We are inviting you to a very important summit to be held in November of this year in Honolulu, Hawai‘i. Moana Nui will be a gathering of practitioners and advocates for indigenous and native islander economies, subsistence practices, and the threats and opportunities to those economies posed by a globalizing modernization.

This conference is specifically aimed at challenging the international economic model enshrined by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) which will be holding its next meeting in Honolulu at the same time. The focus of Moana Nui will be to look for ways to strengthen our local and nascent economies and to create strategies that will allow our native producers—farmers, fishermen, artisans and artists to create a network of shared goals and resources, trade and exchange.

In most cases we Pacific Islanders find ourselves at a disadvantage in dealing with or even profiting from the expansion of modern industrial production and trade.  But even with small land areas and large expanses of oceans between islands Pacific Islands suffer more from a reputation of lacking the typical requirements for the growth of prosperous nations than from an actual lack of means. As our late cousin Epeli Hauofa has described, our resources are our resourcefulness, our innovative natures, our fearless embrace of the ocean and deep knowledge of our world.

And while our islands may be beneath the notice of industrial and commercial nations as markets or producers, we are not beneath the notice of their armed forces and their need for harbors, airfields and missile ranges. Such attractions may attract billions of dollars in foreign aid but they also help to diminish our own independent economic development as well as our political sovereignty.

Clearly our knowledge and management of our world has been compromised by centuries of European, American and lately, Asian economic and military expansion into this great sea of islands. Environmental changes well beyond our control will further challenge all of our abilities as we seek to maintain a Pacific way of life. APEC is a symbolic and practical representative of the challenges to our way life. This summit aims to provide an alternative public discourse to the demands of production, labor, surpluses and markets; and beginning our own internal conversations about how we can support our native producers and our own modes of production.

We are asking for your commitment to join us in Honolulu from November 11–15, 2011 for the first Moana Nui Summit. We are including a draft program for the five days and are working to secure funding to defray the costs for off-island participants.  Please respond before March 15 if you are available and willing to attend.

Me ke Aloha,

Jon Kamakawiwo’ole Osorio – Convenor
Pua Mohala I Ka Po