Native Hawaiian attorney Kai Markell is a man who truly loves his job. As Ka Pou Kakoʻo (Manager) of Kiaʻi Kanawai (Compliance Enforcement) for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Kai helps to protect and preserve the traditional cultural landscape and practices.
Photography has been a lifelong pursuit, beginning in the late 1980ʻs as an undergraduate at the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa. Here Kai explains his love of photography, in his own words.
I try to attend as many Native Hawaiian events as I can, to not only participate with pule, chant and ho’okani pu, but also to photographically capture and document the events to sustain the important Spirit long after the event is physically finished. Hula is one of my favorite subjects to photograph.
There is so much beauty in the world, and I have aspired to be able to capture it in its truest forms. Ke Akua’s Beauty.
I pule much before capturing events, especially Native Hawaiian ceremonies and other more sensitive gatherings and always stay in communication with my ancestors and Spirit Guides while shooting, as they help me find the most beautiful and powerful imagery. The ability to capture spirit in the photos, a transmittable healing force for the viewers long after the ephemeral moment is gone. I feel truly blessed and humbled to be able to capture and share these aspects of Life.
Mahalo a nui loa e Kai for allowing Pūpū to share your photos, Ka Poʻe Kiaʻi (The Guardians of Mauna Kea), Ola Ka Hā (The Essence of the Native Hawaiian People Shall Live) featuring Hālau Kalikopuaokalaniākea, and Hoʻola at Hālawa (Life at Hālawa Prison – Makahiki).
Credits: all photos courtesy of Kai Markell