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, former 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 Apple Music and other outlets. Below is a video excerpt of a Pākaʻa Lanakila! performance and downloads of the Teacher Resource Guide in English and Hawaiian.

Teacher Resource Guide

If you are a teacher interested in bringing this opportunity to your students, please email us ( thepakaaproject@gmail.com ) 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 Coordinator Jamie Sanborn at jsanborn@chambermusichawaii.org

Paka'a Lanakila at Bishop Museum

In collaboration with Bishop Museum, Chamber Music Hawaii presented a performance of Paka’a Lanakila!, a classic music mo’olelo (story) with Hawaiian language narration on October 23rd in the Hawaiian Hall, Bishop Museum. The tale first appeared in Hawaiian language newspapers during the mid-19th century! The musical presentation featured the Spring Wind Quintet, master storyteller B.K. Cabigon, composer Jon Magnussen and art by Caren Loebel-Fried.


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,

Na S.O.S

Aloha! 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!