- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

HONOLULU (AP) - Early Hawaiian literature can now be found in libraries around the world thanks to a nonprofit project aimed at increasing access to Hawaiian culture.

The Awaiaulu Hawaiian Literature Project has distributed about 200 sets of “The Epic Tale of Hiiakaikapoliopele” as a dual language book in an effort to raise awareness of indigenous literary tradition, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday (https://bit.ly/1piV2Pt ).

The books are available at libraries, universities and national collections in every state and on every continent.

Project executive director Puakea Nogelmeier said he has always wanted Hawaiian literature to be more widely available. He recalled going to the state library in Minnesota as a child and only finding five books in the Hawaii section.

“My dream is that if someone walks into a library anywhere in the world and asks if they have a book on Hawaii, they’ll be able to pull out something that is dense in content and beautiful in form,” he said. “I’d like this to be something that forms a ripple that changes the world’s vision of Hawaii.”



The project’s publication is drawn from a yearlong, six-days-a-week serial that ran in the Hawaiian-language newspaper Ka Nai Aupuni from 1905 to 1906. The stories show vignettes of Hawaiian culture and retell many classic stories of Hawaii, such as Pele and Hiiaka and Kane and Ku.

“These characters travel through Hawaii and interact with people at different levels,” Nogelmeier said. “The stories themselves get twisted and reframed with each presentation. But while no story can tell all, each one is a window.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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