Department of Culture and History


                          Image result for iosepa canoe

The Center for Hawaiian and Pacific Islands Studies bears the name of Jonathan Nāpela, one of the early Hawaiian converts to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Jonathan Nāpela, who served previously as a judge on the island of Maui, came in contact with the LDS Church through the proselytizing efforts of Elder George Q. Cannon from Salt Lake City, Utah. 

Jonathan Nāpela was involved in assisting Elder Cannon in the translation of the Book of Mormon into ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian). His in-depth knowledge of the Hawaiian language enabled him to provide valuable insights and maintain the quality of the language. Additionally, Jonathan Nāpela then organized an ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi school, teaching new missionaries who would come to Hawaiʻi. Nāpela epitomized the spirit of resilience and courage while having a love for truth and learning.

Our Vision:

Highly qualified students possessing a strong testimony of the Gospel, with in-depth knowledge of Hawaiʻi and Pacific cultures and languages in order to build communities and strengthen families. 

Our Objectives:

1.    To honor, preserve and acknowledge the unique cultural setting of Brigham Young University, in Hawaiʻi and its relation to the Pacific region.  

2.    To increase the academic success of all students with special focus on Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region to promote employability and greater returnability to home countries.

3.    To connect Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi to the local community, Hawaiʻi and the Pacific region, with a solid foundation of knowledge related to the environment, including its flora, fauna, marine life, and astronomy, its people, cultures, languages, as well as historical, social, political, economical and current issues.

4.    To serve as a resource center in providing support to Brigham Young University Hawaiʻi with relevant and current information as well as service and support the administration, faculty and staff to better prepare students.


5.    To provide support to the Polynesian Cultural Center through promotion, research and collaboration with cultural presentations and issues on the Pacific.