Founders Mo‘olelo Honors the School’s Hawaiian and Christian roots

Punahou Communications Staff

September 12, 2017

The Founders Play, written by faculty and acted by students, told the history of the founding of Punahou in celebration of its 175th anniversary. This year, the play was revived as the Founders Mo‘olelo (story) and performed by third, fourth and sixth-graders in Chapel services for grades K – 12.

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“Our main goal in offering this Chapel presentation is for our community to gain more knowledge about the mo’olelo of the missionaries and their reasons for starting Punahou School,” wrote Co-Director of Hawaiian Studies Malia Ane ’72, longtime BLC librarian Dita Ramler-Reppun ’70 and Chaplain Lauren Medeiros in a guide created for teachers to gain additional insight into the story.

The play echoed this school year’s theme: Every life is a story. It also illuminated what President Scott ’70 often states, that Punahou is the beneficiary of two precious gifts: the gift of land from Hawaiian ali‘i and the gift of education from Protestant missionaries.

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The play opened with a scene from a Punahou classroom today and recounted the School’s origin, honoring the School’s Hawaiian and Christian roots. “Over the years, much has changed at Ka Punahou, yet much remains the same. And our mo‘olelo continues to grow, as we add to it,” said the narrator in the play’s closing remarks.

“The Founders Mo‘olelo is the first of several celebrations planned this year as we remember and reflect on upcoming bicentennials,” said Medeiros and Ane.

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Three upcoming bicentennial anniversaries mark important dates in Hawai‘i’s history. Next year is the 200th anniversary of the death of ‘Ōpūkaha‘ia, the young man who ultimately inspired the first Protestant congregational missionaries to come to Hawai‘i. In 2019, the anniversary of the departure of missionaries from Boston will be remembered, and 2020 marks the bicentennial of the arrival of the first missionaries to the Islands.

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