncur] and I were the only two employees for nine months,” she shared. She explained how energizing and rewarding it is to have people love their product. “The customers make it worth it,” she added.

Opening during a pandemic

Giving back

Bananza, a gourmet frozen banana food truck located in Haleiwa, opened in October of 2020, said Tess Moncur. She shared the biggest challenge she and her husband faced is the pandemic. “There are so many elements that are out of your control being a business owner, and COVID-19 added so many more,” she explained. BYUH alumna Debra Wijaya, described the location of Bananza, “being between bigger restaurants, so it serves as a quick dessert, which is smart!” Finding a location for Bananza was a challenge as well because most food truck landlords were not accepting new renters, said Tess Moncur. She explained it was a blessing to find a spot in Haleiwa as she and her husband were living in Pupukea at the time. Most of their ward family and community members lived near the small business, said Tess Moncur. Because of the local support and customers, they survived the pandemic, she added.

Rewarding sacrifices Kate Staley, manager of Bananza and alumna of BYUH, said her favorite part about managing is the feeling of accomplishment.

When they first opened, Bananza held fundraisers for the community, Tess Moncur shared. “It was exciting to be able to own a business that was doing something positive for the community,” she said. “It is an amazing thing to support the community you love and have the community support you.” At the time Bananza opened, Tess Moncur was a full-time student, student-teacher, and coach at Kahuku High School alongside her husband, Max Moncur. Between their communities at BYUH, Laie Elementary School, Kahuku High School, ward members and neighbors in Pupukea, Tess Moncur shared what a blessing it is to “have an impact and give back to the local community.” She concluded, “Thank you, BYUH, for teaching, guiding, and supporting us throughout this crazy journey, especially in the beginning.” To try the custom chocolate-dipped frozen bananas, visit the Bananza food truck in Haleiwa in the Courtyard by Rajanee Thai and Teddy’s Bigger Burgers. It is open from Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. To learn more about the business, follow @ bananzahawaii on Instagram. •

Owners Max and Tess Moncur at their gourmet frozen banana food truck in Haleiwa. Photos provided by Tessa Randal. Graphics by Emily Hendrickson. 2 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

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FISHIN’ NORTH SHORE Two students from Mililani reminisce on fishing cultures and their favorite memories of fishing in Hawaii BY ABIGAIL HARPER


ccording to Hawaiian tradition, when fishing one should never say the word “fish,” shared Seth Thompson, a senior from Mililani studying finance and economics. The belief is if you do, it will scare all the fish away. Instead, when going out with fishing gear in hand, Thompson said older locals will say “holoholo” or “take it easy,” and everyone will know what they mean. Retired Kapi’olani Community College English Professor Dennis Kawaharada explains in the introduction to Moke Manu’s book, “Hawaiian Fishing Traditions,” that a lot of kapu, or taboo, has surrounded Hawaiian fishing. Some families couldn’t eat or catch certain fish if their aumakua, or ancestral god, had a fish form. According to Kawaharada, some kapus exist to prevent overfishing or fishing during the spawning season.

The right catch Thompson said he has been fishing almost every week since middle school, beginning with spearfishing. While spearfishing may seem more exciting, Thompson said, it’s a lot more work. The hassle of getting in the water, then getting out and getting cleaned up wasn’t Thompson’s vibe, he shared. He said this led him to try hook and line fishing. “I think spear fishing is one of those things where you’re really into it for a couple months, and then you go out enough times and you get tired of it, and then a year later you get into it again. Whereas normal hook and line fishing you can do it all the time and it never gets old,” said Thompson. Everett Tracy, a junior from Mililani studying business management and marketing and Thompson’s childhood friend, shared a different opinion. “I live for spearfishing,” said Tracy. “I just like being in the water, even if we don’t catch anything or see anything. It’s just fun to be there with my homies. When you do catch something, it just feels good, ya know?” Tracy said he goes fishing everyday he can weather permitting.

Connecting and catching For Tracy, fishing is more than just the catch. It’s the connections he forms with those he’s with while fishing. “I think one of the best things 3 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

that I’ve gotten out of my hobby of fishing is the priceless memories and bonds I’ve made with my family and friends.” Similarly, Thompson shared his fondest fishing memory. “One day, back when I was still in high school, I spent the day fishing with my dad and brother at one of our regular spots,” Thompson said. “We would go every weekend, but this particular day was special because the conditions were perfect, and we caught a cooler full of the best fish.” It wasn’t just the fish that made this such a memorable day for Thompson, he said, but the time spent with family. “Me and my brother still refer to that day as the ‘nice day’ and reminisce on our memories.” Thompson explained some types of fishing are more of a solitary activity, such as whip. Whipping is when the fishermen cast their line, then reel it in, and cast again, keeping their mind on the line. Differently, other forms of fishing, like dunking, can be a social event, Thompson added. Dunking, he explained, is when the fishermen cast their line and set up their pole and leave it there. They attach bells to the pole, so they’ll hear if a fish bites, but otherwise they are free to socialize. Thompson said, “There’s a lot of people who fish all night and they’ll have everything set up. Or even during the day people will barbecue and have all their family and friends there and just be fishing on the side.” Thompson said he enjoys both ways.

Unfortunate experiences Tracy said his first time spearfishing he didn’t have his own buoy, a floating device to mark a fishermen’s location, so he made his own. “It was super janky, and I got tangled in the reef and almost drowned,” he said nonchalantly. Thompson shared an embarrassing experience when fishing. He said his worst experience was when he was fishing with his favorite rod. “The fish wrapped the line around the reef right as it was getting close, and when I pulled the rod to pump the fish in, the pole snapped and broke in two,” Thompson said. “I was lucky enough to have an audience of beach goers watch it unfold, which hurt my ego even more.” Thompson said the fishing community is usually friendly, but some are very reserved because they don’t want to give away their secrets, such as their favorite spots to fish or different kinds of bait to use. Thompson smiled when he shared he has secrets of his own but wanted to keep them for himself. Thompson said his typical catches include oio, also known as bonefish, and ulua and papio, known as trevally. Tracy said his best experience while fishing was when he caught his first trevally. “He put up a really good fight, and it was such an adrenaline rush,” he said.

