Globally Connected: Locally Sustainable
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Photo: Above and below, the Henry Kuualoha Giugni Moving
The Search for Hawaii’s Moving Image History
Henry Kuualoha Giugni Moving Image Archives of Hawaii
“It's like Raiders of the Lost Ark,” said Heather Giugni, founder of ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Kuualoha Giugni Moving Image Archives of Hawaii (‘Ulu‘ulu), which is the only moving image archive in Hawaii. “It’s exciting detective work tracking down the priceless images of Hawaii’s history as it was recorded on film and video.”
‘Ulu‘ulu is working with a long list of educational institutions, museums, libraries, television stations, and individual filmmakers to gather and digitize these historical images, which will be housed in a permanent collection at the University of Hawai’i – West Oahu.
The most fragile and therefore the most priceless of these are the film records of Hawaii’s past dating as far back as the 1920s. “One of the oldest images we have is the landing of an Inter-Island Airways aircraft, which is now Hawaiian Airlines,” Giugni said, who credited the Lyman Museum for the find.
Later vintage images captured glimpses of a Hawaii that an older generation will remember — the popular Checkers & Pogo children’s TV show, the 1978 Constitutional Convention, first lady Jackie Kennedy being greeted at the airport by a very young Senator Dan Inouye, and President Lyndon Baines Johnson and Lady Bird being welcomed by Governor John A. Burns and Senator Spark Matsunaga.
These are now carefully preserved in the archive, but Giugni explained that much of Hawaii’s moving image history has been lost through a lack of understanding of its value plus the deterioration of the film stock itself. “For decades, librarians and archivists have tried unsuccessfully to bring this part of Hawaii’s history to the forefront,” she said. “But it wasn’t until we moved to digital recording that people began to realize the need to preserve our moving history.”
As a filmmaker who has her own personal library, Giugni has always appreciated the work of librarians who value the importance of video information as a primary educational resource. This was Giugni’s impetus for starting ‘Ulu‘ulu, which got underway thanks to Senator Inouye who secured seed money through a grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The project was named for Giugni’s late father, Henry Ku’ualoha Giugni, who was the former U.S. Senate Sergeant-At-Arms as well as the Senator’s longtime aide.
“History is our greatest teacher, and the ‘Ulu‘ulu Archives are safeguarding the contemporary history and culture of Hawaii for future generations,” said Senator Inouye. “For example, news footage of the 1978 Hawaii Constitutional Convention has been preserved and digitized so that teachers and students can experience how the delegates came to recognize the rights of Native Hawaiians through the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the protection of the Hawaiian language. This rare footage is now preserved and joins a new media library of primary resource materials that we can all access to vividly remember our past and to guide us into the future.”
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