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University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo storytelling series seeks to build connections

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students filmed the first four episodes of Wailau during the pandemic.

A group of University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo students hope a storytelling project will help build connections, particularly during the pandemic.

Wailau is a series of events that feature storytellers from the campus and the broader Hilo community. The first four episodes were pre-recorded during the pandemic and explore different themes, such as a just world and tales of misunderstanding.

Organizers are preparing for Wailau’s first live show, which will be held on campus on Nov. 18. The theme is new beginnings.

“Sharing your true voice is pretty terrifying, but it's also one of the most important things anyone can ever do,” said Tori Matsumoto, co-host of Wailau and a UH Hilo sophomore majoring in English. “All of our storytellers have connected their personal struggles, their successes and words of advice to a central theme that resonates within all of them together. Wailau is about growing and connecting as artists … and I really love that both the campus and the broader Hilo community can be a part of that.”

Each show features five storytellers – four with UH Hilo ties and one Hawaiʻi Island community member.

Matsumoto, who was a storyteller in Wailau’s fall 2021 show, said they are looking for people who are interested in sharing their stories on the live show. She said they plan to continue working on more live episodes in the future.

For more information and to apply to be a storyteller by the Sept. 6 deadline, click here.

Jayna Omaye is the culture and arts reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact her at
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