Serving it up Before haole, or non-native Hawaiian, foods were introduced to Hawaii, there were just two main food groups, says Kawaharada. ‘Ai (vegetables such as taro and poi) and i‘a (meat), specifically seafood. Fish has always been a staple in the Hawaiian diet and is served both cooked and raw in a variety of ways to make it “ono” or delicious. Thompson said he loves the thrill of the catch, but the fish are tasty too. Similarly, Tracy said one main reason he loves to fish is for the tacos. Tracy continued, sharing his not-so-secret recipe, “Whatever fish I’ve shot I dip in egg white and breadcrumbs or whatnot and then put it in some lemon pepper, fry it up and load it with avocados, cilantro and peppers. The avocado and lemon pepper is the key winner.You could catch a bad fish and it would still slap.” • Seth Thompson shares his fond memories of fishing on the North Shore. Photos by Emarie Majors.

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FUN-SIZED FIREKNIFE ‘Don’t drop it’ and ‘impress the judges’ were Junior Fireknife Champion Elway Tora’s main thoughts during his winning performance BY MCKENZIE ALVAREZ-BARNES


oments before taking the stage to perform various spins and catches in his fireknife routine, the 2022 Junior World Fireknife Champion, 11-yearold Elway Tora of Laie, said he had butterflies in his stomach. “[I] tried my best not to think about going on stage, tried not to be nervous.” This was Tora’s second year competing at the World Fireknife competition. He shared what he felt during his performance on the evening of May 4. “All that nervous stuff went away. In my head [I] was just like, ‘Don’t drop it. Don’t drop it.’ And impress the judges.”

His own little world Tora’s father, Api Tora, also from Laie, said his son practices his routines in their front yard, “where he [Elway Tora] is just in his own little world.” The 2022 junior champion stated he only seriously trained for one or two weeks leading up to the competition. “I really only do it for fun, so I would get bored and go outside and just practice,” said Elway Tora of his preparations. Api Tora added the serious part of his son’s training took place at Vaimatina, a fireknife school in Laie run by former fireknife champion David Galea’i. Api Tora explained, “They have scheduled trainings, weekly trainings, and when it comes leading up to the competition, then they will have it more regularly on a daily basis.” Along with the weekly training at Vaimatina and solo practice, Elway Tora said he had to learn some intricate tricks, such as “a throw around the neck.” With the help of his coaches, he was able to master this skill, but 3 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

he explained he mostly taught himself until he “somehow got it.”

Mental preparation Aside from physical preparation, competitors said they must also prepare mentally. Ferila Soatogi Mata’u, a member of the fireknife committee and the backstage crew for the Junior and Intermediate 2022 Fireknife Competition, shared her experience watching the young competitors prepare themselves mentally for their performance. “Being on stage you have to prepare yourself to go on stage.You gotta be mentally prepared. You know, you gotta prepare mentally, physically and emotionally, to go on stage, and especially when you’re actually performing with fire. It’s very intense.” For Elway Tora, this mental preparation always involves prayer. “For me, before I go on I say a little prayer, and then I find [an] open space when no one is there. Sometimes our uncle gives us drills to work on.” Mata’u said mental preparation is a time to rebuild your confidence because fireknife is a dangerous sport and every competitor has their own routine. Not only must the competitors be ready but also the parents, shared Mata’u. She added about 70 percent of parents have had little to no experience in the world of fireknife. Although this is the case, parents and community members alike come out to fully support these young talents, Mata’u said. Juliana Craig Masaniai, a resident of Laie who has been a presenter of the final awards for the past two years and presented on the evening of competition, said she was very overwhelmed by the talent and support of the

community and “that the whole world could watch the kids’ talent.” The event was live streamed for everyone to see.

‘Did They Say Elway?’ On the night of the competition, Api Tora said he left the performance due to nerves. “I was sitting out in the parking lot, thinking that you know, what does it really matter if he gets placed or not?” As the final lineup for awards began to be announced, Elway Tora said he was scared watching the other competitors before him. “I was thinking, ‘Oh no they might win. I’m probably not going to get the title.’ And what made it even worse, all [my] friends were going like, ‘He’s [one of the judges] coming,’ which made me even more scared.” Despite those feelings, while waiting for the results to be read, Elway Tora voiced he still felt hopeful that it would be him. When he was announced as the winner, he recalled feeling happy. Api Tora added, “First I was like, ‘Elway? Did they say Elway?’ Then I saw him walk forward and I realized, and it finally hit me [he had won]. To be a parent, it is something that you’re proud of. I’m proud of all who competed. They set the tone for the rest of the kids in this community.” Regarding his son’s hobby of fireknife, Api Tora expressed his gratitude for how the fireknife school instills discipline and focus. “With what’s going on in the world today and … all the distractions going on, it’s something that we can [use to] get their mind off and focus more on cultural things.”

Mata’u also spoke of the cultural value fireknife offers these young children. “The main purpose of this [competition] is to share the culture, [taking] the culture seriously and actually being [like], ‘This is part of me now. I’m representing Samoa even though I’m not Samoan, but I’m representing this because it’s who I am now.’” The World Fireknife competition involves competitors from many islands throughout the Pacific and the U.S. mainland, and it has included junior, intermediate, men’s and women’s divisions. Elway Tora won the junior division, which featured competitors ages 6 to 11. Elway Tora said he plans on competing next year and trying his best with the support of his family and fireknife school. • Elway Tora showing off his fireknife skills on the Aloha Center lawn. Photos by Yui Leung.

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New father says he seeks to instill love for reading in his son because of the example of his own father BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ


fter his first baby was born in December 2021, Naoshi Murata, a junior from Nara, Japan, majoring in information systems, said he was able to see how difficult it is to raise a child and felt more grateful for his parents who raised him. He said he appreciates his father who cares for him, though not always through words but by his father’s actions. Murata, who played baseball when he was young, said his father did not play any sports but liked reading and studying books. “After I started playing baseball, he [Murata’s father] bought some books [about it], and started to learn about baseball,” he said. When his older brother did Kendo, a style of Japanese martial arts, in junior high, Murata said they saw a book about it on their father’s bookshelf. “So, every time his children start doing different things, he learns about it,” he explained. Because of this experience, one thing he said he wants to pass to his son from his father is his love for studying. In their house, Murata said they have books readily available. He wants to have a good bookshelf in their home so their son can read lots of books, Murata shared. “Books teach a lot of things that you cannot learn from just by living each day, and it gives a lot of different perspectives, insights [and] knowledge,” he added.

Life changes Murata said when he got married, his life changed. When he became a father, his life switched again. He explained he now has a wife who needs him and a little human being who relies on them as parents. Being married is like always having a best friend in your life, he said. As a couple, they do things together, such as going for walks and having picnics, discussing life and getting feedback on how to be better, he explained. “Before getting married, I could do whatever. [For example], I could watch basketball full time.” He said he has less time for himself, and he focuses more on taking care of their baby, such as feeding and giving baths. Murata said sometimes being a parent can be difficult and admitted he could help out more with taking care of their baby. He said he learned from this experience he has more time than he thought.

