East Hawaii News

Sig Zane to Deliver Keynote Speech at UH-Hilo Graduation

December 10, 2013, 10:23 AM HST
* Updated December 10, 10:25 AM
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Sig Zane, a well-lnown Big Island artist, clothing designer, dancer and cultural practitioner, will deliver the keynote address at the University of Hawai`i at Hilo’s fall commencement to be held at 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, at the UH-Hilo gym.

Students have petitioned for a total of 262 degrees or certificates from the colleges of Arts and Sciences (174); Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (19); Business and Economics (21); and Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani College of Hawaiian Language (18). Thirty others are candidates for various post-graduate honors.

Zane, an O`ahu native, moved to Hilo in the mid-1970s where he joined Hilo’s Halau O Kekuhi in 1981, and immersed himself in the art of hula under the direction of Edith Kanaka`ole along with her daughters Pua Kanahele and also Nalani Kanaka`ole, who he would later marry. Through hula, Zane developed a deep understanding of the relationship between native plants and the Hawaiian culture.

He opened Sig Zane Designs in downtown Hilo more than 25 years ago. His popular line of aloha shirts, dresses, bags and tees with popular motifs reflect native Hawaiian culture, heritage and practices.

Zane, Nalani, and their son, Kuhaoimaikalani, have been working together for more than a decade on special projects which combine their unique designs with fundamentals rooted in culture.

They have produced iconic images for jewelry, hotel rooms and airplanes, and most recently created the traditional bamboo stamp design ohe kapala for Hawaiian Electric Companies featured prominently in television advertisements.

The student speaker will be Hawaiian studies major Amanda O’Farrell. O’Farrell was born in Hilo, raised in Puna, and graduated from the Kamehameha Schools Kea`au campus.  She has maintained a 3.6 GPA at UH-Hilo and made the Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikolani Dean’s List four times.

Amanda O'Farrell, the student speaker at the graduation ceremony. Courtesy photo.

Amanda O’Farrell, the student speaker at the graduation ceremony. Courtesy photo.

O’Farrell has been an active participant in numerous cultural and environmental initiatives throughout the island. That includes taking part in invasive species removal around Hale Pohaku on Mauna Kea, collecting native species seeds at Hualalai, and participating in a  heiau clean-up in Keaukaha, the university said in a statement.

Her immediate post-graduate plans are to care for her two young children, but she hopes to return within two years to pursue a master’s degree in ethnobotany and ethnomedicine. Her dream is to be a traditional Hawaiian healer, practicing the art of la`au lapa`au and lomilomi.

She has also expressed interest in pursuing a Ph.D. in traditional medicine or public health.

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