Bridging Hawaiian Traditions and University Learning at University of Hawai'i at Mānoa

An immersive and interactive educational experience designed to deeply engage participants with Hawaiian culture, history, and natural environments.

Partnership with University of Hawai'i Community Design Center



Honoring Hawaiian Wisdom through Design: Institute of Design, in partnership with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Community Design Center, navigated a respectful and decolonizing design process to visualize and communicate indigenous spatial concepts. We aimed to bridge traditional knowledge with contemporary design, ensuring our approach was informed, respectful, and acknowledged the rich cultural tapestry of Hawai’i's indigenous communities.



Conveying traditional Hawaiian concepts to both non-native local and continental students can pose a challenge due to the stark contrast with their familiar Western worldview

Understanding Hawaiian Worldview


Barriers                                                                                                                  What Hinders Students from Engaging with Cultural Learning?

Many non-native students are not actively engaging in learning about Hawaiian culture due to a perceived lack of personal connection and limited engaging educational opportunities.



It’s not about changing the behavior of the students, it’s about incorporating culture into their daily lives


Wai Wai

An immersive and interactive educational experience designed to deeply engage participants with Hawaiian culture, history, and natural environments.

WaiWai, a pioneering application, transforms student interactions by weaving Hawaiian culture into their experiences. Rather than merely modifying behavior, it amplifies existing practices to cultivate a more profound relationship with the world.

Merging a compelling mix of Hawaiian culture with a rewarding system, Waiwai encourages students to explore beyond the digital realm, immersing themselves in the lively traditions. Drawing inspiration from Dr. Beamer's insights into circular wealth, Waiwai embeds a spirit of community and ecological stewardship.

At the core of Waiwai are guided walks, providing hands-on and experiential learning moments. Students are led on enthralling expeditions, exploring Hawaiian culture, history, and nature. These walks connect classroom learning with the rich mosaic of Hawaiian heritage, fostering a deep appreciation of the cultural importance tied to the land, sea, and sky.

Waiwai effortlessly melds educational content with engaging activities, motivating learners to connect with their environment. Join us on this transformative adventure where technology and cultural immersion unite, enabling students to value, conserve, and flourish


With WaiWai, students will forge a stronger bond with their 'āina, gain inspiration to learn, and ignite a fresh curiosity about Hawaiian culture.


Enhancing Students' Bond with Hawaiian Culture and Land via Exploration and Discovery

By incorporating pause features throughout the journey, WaiWai facilitates students' immersion into Hawaiian culture, enabling them to explore and discover the land in a deeply engaging manner. This interactive approach not only educates but also fosters a meaningful connection with the cultural and natural landscapes they traverse.



Igniting Curiosity and Motivating Knowledge Pursuit in Hawaiian Culture

WaiWai's audio storytelling, enriched with native stories, chants, and songs, provides an accessible and immersive learning experience, requiring minimal physical activity or prior knowledge. Students engage with the content in a relaxed and enjoyable manner, allowing them to explore Hawaiian culture through a rich auditory landscape, sparking their curiosity and inspiring a pursuit of further knowledge and understanding.



Encouraging Continuous Engagement and Exploration Beyond the Campus in Hawai'i

WaiWai promotes experiential learning and student engagement through interactive treasure hunting, enhancing students' physical experiences. This approach not only provides continuous and enticing learning experiences but also motivates students to explore beyond the campus, discovering more of Hawai'i and its rich cultural tapestry


Extended Feature and Partnership

Collective Points

Accumulate Points and Enjoy Local Rewards Through Exploration

Dive into WaiWai's walks and treasure hunts, earning points that can be redeemed at local coffee shops and bookstores. This initiative not only supports local businesses but also fosters a community-oriented approach to learning and leisure. The rewarding system serves as an additional incentive, keeping students engaged with WaiWai while they explore and immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of Hawaiian culture