A father, a student and a husband Murata’s wife, Akari Murata, who is from Okayama, Japan, said her husband takes care of their son while studying at the same time. She said he holds the baby and works on the computer simultaneously. “He wouldn’t say no to taking care of our son, whether feeding or giving a bath. He is always willing to take care of our baby.” She said she appreciates her spouse for being willing to help take care of their son. She added something she likes about her husband is

he doesn’t have any ideal or typical type he expects their son to be. “He is so accepting and only wants the best for our baby. And whatever he [their son] wants to do and what to be in the future, he would respect that,” she shared. Akari Murata said her spouse as a husband is kind and always respects her opinion. “He is open to what I like to do and what I don’t want to do. He is really easy to be with,” she said. For example, she shared, he is willing to work from home so she can go outside and do any job that she likes to do in the future.

Teaching by example Masaki Iwasa, a good friend of Naoshi Murata, said he came to BYU–Hawaii at the same time as him in 2017 when they were 18 years old. He said they both lived in the same hale at that time. Iwasa, a junior from Tottori, Japan, majoring in accounting, said he served in the Japan Fukuoka Mission with Naoshi Murata. He was an excellent leader in the field and became an assistant to the mission president where he gave training to other missionaries, Iwasa shared. At one point in their mission, Iwasa said he had the opportunity to serve with Naoshi Murata in the same district. “He [Naoshi Murata] didn’t force missionaries to work hard [but] showed his example and inspired us.” Iwasa also said he served in a ward where Naoshi Murata served before, and he discovered that all the members of the ward loved him and spoke well of him. “Members said he [Naoshi Murata] is funny, good at building relationships with members and has a [great] humor,” he recalled. After his mission, Naoshi Murata got married quickly, Iwasa said. “I knew that he would get married soon because he is kind and really good at showing love to others.” He said Naoshi Murata is selfless and always cares for others first before himself. Seeing him as a student at BYUH, Iwasa said Naoshi Murata hasn’t changed; he is selfless still to this day. Now knowing him as a father here at BYUH, Iwasa said whenever he goes to his friend’s house, he can see that Naoshi Murata is “always willing to help his spouse to take care of their baby.” Whenever they have dinner together, Naoshi Murata always takes care of their son so his spouse can eat dinner freely, Iwasa shared. Naoshi Murata said his goal as a father is to see his son grow up as a good influence on the people around him and to be an instrument in bringing people closer to Christ. With this being said, he shared he has learned the importance of being a good example first before he can effectively teach these things to his son. Naoshi Murata advises future fathers to focus their time on their spouses and children. He also encouraged them to see their children as human beings God entrusted them to raise. He added to not worry too much about everyday life affairs. •

As a new father, Naoshi Murata’s goal is to raise his son to be a good influence and bring people to Christ. Photos by Yui Leung.

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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


n the late 1970s, May became known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, or AAPI, which commemorates the success of Asian Americans and Pacific Islander figures, the History website says. According to the website, New York representative Frank Horton and Hawaii’s Senator Daniel Inouye, the namesake for Honolulu’s airport, tried passing laws to dedicate the first ten days of May towards recognizing Asian and Pacific American Heritage. The laws weren’t passed until Horton reintroduced another resolution the following year, which was passed. Eventually, under George W. Bush’s administration, the week-long celebration was expanded to a month and renamed AAPI Heritage Month. Terrell Wu, a senior communications major from Malaysia, said although he is Malaysian, he looks up to Asian Americans. He said Asian Americans tend to have an

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“It shows respect to put effort into learning about the culture of the people around you and the place in which you live, both from books and from living people.” -Prof. Eve Koller identity crisis about whether they’re truly Asian or American. Representation is important because in America, Wu explained, Asians are underrepresented and subject to stereotypes. Asians are depicted as being good at math or martial arts, being geeky, weak and defenseless. He said recent films such as Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and Disney’s “Raya and the Last Dragon” portray Asians against such stereotypes. “More than most of these films are not only making a lot of money because of actual depiction, but, they’re telling real stories, real culture and real traditions instead of the made up ones that we see on TV.” One of the groups represented under Pacific Islanders are Samoans. Rowena Reid, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Sciences, said there are many Samoans who live in the U.S. mainland and some in

New Zealand and Australia. She said Samoa wouldn’t have enough room now for all the Samoans now to live in, thus, the population is scattered. Because of this, she added, there needs to be more representation to have their voices heard and represented. Samoans are known for going into the military, Reid shared, because that was one way to leave the island and explore the world. She said with second, third and proceeding generations living outside of Samoa, there needs to be a link back to the culture. To see videos on student and faculty AAPI inspirations, scan the QR code below. •



of the U.S. population identify as Asian American.

of the U.S. population identify as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander.


ethnic groups are represented in Asian American and Pacific Islanders.

Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau & NAMI websites. Graphics by Yichi Lu.

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DEVOTED MOTHERS BYUH students share their experiences and challenges as mothers, wives and full-time students BY MAHANA TEPA & LEIANI MOLIS


ily Simpson said she always wanted to follow Heavenly Father’s commandment to procreate and receive the eternal blessing of a family. Simpson, a junior from Australia majoring in Pacific Island studies, said despite the intense journey of being simultaneously a parent and student, these responsibilities should not restrain anyone to build a family while pursuing an education. “If I’ve never been a mother, I would never know how strong I am.”

Learning to ask for help Through her journey of motherhood, Simpson shared her daughter, Tolo, taught her more about herself than any other experiences in her life or with the people she met. Since the first day she became a mother, Simpson said she was surprised at her ability and strength to work through this new journey without the physical support of her family. With the help of her mother through daily calls, she shared she received the necessary guidance and help she needed as a new mother. “Despite there were days I thought I could not make it, I am proud of myself. Although we [she and her husband] received guidance through calls, we did everything ourselves to provide, care and educate our child together.” Mele Moea‘i, a sophomore from Taylorsville, Utah, majoring in social work, had her first baby four days after finals week of Fall Semester. Moea‘i said her mother wasn’t able to be here for the birth, which she said was upsetting for the both of them. “That’s an experience that you want your mom to be right there with you. Thankfully, my mother-in-law was there, and we’re very close. She was a huge help. Just having a mother figure in the room, besides doctors who are mothers, someone that you have a personal connection to – it was a tremendous help.” As a mother and full-time student, Moea‘i advised others in similar situations to not be prideful and ask for help. “I think it’s easy, especially as women in general, with or without children, to feel this pressing need to be independent. And independence is a good thing, but every virtue can be a vice if used to the extreme.” Moea‘i added the first month was rough for her because she didn’t want to ask her husband for help with their baby at S PRIN G 2022 39

night. She said the reason for this was he was working, and she didn’t want him to be too tired for work the next day. Her husband reminded her that marriage and parenting are meant to be a partnership and joint effort, Moea‘i added. “At first, I was like, ‘Oh, wow.You don’t care if you don’t get enough sleep, then? Because I want you to get enough sleep. If one of us is well rested, then I guess that’s good.’ But after that, we both kind of shared the love. … There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.”

