Vicky Holt Takamine
The art, practice and spiritual connection to hula continually inspire Vicky Holt Takamine to be the advocate she is today, consistently spreading the message that cultural harmony and resilience are traits to be valued. And shared, as this kumu hula is involved in a variety of causes and organizations on many different levels.
Currently, Takamine is the director of this year’s Healing Our Spirit Worldwide conference, taking place on Oahu through Sept. 10. Starting as a forum focusing on alcohol and drug issues in the communities of indigenous people, Healing Our Spirit Worldwide has grown to an international event where representatives from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. share their traditional healing practices and traditions.
“This is an incredible opportunity to bring traditional medicinal practices and practitioners from indigenous communities together to share and speak out about healing techniques, holistic plant use, and voice their concerns and resolutions to cultural issues that arise,” says Takamine, who appeared on MidWeek‘s cover in October 2005.
The conference, with more than 2,500 participants, opened Sunday at Kualoa Ranch with a sunrise chant as long canoes with each country’s delegates on board were paddled in and greeted with lei. The conference, which concludes at the Hawaii Convention Center, has included a traditional Native American powwow, a drum and hula event, an awa ceremony at Waimea Valley and more than 250 cultural demonstrations.
Aside from teaching hula at UH and standing as president of the Hawaii environmental alliance organization KAHEA, Takamine has gone 5,000 miles to extend the PA’I Foundation and Pua Ali’i ‘ilima halau to New York City. “We started this expansion in May, and I will be flying back this month after the HOSW conference,” says Takamine. “We received two grants from the Ford Foundation and will be meeting with other grantee organizations to speak about our issues and to help organize upcoming events. As of right now, we have 10 members in our New York halau. Three of them are flying in to volunteer for the HOSW conference.”
Takamine also is working with John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts president Michael Kaiser and nine other nationwide performing arts organizations, learning about performing arts management and marketing techniques.
How does she unwind from her hectic schedule? “Hula classes are the reason I am not stressed out. That, and seeing my 12-year-old granddaughter Nicole on the weekends.”
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