A Once in a Lifetime Event

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Photo: Kaleihikina Akaka

The 13th Festival of Pacific Arts and Culture (FestPAC) was hosted for the first time in Hawaiʻi from June 6-16 and included nearly 2,500 delegates from 28 Pacific Island nations. First launched in 1972, FestPAC is the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Island culture. This year’s theme was “Hoʻoulu Lāhui: Regenerating Oceania,” which complemented the festival’s goals of nurturing traditions, facilitating cultural exchange, and looking ahead at challenges including sustainability and climate change. Hawaiʻi has participated in FestPAC since 1976.

Photo: Trustee Akaka, husband Tyler, and baby Ana
Trustee Akaka, husband Tyler, and baby Ana Kapuahilehuaāiwaiwamaikahikinaiōlaʻa at the King Kamehameha Lei Draping Ceremony at Ali’iōlani Hale. – Courtesy Photos

FestPAC realized my hope to unify our island nations as a collective to empower one another and strengthen our advocacy with government and community through the continuation of the Talanoa, a gathering of Pacific leaders, and signing of the Tuurama Ariki Declaration at the ʻIolani Palace establishing the Osiana Traditional Leaders Forum. This unity helps fulfill the vision King David Kalākaua begun on his 1887 voyage to establish a Polynesian Confederacy to connect the Hawaiian people with our Polynesian cousins.

This once-in-a-lifetime festival highlighted the rich cultural heritage, diversity, legacy, and connection we have as Indigenous people. This celebration of one another’s cultures, stories, and traditions was a wonderful experience from the regalia to the language, the arts, chants, dance, music and more. This diversity in harmony stirred pride amongst all participants and built friendships that will last a lifetime.

Mahalo to all who made FestPAC a world class event proving that all is possible through ʻohana and community.

Photo: OHA Trustees with Tonga’s Honourable Frederica Tuita
OHA Trustees with Tonga’s Honourable Frederica Tuita.