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 The Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program
Training ‘Ōiwi and Kama‘āina in the Field of Resource Stewardship
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The Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program was launched in 2010 with support and funding from Kamehameha Schools. The primary goal of this internship program is to educate and mentor Native Hawaiians and kama‘āina in the cultural, technical, and academic aspects of Biocultural Resource Management; in order for our haumana to a obtain higher education degrees, gain professional skill sets, grow their cultural foundation, and elevate their roles and responsibilities to our lands, ancestral places, and communities.

Since 2010 the Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program has mentored over 90 college students through our unique holistic framework that focuses on the weaving together of 5 inter-connected objectives: Cultural, Community, Technical, Academic, & Professional Development.

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The Wahi Kūpuna Internship Program takes a progressive teaching approach that recognizes the constraints of conventional indoor learning environments, and instead creates an authentic experience for haumāna in and outside the classroom, on the land, and within communities. 


We encourage our learners to focus on research topics in their own backyards, allowing them the opportunity to develop into leaders and solve problems that directly affect their ʻāina and communities. Our place-based model invests intensely in each student and is highly transferable, having been implemented in 11 different communities on 3 different islands.

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Skills Our Haumāna Learn
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Ethnohistorical Research

Ethnohistorical information provides the kahua or foundation for understanding the natural, cultural, and historical settings of a place.

Community Ethnography

Community ethnography involves conducting interviews with kūpaʻāina to acknowledge and document their familial, historical, and contemporary connections to place.

ʻĀina based fieldwork, including archaeological field methods, is an important component of CRM, helping us better understand how our kūpuna utilized their resources to thrive in unique environments.

ʻĀina-Based Field Work

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Academic & Professional Development

Academic and Professional development includes exposing the interns to a variety of career paths in WKS, meeting cultural resource managers at various agencies & levels of management, presenting at professional and academic conferences, and writing a research paper to receive college credits.

In addition, Huliauapaa provides mentorship throughout the program and often beyond for our alumni and partners.

Program Benefits
  • Hands-on learning on the ʻāina​

  • Earn college credits

  • ​​Join a hui of wahi kūpuna kiaʻi​

  • Work with communities

  • Visit unique wahi kūpuna around the island

  • Develop professional and career skills to be competitive in the workforce

  • Receive a stipend after completing the program requirements

Who Have we Served?
Our Statistics from 2010-2022​
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