Skins 5.0 / He Au Hou : Telling Moʻolelo Through Video Games

Hawaiians have long embraced new technologies to tell our moʻolelo. When we began our move towards widespread alphabetic literacy in the 1820s, the wooden Ramage press that had come over with the missionaries was cutting edge technology. Today the digital realm is an ʻāina many of us inhabit, and we have to ensure that our moʻolelo and worldview shape this virtual landscape. With the proliferation of easily accessible digital and social media, it is more important than ever that we are the ones telling our own stories. We want to empower our youth to be more than just consumers of these new technologies, but creators and builders as well.

Kealaiwikuamoʻo, on behalf of Kanaeokana: The Kula Hawaiʻi Network, is partnering with Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace + Initiative to Indigenous Futures to put on He Au Hou: Telling Moʻolelo Through Video Games. This inaugural workshop brings together scholars, artists, technologists, and practitioners to plant seeds for the future, carving out space for Kānaka Maoli in the cyber world, and giving new mana to our moʻolelo.

Through He Au Hou, Aboriginal Territories in Cyberspace + Initiative to Indigenous Futures will present a unique curriculum that begins with traditional storytelling and proceeds to teach participants how to tell a story in a very new way—through virtual environments and video games. With that foundation in place, the students then learn important skills for the production of video games and virtual environments, such as game design, art direction, 3D modeling and animation, sound, and computer programming. The workshops are taught by a mix of game-industry professionals, indigenous artists, and a core team of senior students from Concordia University in Montreal.

By the end of these free workshops, the students will have created a playable video game based on a Hawaiian moʻolelo, which can be further developed and polished after the workshop. Besides the important training mentioned above, some participants will be invited to facilitate future workshops and projects, ensuring that we create generational abundance in this virtual ʻāina the same way we do on our real-world ʻāina, with kaikuaʻana nurturing kaikaina, all for the benefit of the lāhui.

Aloha ʻāina and the drive to perpetuate our moʻolelo are the main criteria for workshop participants, so no technical experience is necessary. But if you know students who have backgrounds in the following, please encourage them to apply (

  • culturally grounded storytelling/writing/filmmaking
  • graphic design/concept art
  • 3d modeling/animation
  • game/level design
  • programming
  • sound/music

When: July 17-Aug 4
Where: Hālau ʻĪnana (2482 S Beretania St).

He Au Hou is a series of free workshops on creative writing and art for this new au, this new era, we live in, but also to push the au, the current, in new directions. Hawaiians have long assimilated new technologies into our cultural practice and used them in ways that served Hawaiian purposes. He Au Hou continues these traditions of innovation and excellence fostered in us by our kūpuna, giving voice to the younger generations to tell our moʻolelo in new ways.

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