Being a mother first Besides her academic journey, Tsatsaa Ganzorigt, a senior from Mongolia majoring in exercise & sport science, said her children taught her why sacrifices are worth it. She explained, “Everything I do for them, everything I work hard for, became no longer a burden but a blessing.” Ganzorigt said she feels a lot of gratitude toward Heavenly Father for her children. “I love them more than anything in the world.” Ganzorigt was already a mother of two before attending BYU–Hawaii and was expecting her third and fourth child while enrolled as a student. “As a mother of two, life was already hard when we were in Mongolia. I had to watch over my children for the entire day, take care of them, and make sure they had a great time. It was hard to find a relaxing time for myself.” Since she became a student, Ganzorigt said life has been even harder than it used to be. In addition to her responsibilities as a mother, wife and woman of the house, she explained she must include her studies as part of her priorities. “By the end of the day, I am just really exhausted.” As a result, said Ganzorigt, regardless of the circumstances, her children motivate her to succeed in every aspect of her life so she can offer them the future they deserve. Moea‘i added being a mother is a stronger motivation for her to complete her education. “Because it’s not just my future anymore. It’s also hers [her daughter’s]. And what I do now will affect where we are five years from now, 10 years from now. So, it makes me more aware of how hard I need to work.” Simpson said the lack of time to complete important tasks such as cleaning the house, 4 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

laundry or assignments before the due date, can lead mothers to develop emotional and physical stress and anxiety. According to her, all mothers must always remember that “before being a student, a friend or an employee, you are first a mother. Prioritize always your duties as mothers and your children’s needs before anything else.”

Planning and organizing Simpson said weekly planning is the key for organization. She shared to avoid any stress or conflict, “My husband and I plan our weeks every Sunday as it helps us be prepared and start our weeks on a good basis.” During their weekly planning, Simpson said they review their work, school and family schedule along with the house care. She explained their planning also gives them an overview of availability to know who is going to take care of Tolo, their daughter. “At the end of each day, our weekly planning is always a satisfaction, especially when you give your best to avoid any waste of time and complete all the tasks planned,” said Simpson. Ganzorigt said the purpose of planning is to enable an efficient use of time and avoid the stress that comes from procrastination or lack of preparation. She explained once she and her husband have individually made their schedules, they come together and discuss their plan for the week. “As a family, working as a team is crucial to enable each member to rely on each other,” Ganzorigt added. As she starts working every day at 5 a.m., Ganzorigt shared her planning gives her the time to rest, clean the house, do laundry, cook and spend some quality time with her children before studying. “If you make time for anything you want to get done with, take the time to do so. Once you revised your accomplishment about your day, you will be surprised on how much you have accomplished.” Simpson said despite their weekly planning, unfortunately, she and her husband sometimes face time conflicts with their classes.

Eventually, these time conflicts, said Simpson, lead to frustration as she has no other choice than taking her daughter with her to class. “When I take Tolo [her daughter] to class, it is sometimes hard because she disrupts the class and the focus turns more on her than on the teacher.” Although her teachers let her bring Tolo to class, she feels sorry for her baby. “Tolo is adjusting herself to an environment that is not even hers. She should be playing outside or playing with other children, not being in class with me.” Despite the unexpected events that can occur, Ganzorigt said the most important part of planning is to be prepared and flexible to adjust any plans to your family’s needs.

The don’t-talk-about-school-orwork rule Simpson said, ever since she had Tolo, she challenged herself to complete her assignments at least a day before the due date. She shared to avoid any rush when unexpected events occur, especially with Tolo, she completes her assignments earlier so her focus can entirely be on her daughter’s needs. Moea‘i added Google Calendar helps her a lot in mapping out all her homework assignments and tasks for the week, so she’s not cramming it all into one day before the due date. As part of their family’s quality time, Simpson said every night they have their “date nights.” She shared, according to their wants, they either go for a walk, play games or watch movies together. “The only rule we have is that we do not talk about work, school or anything else.This time is only for the three of us,” shared Simpson.

With a newborn, Moea‘i said she and her husband do sometimes find themselves “with baby more than with each other,” and some days, the only time they have for each other is when they’re going to bed. “But we’ve made it a goal to have time with each other, even if it’s just for a maximum of 10 minutes, discussing what we’ve liked about the day, or even just running to Foodland and getting ice cream for like five minutes. It’s just the small little moments that really help you feel connected to your partner still.” Ganzorigt said to not be distracted, she always studies when her children are napping as studying becomes challenging when they are around. Once they are awake, Ganzorigt said she and her husband take the time to play with them. She shared, “Family time is my favorite moment of the day. It helps me learn new things every day such as things my children or husband like or don’t.” Moea‘i said she and her husband recently went to Laie Point and as she looked out across the ocean, she said she felt so small. “I think I’m small and insignificant, but to this little girl, me and her dad are her entire support and her world. So, I guess it makes me feel a little bit bigger.” • Author’s Note (Mahana Tepa): Being a mother myself, I know the significant responsibility a parent has to take to ensure their children’s needs are met first before anything else. I remember when I could not find a babysitter for my 1-year-old daughter, I brought her to class with me, but one of my teachers asked me not to bring her anymore. I believe this was understandable because my baby was not in an environment with other children like she should be. Since I was unable to find a babysitter, I had to drop the class and retake it later, even though my teacher asked me not to. In this situation, I did not need to make a choice because my daughter’s needs will always come first—even before my education. That’s who I am. I am a mother. Mele Moea’i with her daughter who she said motivates her to become her best self and excel in her studies. Photos by Mark Daeson Tabbilos.

