Mary Kawena Pukui

Hawaiian scholar, dancer, composer, and educator (1895-1986)

Mary Abigail Kawenaʻulaokalaniohiʻiakaikapoliopelekawahineʻaihonua Pukui (nèe Wiggin) (born April 20, 1895, died May 21, 1986[1] [2]) was a native Hawaiian who worked to preserve her language and culture.[1] She was born in Hale Ola (her grandmother's home, House of Life), in Hāniumalu Hill, Ka'ū (in the village of Nā'ālehu) on the island of Hawai'i.[1] Pukui was an author, historian, scholar, and teacher widely credited for enabling the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s.[3]

Early life change

Pukui was the biracial daughter of Pa'ahana Kanaka'ole and Henry Nathaniel Wiggins.[2] She married Kaloli Pukui, adopted two girls, and had one other daughter herself.[2] Her relationship with her daughters helped preserve and pass on hula and the Hawaiian language.[1] Her grandmother raised her Hanai style until she was nine.[4] She was taught traditional skills, religion, and language.[2] Pukui grew up with hula because of her grandmother, who was a Hawaiian court dancer.[1] Her grandmother inspired her to honor her heritage and culture.[1]

Career change

Pukui was recognized as one of Hawaii's “Living Treasures” in 1976 and was twice honored with awards from the Hawaii Book Publishers Association.[2] She is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee for literature and honorary doctorates.[1] She wrote over 50 books and more than 150 songs, like “Place Names of Hawaii” and the definitive “Hawaiian-English Dictionary”.[3][4] Pukui worked at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and worked on preserving and expanding the Hawaiian language and culture.[1] Her recordings of the language and videos of hula help provide connections for the new generation.[1]

References change

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 "Kūkahekahe: Celebrating Mary Kawena Pukui". Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Boomer, Lee. "Life Story: Mary Kawena Pukui, 1895–1986". Women & the American Story. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Surfing champion, hula masters, educators and advocates on Hawaii Women of the Century list". 2020-08-13. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Author aided revival of Hawaiian tongue - Mary Kawena Pukui. (1999, November 1) Honolulu Star-Bulletin (HI). Available from NewsBank: Access World News – Historical and Current.