Revitalize Puna, Purple Mai‘a launch Kūka‘i Creators immersive learning event

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Revitalize Puna, in partnership with Purple Mai‘a, are launching Kūka‘i Creators, an experiential learning weekend that elevates placed-based stories through ‘āina-immersion, cultural workshops, and tech tools. Photo courtesy: Kūka‘i Creators)

Revitalize Puna and Purple Mai‘a are launching Kūka‘i Creators, an experiential learning event that blends ‘āina and cultural immersion with art, design and tech tools to transform historical and contemporary stories into captivating visual experiences. The event takes place in Puna, Aug. 18 to 20.

Hiʻiaka and Moʻoiliʻili. (Photo courtesy: Kūka‘i Creators)

The integration of place-based stories and traditional practices with modern innovation is designed to empower participants to become storytellers and share perspectives in creative ways.


  • Aug. 18: Kūka‘i Creators will complete hands-on work in ‘āina at the Kahuwai Historic Fishing Village including restoring holua sled, clearing the ali‘i complex and hale wa‘a and 3D LiDAR mapping.
  • Aug. 19: Participants will learn how to bring Puna mo‘olelo (stories) to visual life by leveraging technology, and use art and cultural workshops to inform and inspire creative processes.
  • Aug. 20: Kūka‘i Creators will present their visual creations to the community. Saturday and Sunday events will take place at the Billy Kenoi District Park Gym in Pāhoa. 

“Launching Kūka‘i Creators in Puna, which means ‘spring’ in Hawaiian, holds great significance and embodies the essence of renewal, growth, and creativity,” said Council Member Ashley Kierkiewicz, co-designer for Kūka‘i and co-director of Revitalize Puna. “Kūka‘i empowers individuals to become creative storytellers in the modern frontier, bridging the gap between tradition and innovation. By merging ‘āina, tech, and cultural heritage, participants emerge with new skills and abilities to amplify voice and unique perspective.”

The weekend features discussions on how to responsibly and ethically leverage technology and AI beyond media creation and ways to perpetuate cultural heritage as well as retell historical stories in a modern context. Participants will contribute to a collective pulelehua (butterfly) installation, learn traditional Hawaiian weaving practices, and can be part of Ka Mahina Project’s Hina Circles to understand how to consider mo’olelo and moon cycles in relation to life phases. 

“We believe it’s important to explore ways our lāhui can responsibly use cutting edge technology and AI tools to better position ourselves in a rapidly expanding new world,” said Keoni DeFranco, co-designer for Kūka‘i and managing director of Mālama Studios for Purple Mai‘a. “We want to uplift our moʻolelo and the ethics they passed down to us, while exploring creative new ways of storytelling. We’re honored to launch this program in Puna, a wahi pana of incredible mana with some of Hawaiʻi’s richest stories.”


Participation is free. Kūka‘i is free and includes meals and supplies. Participants must commit to attending all three days of the experiential learning as each day builds upon the other.

Knowledge in art, design, tech or AI is not necessary to participate. The weekend is designed to support creators at all skill levels. Learn more and register at

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