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arley White, Tesa Ziegler, Annie Jones and Claire Westcott said being part of a band has always been a dream of theirs. The four freshman girls said they never expected to create a band while at BYU–Hawaii, but once they all connected, their band, Boys on Jupiter, was formed in September of 2020. Annie Jones, the drummer of Boys on Jupiter, a business major from Arizona, said the hardest part of being in a band is finding locations to rehearse. However, the best part is performing live and playing music with other amazing musicians, said Jones. The band played its first show last October and has continued to grow in popularity. Some of their gigs have included Surf n Salsa, Banzai Skate Park, farmer’s markets, and the BYUH Pavilion. In addition, they competed in a Battle of the Bands Competition in Kahuku and played live on a local radio station, and they were interviewed following their performance. Marley White, the guitarist from Arizona, said a producer of North Shore Sounds, a recording studio based on Oahu, is the reason they have been able to perform so much. “[The producer] really loves us. He’s just been setting us up with a bunch of gigs and does our sound,” said White. North Shore Sounds is going to help Boys on Jupiter record their music and potentially work on an album in the near future, she added. • Boys on Jupiter perform at a skate park by Pipeline beach. Photos provided by Haley Irwin. Graphics by Emily Hendrickson.

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AMBASSADORS Marshall Islands ambassador reminds students they are important to their people during trip to United Nations Headquarters BY VIVIANA CHUAH


haille Faye Kioa, BYU–Hawaii alumna from Tonga who majored in political science, was one of nine students selected to attend the field study at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in the first week of Spring Semester. She said, “The events at the United Nations Headquarters are undoubtedly done without a whim and no rest. A piece of advice that has resonated with me since this field study was from the ambassador of the Marshall Islands. [She said,] ‘Get your act together! You are important to your people.’” Christina Akanoa, assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government and field study coordinator, said she was happy the trip to the United Nations contributed to building students’ confidence in professional settings coupled with the education they gained at BYUH. “I always tell my students, ‘Why can’t you be the next ambassador?’ You can’t say that only those people can make it. The only obstacle you have in this life is yourself. There are so many opportunities out there.You’re the one who gets out and makes it happen.” Akanoa continued, “This experience allows students to realize they have the potential to do something about [an important Indigenous crisis], and they can be leaders in that capacity.”

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Beneficial connections Akanoa said she started in 2013 this field trip to the U.N. Headquarters in New York. “When I sent out the courtesy letter to them, asking them if we could visit with them, [it was approved]. Each year since 2013, [excluding 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19] we’ve been visiting with the [Polynesian] missions. It was just like a common courtesy for us to go and give our regards to the missions.” Akanoa said she believes any professor can do a little something to help students reach their great potential and expand their network for future career opportunities. She added, “It’s a two-week event, but we only go for the first week because … students can do a lot more networking. … The states and the governments are there to represent their view on the topics, so there are a lot of different networks.” Thanks to the relationship first created in 2013, political science students have easy access to finding internships and job opportunities, she said. Akanoa shared some of the students she took to the United Nations are now working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and several Pacific Island countries. She explained in the different missions and even on her recent trips, representatives offered help to find internships for her students.

“They were very impressed with the way the students carried themselves and the way they … behaved [respectfully]. Of course … that’s all part of diplomacy,” she explained. On the recent trip, Akanoa said she accompanied nine students. One of them was Sivao Laurenson, a senior from Samoa majoring in political science. Laurenson said the trip helped her understand the competitiveness of diplomacy. “[It’s important that] you present yourself and your best interests in front of others to be effective in a diplomatic context. I was fortunate enough to be one of the students to attend the United Nations field trip. This is a great opportunity for me.”

Intense preparation According to Akanoa, the U.N. field study aims at giving students a chance to observe those at the United Nations interacting and deliberating with international organizations on topics under the theme and agenda of the year, as well as engaging in other events organized by nongovernmental organizations and the states. The theme for this year was: “Indigenous people, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent,” she shared.

Before the trip, Akanoa’s students prepared by attending night classes, learning about diplomacy, choosing an issue relevant to this year’s theme and writing a 20-page research paper, said Akanoa. “We prepared a couple of weeks in advance because there are many things to cover. … This class is POSC 384, The United Nations and Intergovernmental Organizations, for juniors and seniors, but senior students get priority for this trip,” she added. Akanoa said her students said their visit with the ambassadors and their respective missions were fulfilling. “That was the highlight of the trip because [students] sat down and talked with their ambassadors. I mean, when do you ever have that chance? To sit down and have a face-to-face conversation with your ambassador or your deputy ambassador or permanent deputy representatives. This is a rare opportunity!”

Bringing Indigenous issues to an international realm Another part of the trip Akanoa remarked on was the effectiveness of the feedback given

by the ambassadors after reading and looking through the students’ research papers. “It helped the students reorganize their ideas and new thoughts they might have,” she said. Solesia Lasa, a senior from New Zealand majoring in political science and one of the nine students who attended the trip, said it was an honor to be part of this important work which “brings Pacific issues to the international realm.” Sakiusa Tukana, field study attendee and senior from Fiji majoring in political science, said he recognized the crucial need for the United Nations to perform as a platform for Indigenous people to voice their concerns and fight for urgent issues. “I realized that the battle against climate change and globalization is 10 times harder and more severe for the indigenous people. Therefore, diplomacy is key!” He added, “This [trip] has helped me to be more sensitive and made my perspective clearer. ... There is a place for everyone.You just need to find it!” Indigenous issues are important because they help small countries like Palau in the

process of becoming independent, along with other indigenous issues, Akanoa said. The Office of the Historian explained, “Palau was part of the United Nation Trust Territory of the Pacific, administered by the United States, following World War II. In 1978, Palau began the process of independence and gained it in 1994.” Akanoa added, “Any Pacific Island countries that have had issues of Indigenous people feeling like [their rights are being violated] and [property being confiscated], mostly land, attended the event [at U.N. Headquarters] to discuss the issue and seek for the assistance of any kind.” Among the Indigenous organizations present are West Papua, New Zealand (Maori), aboriginal people of Australia, Rapa Nui (or Easter Island) and Hawaii. Akanoa explained the United Nations has six main organs and five of them are based at U.N. Headquarters in New York. She said these five include the General Assembly, the Security Council, the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the International Court of Justice and lastly, the Secretariat. •

From left to right: Finau Tupou, Brian Vildam, Chaille Faye Kioa, Solesia Lasa, Nameha Rawalui, Kauihelani Lesa, Sivao Laurenson, Sakiusa Tukana and Tooa Moua stand in front of the UN Headquarters in New York City. Photo courtesy of Christina Akanoa. S PRIN G 2022 45



English professor aspires for Pacific Islander representation in young adult literature BY LEVI FUAGA


aie is home to Pacific Islanders who grow up mixed within different cultures, shared Caryn Lesuma, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters and a Laie native. Many are seeking a sense of who they are, just as she did when she was younger, said Lesuma. As a part-Samoan, she added, she grew up trying to figure out who and what she represented. Growing up in Laie, Lesuma said it was the norm for Pacific Island students to only earn college admission through athletic scholarships. However, books surrounding Pacific Islander young adults demonstrate “there are many ways to be a Pacific Islander,” she said. When she was younger, there wasn’t much literature with Pacific Islander characters

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who she could identify with, shared Lesuma. As an academic, Lesuma said one of her areas of study is Young Adult Literature of Oceania (YALO). She said YALO books explore issues relevant to Pacific Islander young adults and help to represent their journey in understanding who they are. There is value in representing the youth and providing literature for them to identify with, to help them “consolidate their identity and feel comfortable in their own skin,” said Lesuma.

