Mahalo to All FestPAC Volunteers!

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Photo: FestPAC Volunteers
FestPAC volunteers were critical to the success of this international event. – Photo: TGA Collective

Within the vast Moananuiākea lies Hawaiʻi, the northernmost islands of the Pacific and recent host of the 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC), a once-every-four-years event honoring the tapestry of Indigenous peoples of the Pacific, each thread representing unique and diverse cultures. It has been a tremendous honor for the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) to be included and take the lead in volunteer management efforts during the 10-day festival.

Behind the scenes of this convening, there existed a force of generosity and dedication that was the backbone of the inner workings of the festival – the volunteers.

These individuals, representing the diversity of Hawaiʻi and numbering over 500, ensured the success of the event through their time, energy, and passion, to uplift Hawaiʻi as the host. Volunteers executed a diverse set of tasks including logistical support, deliveries, staging, bus loading, people moving, and providing directions, translations, and general wayfinding to the many exhibits, symposiums, and multiple venues from West Oʻahu to Waikīkī. We extend our deepest gratitude to each and every one of these volunteers.

As part of their commitment to participate, each volunteer attended cultural education and sensitivity programming. The first course, Hoʻokamaʻāina, offered an introduction to the core values of hosting and included deep dives into the foundational values of Hawaiʻi.

The second course, Cultural Etiquette in the Pacific, offered relevant competencies, knowledge, customs, traditions, and sensitivities of the member delegations, allowing volunteers to communicate and present themselves in ways that were appropriate and respectful.

NaHHA would like to thank FestPAC Commissioners for their vision and guidance. We would also like to extend our deepest gratitude to the team of Gravitas Pasifika who executed the festival and provided faith and trust in NaHHA to execute the volunteer effort.

Our aloha is with Team NaHHA and our ʻohana at TGA Collective who made the tremendous lift of gathering, training, organizing, and executing the volunteer effort these past few months. We mahalo the tireless efforts of the organizations and their teams involved in this work, who gave of themselves, their passions, their gifts, and their hearts to ensure that Hawaiʻi presented well. We have made many new friends and look forward to future collaborations. We could not have done it without you – mahalo nui loa!

As we reflect on the 13th FestPAC and look forward to future opportunities to collaborate, we are reminded that none of it would be possible without the dedication and generosity of our Hawaiʻi community. The people of Hawaiʻi are the heart and soul of our islands, ensuring that FestPAC remains a beacon of cultural exchange and understanding for years into the future.

We are so proud of everything accomplished and all that is yet to come. Your contributions are a testament to the power of community and collaboration in celebrating and preserving the rich diversity of all Pacific cultures. With our aloha, Team NaHHA.