The Pākaʻa Project

Chamber Music Hawaii’s The Pākaʻa Project increases access to music education resources for teachers in both ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and English-speaking communities statewide.

At the heart of the Pākaʻa Project lies the classic Hawaiian coming-of-age story of the young boy, Pākaʻa, retold in Hawaiian language newspapers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and set to music by composer Jon Magnussen for the CMH’s Spring Wind Quintet and Hawaiian-language narrators Sam ʻOhu Gon III and B.K. Cabigon.

Pāka‘a lived as a boy on Kaua‘i long ago, in the cliffs of Ke-ahi-ahi (near the present-day Kealia) with his mother and her bird-catching brother, uncle Ma‘ilou . Pāka‘a is tired of the village fishermen making fun of his uncle for never providing the family with fish, only birds. He is also frustrated that the fishermen never give generously of their delicious catch to him, because they are prejudiced towards his uncle and his trade. Nevertheless, Pāka‘a figures out a clever way to claim his share of the catch, winning in the process many ka‘au (forty) of his favorite mālolo fish, and also winning the respect of his elders.

The Pākaʻa Project brings live performances to audiences across the State of Hawaiʻi and offers a free, downloadable Teacher Resource Guide in Hawaiian and in English, providing curriculum support for classroom use particularly in 3rd to 5th grades. This unique bilingual educational offering is the product of a collaboration involving educators and culture and language advisors Sam ʻOhu Gon III, B.K. Cabigon and Mailelauliʻi Naki; CMH education director J. Scott Janusch and composer Jon Magnussen.

A CD recording of Pākaʻa Lanakila! in Hawaiian and in English is also available on iTunes and other outlets. Please click on the link at right to go to iTunes. Below is a video excerpt of a Pākaʻa Lanakila! performance and downloads of the Teacher Resource Guide in English and Hawaiian.

If you are a teacher interested in bringing this opportunity to your students, please email us ( so we can include your name on the list for future performance announcements.

If you are interested in scheduling an appearance at your school, library or other location, please contact CMH education director J. Scott Janusch at


Narrator’s Text – Pākaʻa Lanakila! (PDF)

Teacher’s Guide – In English (PDF)

Teacher’s Guide – In Hawaiian (PDF)

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Educator feedback from the 2016 
Kauaʻi Community College Performing Arts Center performance:

Aloha mai kāua e Jon,
Mahalo nui loa for a wonderful presentation last night! It exceeded all my expectations and has made me think of a whole lot of other possibilities!
Please let me know if there is anything I can do for any of your future endeavors!
Me ke aloha nui,

It was an amazing performance and fit PERFECTLY for us at Punana Leo as the mo`olelo of Pākaʻa is a major focus in our program.  I look forward to seeing it again here on Kauaʻi especially for nā keiki.  I believe the haumana and makua of both Punana Leo and Kawakini (and other Hawaiian language schools) would LOVE to attend this show and you wouldn’t even need the English subtitles for them!
Mahalo again!
Na S.O.S

Available on iTunes