About Kaliko Beamer-Trapp and ʻŌlelo|Online


Kaliko Beamer-Trapp, the hānai (adopted) son of respected Hawaiian cultural expert Aunty Nona Beamer (1923-2008), created and maintains ʻŌlelo|Online, which was started in the summer of 2010.

The following bio focuses only on events related to Hawaiian language and culture. You’ll have to ask Kaliko personally if you want to know about all the other things in his life!

About Kaliko / Short Bio

Kaliko was born on the Isle of Wight, a small island off the south coast of England. He moved to the San Francisco Bay Area, California, in 1982. In 1985, he joined a performing group named Dances of the Pacific (since dissolved) and spent the following nine years as a performer of Polynesian music and dance both in California and also in group tours of England, Spain, Mallorca, Hawaiʻi, and Fiji. He performed on several cruises for both Norwegian Cruise Lines and Holland America cruise lines as a musician with various groups between the years 1988 and 1991.

After attending junior college, working in a wild animal rescue museum, taking flying lessons, teaching martial arts, apprenticing as a Land Rover mechanic, and doing audio/visual work for medical conferences (among other things), he moved to the island of Hawaiʻi in May 1994, at the invitation of well-known Hawaiiana expert and cultural historian Aunty Nona Beamer, whom he had met in California in 1987. Being in Hawaiʻi brought about an even deeper affection for things Polynesian, and Kaliko focused his studies particularly on the languages and cultures of Hawaiʻi and the Marquesas Islands (Te Henua ʻEnāna).

He attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and joined the Hawaiian Studies department both as a student and an employee in 1994. In 1996, he became the editor for Hawaiian language curriculum at the Hale Kuamoʻo, a Hawaiian language center on the university campus. That same year, Kaliko was adopted into the Beamer family in Waipiʻo Valley, after the late Louise Beamer, Aunty Nona’s mother, suggested privately to Aunty Nona, “I wish Kaliko could be my moʻopuna (grandson.)”

The surprise ceremony was officiated by Aunty Nona with an audience of both family and friends.

Kaliko continued to work closely with Aunty Nona, learning about chanting, storytelling, traditional protocol, family songs, and stories. Aunty Nona and Kaliko spoke to groups big and small all around Hawaiʻi, sharing aloha and what Aunty Nona called “Hawaiiana” —the study of all things Hawaiian— with anyone who was interested. Any of you who may have known Aunty Nona would agree that she was supreme at sharing Hawaiian culture with all kinds of people; her goal: to instill a love of Hawaiʻi into the hearts of both locals and foreigners alike. She influenced thousands of people in this way.

Kaliko taught 7th through 12th grades at Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu Hawaiian Language Immersion School in Keaʻau, Puna, Hawaiʻi, from 1997 to 2003. His classes included science, anthropology, computer graphic arts, French, Marquesan, and aquaculture – all taught in Hawaiian language. Spending so many hours in front of teenage immersion school students taught Kaliko much, and it was there he further developed his well-known, unique, fun-loving, and animated teaching style.

In late 2004, after an 18-month hiatus during which he focused on his work as an editor and translator for Alu Like’s Hawaiian Language Legacy Journal, Ka Hoʻoilina, he returned to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to work once again in the Hawaiian Language College, Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, where he has been ever since.

Kaliko has been involved in Keola Beamer’s “Aloha Music Camp” since its inception in 2001, both as an instructor and organizer. He was the president of AMC’s parent organization Mohala Hou Foundation from 2008 to 2014 and now serves as one of the non-profit’s directors.

And There’s More

Kaliko has taught Hawaiian language classes for the Hawaiian language college at UH Hilo, Hilo Community School for Adults, Aloha Music Camp, Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, Volcano Art Center, at hula competitions, and in countless other venues over the years. He occasionally writes Hawaiian songs, and has been the Hawaiian language judge at many hula competitions, both in Hawaiʻi and the US Mainland. He has performed with the Beamer Family in Japan, the US Mainland, and Hawaiʻi; has lectured on Hawaiian culture with Aunty Nona on many occasions; and has appeared in various magazine articles. He is also a long-time member (1996 to present) of the Hawaiian Language Lexicon Committee, a group of eight educators who coin new Hawaiian words needed for use in the Hawaiian language immersion school system.

Kaliko is always interested in the teaching and promotion of the Hawaiian language, and has thus written, coordinated, and recorded two internationally known sets of CDs for those that wish to learn Hawaiian: one a set of three CD-ROM computer games for Eurotalk Interactive (UK), which have now become games for iPhones and iPads; and the other a unified set of eight audio CDs for Topics Entertainment (US), which won the US National Audie Awards Judge’s Choice Award in 2005 beating both Pimsleur and Berlitz!

Kaliko is an upbeat and busy fellow, and seems never to be seen without his workhorse Mac laptop in one hand, an assortment of papers and books in the other, and a smile on his face to top it off. He lives in the Hilo area on Hawaiʻi island, and drives his favorite car, a Land Rover. He enjoys traveling and learning about new things, and always seems to have a new and exciting project in mind for the next turn in the road.

Kaliko is mindful of the fact that he stands not as an individual, but with the spirit, thoughts, knowledge, and kindness of all of those kupuna (elders), kumu (teachers), ʻohana (family), and others who have helped him along the way; and it is from that perspective that he is willing to share with others, including in this virtual venue: ʻŌlelo|Online.

Pictures / Social Media

Pictures of Kaliko are available right here on ʻŌlelo Online and also via Google Image Search and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kalikotrapp.

About ʻŌlelo|Online

Started in the summer of 2010, ʻŌlelo|Online is meant to be “Your Online Hawaiian Language Classroom.” There were many students in the summer 2010 workshops for Patrick Makuakāne’s hālau hula (hula school), Nā Lei Hulu i ka Wēkiu, who wanted to continue their studies after Kaliko left, so he put together this website starting with the materials from those summer workshops for them to review. Looking forward, Kaliko intends for this to be supplemented continuously with new material over the coming months and years. Your membership is appreciated; this site costs quite a bit of money to host and produce on a continuous basis.

You may have been wondering why the strange “pipe” character appears between the words “ʻŌlelo” (language) and “Online” in the name of this site. The reason —and this would be perfectly plain if you have attended any of Kaliko’s Hawaiian language classes— is that Kaliko loves to divide Hawaiian sentences into poke (sections) using that vertical pipe character. Thus the pipe is a little reminder of one of the main concepts Kaliko teaches about speaking and thinking in Hawaiian, which is to just think and speak in poke chunks. Furthermore, the large and small “O|o” characters represent the first two parts of the Hawaiian sentence (the poʻo and piko), or the first two “O” of ʻŌlelo and Online, as well as the middle two “o”, or any combination thereof!

At the time of this writing (Autumn 2011) Kaliko has moved ʻŌlelo|Online to a new publishing platform and is excited about the possibilities of adding custom-built quizzes and other more interactive features to the site in the future.