A love for reading Lesuma said her mother always enjoyed reading. When she was a child, Lesuma said her mother would read books such as “The

Chronicles of Narnia” to her and her siblings before bed, and she enrolled them in Kahuku High’s summer reading program. “She sort of set an example of what a reader is … so, we all were reading all the time at home.” Ever since elementary and high school, Lesuma said she has enjoyed reading novels in the fantasy and science fiction genres. Both genres portray “the possibilities of new worlds and different ways of thinking,” she explained. She said she is optimistic about ideas of the fantastic, where there are many possibilities. Her husband, Vaughn Lesuma, said his wife shared with him her passion for reading when they first met. “I’ve never been much of a reader, and since I met her, I’ve read more books than the rest of my life combined.”

Caryn Lesuma holding the book “Telesa” within which is a character she resonates with as a part-Samoan. Photo by Marwin Jay Villegas.

Caryn Lesuma said she began studying realistic fiction while studying young adult literature as an academic field. Unlike fantasy and science fiction, realistic fiction revolves around characters dealing with real issues, she explained. Within the realm of young adult literature, she said this genre is important in addressing issues that young adults deal with. Vaughn Lesuma said although his wife appreciates mainstream literature, most of its authors and the novels’ settings take place in mainland America or the United Kingdom. He said she thought it would be amazing to share more stories about youth in the Pacific, having

the same impact as books like “Harry Potter” and “Twilight.” “It was then,” Vaughn Lesuma added, “I saw her getting to work researching Pacific literature, going to conferences and presenting on these topics, even writing a thesis on it.”

Windows and mirrors In her English 420 course, Caryn Lesuma shared she teaches books act as “windows” and “mirrors” for readers. Books act as a window for readers to look into and learn about others’ experiences and empathize with them, she said. Additionally, she said a book can

mirror our own experiences, reminding us that we are not alone and there are other people who understand what we’re going through. Caryn Lesuma said she resonated with Leila, the protagonist of the young adult paranormal romance book series “Telesa,” written by Lani Wendt Young. Leila, who is part-Samoan, starts off as being insecure about being mixed-race and gets defensive towards people’s remarks about her, Caryn Lesuma explained. However, she added, Leila learns to accept her mixed-ethnic background and recognizes it as another way of being Samoan. “When I was her age, I felt similar defensiveness about being ‘afakasi [a Samoan with European ancestry]. I was proud to be Samoan but insecure about it because I didn’t speak the language or ‘looked’ Samoan enough. Like her, I have gained confidence in my identity by taking opportunities to learn more about what it means to be a Samoan woman.” The series revolves around characters with elemental powers inherited through genealogy, while they try to manage relationship drama, Caryn Lesuma shared. She said the series represents Samoan youth, both in Samoa and the diaspora, and social issues in Samoan and popularized Pacific Literature. Rhea Penrod, a senior from Provo, Utah, majoring in English, said she took several of Caryn Lesuma’s classes. She said Caryn Lesuma wants to bring more voice and attention to the Pacific literature genre, which isn’t easily accessible.This issue mainly stems from insufficient publishing which leads to the genre being unheard outside of the Pacific, explained Penrod. Penrod shared she sent the “Telesa” books to her mother, who was excited to see that there were books with Samoan characters. She said it is important for people to become aware Pacific literature actually exists. Vaughn Lesuma said his wife’s passion has led him to appreciate his culture more, as well as authors writing Pacific literature for the next generation. “We both grew up in Laie, and I’m so proud of her for representing that everywhere she goes.”

A call to action Caryn Lesuma said her goal is to write a novel, nonfiction or fiction, and contribute to her own call to action: acquire more books with Pacific Islander representation. “If I’m going to be encouraging more writers to S PRIN G 2022 47

write these books, I should also be contributing myself.” She, Christina Akanoa and Becky DeMartini, head of instructional services at the Joseph F. Smith Library, are currently researching ways to improve Pacific Islander students’ reading and writing skills, she shared. Christina Akanoa, assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government, said the project will target reasons why Pacific Islanders are failing English 315. Eventually, she said they want to help Pacific Islander students to not only pass English 315 but also pass with good grades. The proposed pedagogy, or teaching method, is to help students better relate to the literature being taught, said Akanoa. She said Caryn Lesuma makes Pacific literature relevant to Pacific Islander students who better understand the context and background of the stories. In contrast, other literary fields are more irrelevant and hard for Pacific Island students to connect with, Akanoa explained. “If students are not connecting to the literature that’s been taught in classic content, they’re going to have a hard time in class.” Akanoa said the disconnection between students and literature occurs when students can’t apply what they learn when they return to their home country. She said it’s important to bridge those gaps in applying different literatures to the students being taught.

“We also have to be flexible enough to allow for different types of thinking, or perceptions that students bring in, according to their experiences. … Their experiences are according to who they are, their identity, their backgrounds, where they’re from.” Akanoa said she and Caryn Lesuma are both on the committee for the Center for Learning & Teaching at BYU–Hawaii. As such, she said they are required to further their scholarship and find ways to support the institution.

Connecting to young adults Akanoa said Caryn Lesuma is passionate, committed and detail-oriented in teaching English. She said Caryn Lesuma can relate to young adults and understands their interests since she is a young teacher. Caryn Lesuma was able to create a presentation of their research for the school data governance in less than 24 hours, she added. “If a person has commitment to a cause, it really means that they love the students or they love what they do.” Caryn Lesuma is a go-getter and does not wait for things to happen, said Akanoa. Oftentimes, she shared, Caryn Lesuma will be the first to complete her assignments for their colloquium class. She said her work ethic inspires her to always be on top of her work

as well. “She’s not bothered by it. She’s just willing to move the research forward and that’s because she’s very passionate about this topic.” Penrod shared Caryn Lesuma engages young adult literature from a fun perspective. During a conversation, she and Caryn Lesuma discussed how the young adult genre makes reading more enjoyable. She said it allows opportunities for people who don’t feel like readers to engage with the material. “She really cares about young people. … Her No. 1 priority in teaching her students … [is] to be prepared for the future. She wants to help them feel seen and heard and confident in their studies and what they’re learning.” Vaughn Lesuma said his wife’s love for teaching is a big part of who she is and she celebrates her students’ success and laments in their struggles. Caryn Lesuma added the biggest value of her job is seeing students relate and identify with literature. At BYUH, people from and outside of the Pacific are able to draw connections and empathize with each other, she shared. “That kind of realization and confidence can build to know that you’re not the only one going through what you’re going through.” •

Caryn Lesuma relates books to windows and mirrors, in which readers can look into the lives of others and see the similarities reflected in their own lives.

