The Hawaiian Gallinule, or ʻalae ʻula, is an endangered waterbird that will increasingly be found inhabiting our urban areas.
By searching through Hawaiian newspapers, Lukanicole Zavas found the 'alae 'ula to be respected as 'āumakua (family god) and hoʻāilona (omens), with their voice used to describe places and people. Her key takeaway on how to co-exist from the kupuna (elders) is to have pilina (connections, relationships), based on respect and on a spiritual level.
For her presentation, (re)Establishing Pilina: Understanding the relationships between communities and ʻalae ʻula, Lukanicole was recognized at the 27th Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference.
“It was exhilarating to present at the conference that was the start of my journey in conservation; and to win an award was just the icing on the cake!” says the graduate candidate in the Dept. of Natural Resources and Environmental Managment. “Mahalo nui loa to all who guided me as I deepened my own pilina with the ʻalae ʻula.”
NREM chair Travis Idol adds, “NREM is proud of Luka's accomplishment and pleased to have so many students presenting at this important conference. We are also proud to see so many of our graduates here as researchers and professionals working to conserve and restore Hawaiʻi’s special places.”