Hoʻoulu Scholarship Program students gathered a workshop about The Power of Paʻakai at Chaminade University on Feb. 13. The workshop featured a presentation, given by Kamehameha Schools representatives, exploring the traditional practices surrounding paʻakai, or Hawaiian sea salt, and its relevance today.
Recipients of the Hoʻoulu Scholarship, which is funded by Kamehameha Schools and Chaminade, are interested in careers in STEM and are passionate about the Hawaiian culture. They generally pursue degrees in Biology, Biochemistry, Forensic Science, Data Science, Environmental Studies, Nursing or Business.
Kamehameha Schools presenters Kimo Chun, program manager, and Sandra Tanaka, employer engagement coordinator, drew from ʻike kupuna, or wisdom of our ancestors, to explain to the 25 attendees how the power of paʻakai is applicable to them and their career development. Paʻakai serves a variety of purposes in Native Hawaiian culture. It is used in blessings, cleansings, medicine, food preservation and cooking. The rock salt is the product of a great deal of preparation including hours of physical labor done mostly in the summer months. Regardless of the amount of hard work that goes into cultivating paʻakai, the presentation emphasized that it is to be shared and given freely with aloha.