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FESTIVALS OF Dancers use “anything they can find in nature” to create their competition costumes for Tahiti’s Heiva celebration BY JACKSON BENTLEY-DYCHES & HADLEY WURTZ

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hen describing the Heiva Festival in one word, Johann Faana-Kong and Junior Pedron both said “culture.” Faana-Kong continued, “It truly does represent Tahiti culture in all ways. From the dancing, the Orero [a traditional Polynesian monologue], the food and the focus on family and friend time, it feels very Tahiti.” Tahiti’s Heiva celebration spans from lateJune to mid-August and was formerly known as Tiurai, according to the official Heiva website. Faana-Kong, a freshman from Tahiti majoring in political science, said he has many fond memories of celebrating Heiva growing up in Tahiti. “Everyone gathers together in groups and has traditional dances.” Pedron, a junior from Tahiti majoring in graphic design, added that while the Heiva celebration focuses more on the culture and dancing, there is also a fun festival, now referred to as Tiurai, during this same time of year. Of Tiurai, Faana-Kong said, “During this month, many portable roller-coasters are set up for the children to enjoy.” Rather than the festivities being locked into a few specific dates, families and friends tend to “pick a time where everyone is free and someone close to you is going to be performing a dance or monologue.”

Competitions and costumes While many people celebrate with their family and communities throughout the month of July, Pedron explained a key part of Heiva is the competitions that take place. “During the Heiva, schools and Tahitian dance clubs present different performances and compete in several categories. For example, best group, best solo male, best solo female, best Orero [traditional monologue], best percussion band and more.”


"...We can pick the leaves from the island itself. That is more powerful for us because it comes with the mana of the story we are telling.” Tekarohi Dexter, a senior majoring in hospitality & tourism management from Tahiti, who competed in the 2019 Heiva Dance Competition, explained there are two main categories of dance within the competition: Ote‘a, which is fast-paced, and ‘Aparima, which is slower. Faana-Kong shared during the dances, performers wear traditional floral, tropicallydesigned costumes and headpieces. Dexter said the design of the costumes are based on the team dancing and what is being represented through the dance. Pedron explained each dancer makes their own costume using “anything they can find in nature.” Dexter explained when watching the performances, the audience will mainly see tea leaves, some still green and others dried, plumerias, large red flowers, fruits and any vegetation they can use. She said for the more traditional dress, they also make the costumes using fabrics. “Depending on the team, you use the leaves from a different area on the island. We can pick the leaves from the island itself. That is more powerful for us because it comes with the mana of the story we are telling.”

Forbidden culture and food favorites Additionally, as part of the celebration, people gather and listen to a form of traditional Polynesian monologues called Orero. Faana-Kong explained, “The Orero aren’t quite plays, but they’re more interesting than someone just talking to everyone.” Additionally, Pedron said Oreros are like an oral presentation. “It was the way our ancestors would share tales and legends or talk about extraordinary accomplishments of a king or warrior.” Pedron added the Orero is also used to introduce a dance or performance. Dexter said from the time Tahiti was colonized by European missionaries,

anything related to the Tahitian culture was forbidden. She said, “They forbid our culture, language, dances, shows. When we got our independence, we brought back the cultural practices.” While many aspects of Tahitian culture were reinstated, one aspect of culture still remains broken: The Tahitian language, FaanaKong shared. He said, “Sadly most of the younger kids don’t speak Tahitian, although they can understand it. France’s influence has changed Heiva in many ways.” Faana-Kong said Tahitian is used a lot more often during Heiva, which helps combat the modern westernization of Tahiti. Because Tahiti is located in the Southern Hemisphere, July is the coolest month of the year with the average highest temperature being 82 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a weather and climate website. Faana-Kong said this makes it a very refreshing time to enjoy the outdoors through meals and dance. One influence from France that remains a part of Heiva is the food eaten during the celebration. Faana-Kong said one of the most popular dishes is steak frites. “Steak frites are so good! Ah, now I want some.” Faana-Kong explained what steak frites are, “They’re steak and fries on a plate or in a bowl, but what makes them really special is the Roquefort sauce [a type of blue cheese]. It’s white and made from cheese.” Additionally, he said, “If you don’t like steak, or if we don’t have any, we often use fish instead.” Faana-Kong strongly recommended others try the steak frites. Excited to celebrate Heiva again when he returns home, Faana-Kong said, “Foreigners are so welcome to come! We love to celebrate and introduce our culture to others, and if you come, people will treat you very warmly.” •

Tekarohi Dexter competing at the Heiva Festival in 2019. Photo by Mike Leyral. S PRIN G 2022 51

With a thought-out plan, a trip to another Hawaiian island can be around $200, says BYUH student BY LEXI LANGLEY


hile students would like the opportunity to travel to a neighboring island, or “island hop,” the potentially high costs can be a bit discouraging. Here are some ways students of BYU–Hawaii have afforded island hopping while on a college budget.

Kauai Denzyl Dacayanan, a freshman exercise & sport science major from Las Vegas, Nevada, planned a trip with his friends to Kauai last semester. Dacayanan said he encourages students to include as many people as possible when planning to island hop because it saves money. He explained the majority of costs such as food, hotel and rental car fees were split between himself and his friends. Dacayanan said he and his friends were able to go hiking, surfing and interact with community members living on Kauai. “Of course, it’s a beautiful place, but the people there, you can’t find them anywhere else.”

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Maui Sydny Short, a junior from Washington majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, said she and her friends decided to visit the island of Maui because of the cheap flights. Instead of paying extra for an Airbnb or hotel, she said she and her friends rented a car that included a tent. Some of them slept in the car, the tent or even a hammock, shared Short. She explained they found a camp spot on the south shore of Maui with a beautiful view. Short said the only costs were food, gas, a rental car and the flight. “Most fun [activities] are free.” After splitting the costs between herself and six others, aside from the individual airfare, Short said the total cost of the trip ended up costing between $200 and $250 per person.

