Navigating Humanity Towards a Sustainable Future

Cultural Heritage
Documentation, Preservation and EducationTraditional Land Rights and Access to ResourcesFostering Island Culture and CommunityEnvironmental Stewardship and Food Security

Welcome to the Pacific Worlds Institute, a registered 501(c)3 non-profit education and cultural preservation organization. We are educators, activists and cultural practitioners working to preserve, protect and remote the unique culture and environments of Hawai‘i and other Pacific Islands.

Life on remote Pacific Islands is very different from that found on continents.  It is much more intimately tied to the environment, with unique cultural forms arising from societies’ needs to survive on finite resources, far from other places.  These unique environments and cultures are much more susceptible to damage from introductions: new species, new technologies, new ideas and new people.  In the past, islanders were able to choose what new introductions were worth keeping and what were not.

Today, globalization of communications and transportation has done great damage to these peoples and places.  In this age where anyone feels they can go anywhere, our aim is to educate visitors and new residents—including people who come here to work on short-term assignments—how to treat this place and these people appropriately. Billed as tourist paradises, these places are also peoples’ homes, and the peoples and their cultures need to be respected and appreciated.  If you are expecting Hawai‘i to be just like “America” except tropical, then you are likely to be part of the problem.

Hawai‘i offers to the world a sense of aloha—a way to recognize the humanity in each of us. But the peoples here are burdened by the mantle of unrecognized and unresolved historic trauma. Despite this huge drawback, the doors remain open to those who hold in high regard all opportunities to move from victim/victimizer to friendship across time and space. Through our educational resources and training, we enable participants to learn the universally relevant and important lessons these islands have to teach.  As the Earth itself is now an island, it behooves us all to understand the principles of island living.

We bring together Western science and Hawaiian tradition to help visitors, new residents and outsiders become more familiar with the Islands, giving you surer footing to navigate situations and conduct yourselves appropriately and effectively. Whether you are a private citizen, tourist, business person, government employee or military, our resources can help you gain the knowledge and experience you need to connect with the people of Hawai‘i and understand our unique history, culture and environments.

We also provide educational guidance and mentoring to schools and teachers regarding gathering and presenting community-based information on the history and culture of their ahupua‘a (traditional Hawaiian land division), in the manner of our community websites. If you, your school or your community group is interested in our working with you, please contact us.