Technology and Distance Programs IT Specialist

Patrick Karjala

“… as a crewmember aboard Hikianalia, my duties were photography and media in addition to helping to sail and care for the canoe.”


I was born in Maryland, but grew up in Kapa'a on Kaua'i.


Learning Design and Technology

What is your role at the COE?
I have been with the COE Technology and Distance Programs (TDP) for seven years. I primarily work on the Hawaiian Assessment (KĀ‘EO) project, and the college’s website and server infrastructure. I have also worked on some course websites at the COE and for other programs across the University of Hawai’i.

How did you become interested in learning technology?
Technology is a tool for enhancing education, but in my experience, it is often thrown in without proper consideration on how to make it effective. After working at various jobs where I saw this phenomenon, I became interested in how we prove that technology can be used to actually enhance and support education and actually be effective at doing so.

Describe your involvement with the Polynesian Voyaging Society (PVS).
My initial interest came from a class I was taking in 2016 at UH Mānoa on Virtual and Augmented Reality Programming for my master’s degree. We built a simulation of the Hōkūleʻa in Virtual Reality that grabbed the attention of the PVS. I’ve been more directly involved with PVS since 2017 when I started taking their Crew Member Training classes.

I continued doing volunteer work with them through the dry dock of both Hikianalia and Hōkūleʻa, which lasted all the way through the end of 2020. My first sail was this May, and as a crewmember aboard Hikianalia, my duties were photography and media in addition to helping to sail and care for the canoe.

What is the importance of “Mālama Honua” and the PVS partners’ responsibility to it?
We only have one Earth. We need to care for it before we can no longer live on it. Our responsibility is to make sure that we educate future generations on how we care for the planet we inhabit.

What are your future plans/hopes?
I hope to continue collaborating and working with the PVS on their Third Wa’a project, which is intended to archive voyages and expand educational outreach for future generations of voyagers.

Is there anything else you would like to include?
This was an amazing opportunity to actually get out and sail. And it is hard work! But everywhere we went, we saw evidence that the message of Mālama Honua was being spread. I look forward to continuing to work with PVS on future voyages!

Check out Patrick’s May 2021 Crew Blogs
“Mālama the Waʻa” –
“Safety First” –


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