May 8, 2006
MEDIA CONTACT: Caroline Witherspoon
or Jocelyn Collado
Becker Communications
(808) 533-4165


HONOLULU – I ka 'ōlelo no ka make, “in the word is life, in the word is death.” This Hawaiian proverb reflects the importance of the spoken word and of the mele (song or chant) in Hawaiian culture. The most popular type of chant, mele inoa, is a name chant composed in honor of a person and a gift that will remain for generations to come. Bishop Museum’s upcoming Kūpuna Series lecture explores mele inoa. Led by kūpuna Earl Kawa’a, this special presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, May 16, 2006, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. at Bishop Museum.

In September 2005, Kawa’a collaborated with Sharon Majit-Gorion of Queen Liliu’okani Children’s Center and Paul Richards, President of the Waimanalo Hawaiian Homes Association, to create the first mele inoa class for fathers. The class was so well received that a class for mothers followed shortly after.

Join Kawa’a, Majit-Gorion and their first class of mele inoa fathers as they share compositions and teachings of this tradition that is being reintroduced into the family. Admission is $5 for general admission, $3 for students or free for Bishop Museum Members. For more information, call 848-4191.

A native of Moloka’i, Kawa’a is a Hawaiian Cultural Specialist at Kamehameha Schools. He works with kūpuna, parents and children in the community to prepare for school readiness and provide a strong foundation in Hawaiian culture.

This program is supported by the Native Hawaiian Culture and Arts Program (NHCAP), which is funded through a cooperative agreement with the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, and by funding from the U.S. Department of Education.

A treasured resource of Hawaiian history and heritage Bishop Museum was founded in 1889 by Charles Reed Bishop as a tribute to his wife Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the last descendant of the royal Kamehameha dynasty. Located at 1525 Bernice Street, the Museum is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $14.95 for adults; $11.95 for youth 4-12 years, special rates for kama‘āina, seniors and military; children under 4 years and Bishop Museum Members are free. For information, call 847-3511 or visit


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