Big Island

Hawaii Volcano N AT IO N AL PARK

Mara Smith, a sophomore from Washington, said she went to the Big Island with her friends as a last-minute trip. Smith is majoring in intercultural peacebuilding and hospitality & tourism management. With only one week’s notice, Smith said she researched flights with the help of her friend to find the lowest price. They found round-trip flights for under $100. Smith traveled to the Big Island with four of her friends, and the five of them split the cost of a rental car, in which they all slept, she shared. “If you’re looking to save money, that might be the best way to do it.” Packing snacks and participating in free activities such as Rainbow Falls, Pe‘epe‘e Falls and even just hammocking at the beach are other ways she said she and her friends kept costs at a minimum. • Graphics by Emily Hendrickson.

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TH E WORLD OF MOCHI BYUH Students share the differences in their experiences with mochi from Japan, China and Hawaii BY SEIKA FUJITANI

Mochi wrapped in seaweed. Photos by Emarie Majors.

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hile mochi is a continuous fan favorite among BYUH students, the culture of mochi runs deep for several students, especially those from Japanese, Chinese and Hawaiian cultures. Mari Kojima, a junior majoring in peacebuilding from Hokkaido, Japan, said, “Mochi is a part of our life.” She continued, “We have an onomatopoeia called ‘mochimochi,’ which means sticky, squishy and elastic. The word comes from mochi because mochi has a very unmistakable texture. The word shows how much mochi is deeply related to Japanese culture.” Kahalepuna Tani, a senior from Hawaii studying anthropology, said mochi originated in Japan and China and was brought to Hawaii by Japanese immigrants who came to work on the plantations. Tani said, “I grew up with mochi,” emphasizing the food’s prevalence in his everyday life.


Different ways to eat your mochi The BYUH C-Store offers a variety of unique mochi flavors, such as peanut butter ube, coconut with red beans and even mochi with ice cream, with which most students are familiar. Miyu Nakamura, a freshman in the English as an International Language program from Toyama, Japan, explained there are also many varieties of mochi in Japan. She said some of the ways to prepare mochi consists of covering it with seaweed and dipping it in soy sauce. She said some prefer to cover the mochi with sugar and a soybean powder called Kinako. “My favorite way to eat mochi is to eat it with grated radish, soy sauce and a little bit of sugar. We often put mochi in several Japanese traditional meals.” Tani said people in Hawaii also eat mochi in many ways. Some ways, he shared, are mochi with shaved ice, red bean soup, Japanese

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traditional soup called Ozoni, butter mochi, chichi dango (a sweet and soft type of mochi), mochiko dessert, or mochiko chicken (fried chicken made with mochi flour). Zhanhong Guo, a sophomore majoring in business management from China, said, “People in China also eat mochi, called Nomi. We usually put strawberries inside of mochi. But you can put any fruit inside of mochi, such as grapes or mangoes. Also, sometimes we cover mochi with coconut flakes.” She said China is a large country, so depending on the region, people eat mochi in different ways. Guo is from Northern China and often uses mochi to make dumplings, known as Tangyuan, by wrapping them in sesame.

The mochi process Kojima said, “Mochi takes a lot of work and time to make.You steam it and then punch it down and pound it with a mallet called ‘kine’ on a rice mortar called ‘usu.’ Then, we split up the mochi and round it up, making little balls. I love that process.” She shared rather than steaming the mochi, you can also boil, grill or bake it, which she said is her favorite because she enjoys watching it expand. Japanese mochi is much stretchier than any mochi in Hawaii, Kojima shared. She explained this is because when making Japanese mochi they use the key ingredient of mochi rice rather than mochi flour, which is less sticky. The New Year holiday and mochi are a popular combination in many communities. Nakamura said, “Every New Year’s Eve, our family gets together and makes mochi together at home.” She said her grandfather teaches not only her family how to make mochi, but also teaches the children at the elementary schools. “Every New Year, people in my community in Kaneohe even make mochi by themselves with the same process as in Japan. But I don’t always use mochi rice to make mochi, sometimes I also use mochi flour,” Tani said. • Pastel pink and purple mochi. Photos by Emarie Majors. Graphics by Emily Hendrickson.

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The monk seal’s name in Hawaiian is “ilio holo i ka uaua,” or “a dog that runs in rough water.” Photo by Yukimi Kishi. Graphics by Yichi Lu. 5 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2022

Creature Feature:



he Hawaiian monk seal, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is one of the world’s most endangered species of seal. For 60 years, their population has been declining, and their current population level is only one-third the amount it once was. According to the Marine Mammal Center, the current population count is 1,400. However, NOAA stated on its website the population is rising. It credits this to its recovery efforts, such as habitat protection and vaccinating wild seals against viruses. The American Oceans site states if the Hawaiian monk seal were to go extinct, the Hawaiian ecosystem would be devastated. Monk seals are apex predators and have an important role in the food chain keeping crustacean, fish and squid populations under control. According to a National Geographic profile on monk seals, they live between 25 to 30 years and can weigh up to 600 pounds. From nose to back flipper, they grow to be about 7 feet long. The Oceana website states monk seals are usually solitary when they’re not breeding or raising pups. They can dive up to 1,800 feet in the water, and their main predator is the tiger shark. Hawaii Marine Animal Response (HMAR) information says beach visitors should stay at least 50 feet away from monk seals, and 150 feet away if the monk seal is a mother with a pup. If HMAR or NOAAsanctioned personnel are present, follow their instructions, as harassing a monk seal is illegal under the Endangered Species Act and can cost thousands of dollars in fines. The monk seal’s Hawaiian name is “ilio holo i ka uaua,” which the Marine Mammal Center translates as “dog that runs in rough water.” They are found only in Hawaii, making them an endemic species, according to the Marine Mammal Center. The Marine Mammal Center explains most monk seals are part of six main breeding populations: Kure Atoll, Midway Islands, Pearl and Hermes Reef, Lisianski Island, Laysan Island and the French Frigate Shoals.

For 60 years, their population has been declining, and their current population level is only one-third the amount it once was. These islands are all found in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, the mostly unpopulated northwestern islands in the Hawaiian archipelago. The Center for Biological Diversity says on its website more and more monk seals are moving to the main islands, such as Oahu, where pups have a better survival rate. Another less natural threat to the monk seal is a protozoal disease called toxoplasmosis. NOAA has documented at least 11 monk seal deaths to toxoplasmosis since 2011. Toxoplasmosis is spread through the droppings of cats infected with the disease, meaning that Hawaii’s large population of feral cats has become an indirect threat to the endangered monk seal, according to NOAA. •

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