Hawaii Film Blog

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Be Pono!

Littering at Kanaha Beach, Maui: Sooooo NOT Pono! (Photo: Forest & Kim Starr (USGS))

In an editorial yesterday, the Maui News asked, "Can MTV be 'pono'"? The editorial was referring to the two new MTV reality series currently in production on Maui, and whether or not they could be "pono," which in Hawaiian means upright, moral, correct, proper, and righteous.

We in Hawaii are concerned about such things because our locations, culture, and people have been burned by many, many productions that didn't give a hoot about the concerns of their “host culture.” Being pono, according to the Maui News, includes things like not touting "secret places” that are restricted or dangerous, training cast members to pronounce Hawaiian words correctly, understanding and respecting Hawaii's multicultural history and heritage, respecting the public's right to access shorelines, helping to protect Hawaii’s delicate natural resources, and offering a realistic view of what it means to live in Hawaii.

On a related note, a letter to the editor in the Honolulu Advertiser today complained about a recent production here that apparently was not pono in the eyes of one participant. PBS's popular "Antiques Roadshow" made a stop in Honolulu a few days ago to appraise local residents' wares. However, according to one participant, the production "lacked cultural sensitivity" by not providing sufficient Asian antiques experts because they failed to account for Hawaii's majority Asian population. This participant goes on further to complain that there was no "Hawaiiana" category, and those with Hawaiian artifacts were relegated to stand in a line labeled "Tribal Art."

Let's hope that the experience was not as negative for other participants, and that when the show airs, it treats Hawaii more sensitively when it takes viewers on a tour of historic sites around the islands.

>> Can MTV be 'pono'? [Maui News, 8/28/06]
PBS Hit "Roadshow" Lacked Cultural Sensitivity [Hnl Advertiser Letter to the Editor, 8/29/06]
'Antiques Roadshow' is here to amaze, appraise [Hnl Advertiser, 8/23/06]
Crowds roll in for 'Antiques Roadshow' [Hnl Advertiser, 8/27/06]
Hit PBS show draws thousands hoping antiques are treasures [Hnl Star-Bulletin, 8/27/06]

>> Two New MTV Reality Series Shooting on Maui
Respecting Host Cultures While Filming
Listen and Learn
Hawaii Newbies, Read This
Hawaii vs. Hawaiian
Culture Clash
>> Cultural Insensitivity
"Lost" Restores Landscape It Had Trampled

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