He Ao Hou: Gameplay Video

During a three-week workshop (July through August), 15 students created a Hawaiian-language video game rooted in traditional moʻolelo. With only five days dedicated to game production, students did it all: designing levels, creating 3d graphics, even voice acting, and audio recording. The workshop was taught by the indigenous-led Initiative for Indigenous Futures, in conjunction with Kanaeokana.

The majority of the participants were products of immersion schools or Hawaiian-language programs. Some were chosen for their cultural grounding, others for their technical skills, while a few came in with both.

The haumāna felt a strong kuleana to remind people that aloha ʻāina and our traditions have a place today and in the future, so the game is set in space, and the main character travels through different worlds populated by characters and traditions from our moʻolelo. They have to use their knowledge of moʻolelo and the principles of aloha ʻāina to successfully complete their quest, something the participants feel applies to them as well.

The game is entitled “He Ao Hou: A New World,” a reminder of all the new worlds we can create when we work together for our future, while staying rooted in our language and traditions.

Standing upon a foundation of our culture, language, and practices, we can see across vast distances, even to new worlds

Since the July workshop:

  • Nā ‘Anae Mahiki (the name the students chose for themselves) presented at the Lāhui Research Center Undergraduate Conference at UH Mānoa on September 22 and 23.
  • He Ao Hou, A New World is being showcased at this year’s Imaginative Film Festival in Toronto.
  • Several of the students from the three week workshop have been asked to teach through Purple Mai‘a, a technology education nonprofit whose mission is to build pathways of knowledge together with high-opportunity youth in order to help communities thrive. Purple Mai‘a teaches beginning coding and computer science at nine locations in schools and communities where many students are Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander.
  • Nā ‘Anae Mahiki has continued to meet. Kanaeokana is providing booster workshops around software that was used in the original 3-week program. The students have since brought in additional haumāna who are interested in the convergence of technology and culture.
  • The international partnership that made this possible is still going strong, and we are looking at ways to continue and grow the program. AbTec/IIF @ Concordia University is allowing some of its faculty to assist/teach the students remotely till the end of the year. They are also encouraging some of the students to apply for a few positions that are available that would allow the students to learn/earn at the same time (in a technology related field).
  • There are several students who would make excellent instructors for the next cohort.