The Stories of Kupuna Project: Background and Purpose

What is this publication?

Stories of Kupuna is a project that seeks to share the diverse and unique life stories and backgrounds of kupuna (Hawaiian for “elder” or “older adult”) from the local community of Honolulu, Hawai’i. The publication also shares stories from kupuna beyond Hawai’i, featuring older adults’ experiences from living all over the world.

The Stories of Kupuna website brings together the various cultures, nationalities, and lifestyles of kupuna in order to share intriguing and eye-opening stories from the past. No two kupuna have lived the same childhoods, and no two stories share the same unique experiences. Story content ranges from childhood experiences, either growing up here in Hawai’i or in another community, to lifelong careers in different fields to passions, interests, and hobbies.

How did this idea come about and why was the publication created?

The idea behind the Stories of Kupuna project stems from my involvement in the One Mile Project at ‘Iolani School in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The class seeks to empathize with kupuna in the local community, helping students understand the challenges older adults face in their everyday lives. I took my One Mile projects beyond the classroom in order to create this publication, a convenient way to gather and share all the fascinating stories from my frequent interviews with kupuna, not just from around the island but during my travels as well.

The purpose of the Stories of Kupuna project is to share all of the featured stories with others in the community, from adults to youth, in order to learn from their life experiences and to give valuable insight into the past compared to the present day. Historical aspects of these stories help connect readers to the interviewees through past historical events, and links to other websites provide readers with more specific information on a particular topic or event of the past. The ability for these stories to expose readers to real historical events that interviewees have experienced is the most rewarding aspect of creating this publication, outlining the purpose of Stories of Kupuna to share life experiences and intrigue readers of all generations.

I hope you find these stories as fascinating as I did when interviewing kupuna!

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