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Written and Performed by Moses Goods

Created in collaboration with the Bishop Museum

Produced by Honolulu Theatre for Youth

From Honolulu, HI

About the Company


This digital engagement includes 2 week unlimited access to a password-protected prerecorded video link hosted on Vimeo.

Hawaii's first Olympic gold medalist and the grandfather of modern surfing, Duke Paoa Kahanamoku is unquestionably one of the most important and beloved figures in Hawaiian history. In many ways, Duke is Hawaii. He lived through Hawaiis transition from an independent Nation to a U.S territory and on to statehood. His gentle, welcoming spirit helped Hawaii gain the Aloha reputation that continues to attract people from around the world even today.

Many think of Duke as a famous surfer and as a statue in Waikiki. There is much more to this larger-than-life man, however, and this performance takes a closer look at his extraordinary accomplishments. We follow Duke from his first swimming lesson to his victories at the Olympic Games in 1912, 1920, and 1924; from the bustle of the exhibition scene and the lights of Hollywood to the gentle breezes and energy of Waikiki; from his public persona as Honolulu’s official “Ambassador of Aloha” to his deep, personal relationship with nature and his community.  We see life changing events and acts of everyday kindness.

Using a minimalistic set and projections showing images and pictures from Duke's life spanning from the turn of the century through modern times, we find Duke through his own eyes, through history’s reflection on his journey in a complicated era, and through the viewpoint of those who loved him. As playwright and performer, Moses Goods creates an unforgettable portrayal and transforms himself into dozens of characters to bring to life a true Hawaiian hero.

This digital production was filmed for HTY’s 2021 Virtual Season. Additional titles also available from the company: The Carp Who Would Not Quit​ (live) and Stories of Oceania (virtual).

Request Information

Best for Grades: 3rd+

Contact us to preview the full length performance.


Curriculum Connections

  • Fine Arts: Performance, Film, Multi-media design

  • Language Arts: Oral History Interviews, mele inoa (Hawaiian name chant)  

  • History/Social Studies: Native & Indigenous Cultures; Man’s relationship/connection to Nature; Hawaiian history, History of Olympic Swimming, History of Surfing

  • Social/Emotional Learning Development: Bravery, Resilience, Community, Racism, Self-Awareness, Social Awareness, Self Management, and Relationship Skills.

    Excerpt from “Being Duke” by John Berger in Honolulu Star-Advertiser (full story here.)​
    “Duke Paoa Kahinu Mokoe Hulikohola Kahanamoku was born a subject of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1890. His life spanned the overthrow of the Hawaiian government, the dark times of the Republic of Hawaii, the entire 59 years of the Territory of Hawaii and the first nine years of statehood.

    As an athlete he broke several American swimming records in Honolulu Harbor in 1911 and then repeated those feats in mainland swimming pools to qualify for the U.S. Olympic team. Kahanamoku won his first two Olympic medals — one gold, one silver — at the 1912 Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden; he won more medals at the 1920 Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, and at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.

    [In 1925, when a 40-foot yacht called Thelma capsized near Newport Beach in a turbulent sea, he used his surfboard to swim out to the craft three times to save eight passengers from drowning.]

    In the years that followed, he served 12 terms as sheriff of the City and County of Honolulu, appeared in two dozen Hollywood films, and partnered with Kimo Wilder McVay to open his namesake nightclub, Duke Kahanamoku’s, in the original International Market Place.

    Kahanamoku is also credited with reviving the sport of surfing and popularizing it outside Hawaii. For many years, he used a traditional Hawaiian koa surfboard that was 16 feet long and weighed more than 100 pounds. In 1917, he rode it on a single wave for more than a mile along the surf breaks of Waikiki; the construction of the Ala Wai Canal in 1928 caused so many changes in surf patterns off Waikiki that a similar nonstop ride is no longer possible.

    [Actor and playwright Moses] Goods also plays several other characters. He included them so that HTY audiences could hear many of the accolades Kahanamoku received from sportswriters and others during his life. Goods and HTY director Eric Johnson also tell the story with a mele inoa (name chant) about Kahanamoku that was originally published in a Hawaiian-language newspaper a century ago.

    “Duke was born at a very interesting time,” Goods said. “He was born right before the kingdom fell, and he died right before the Hawaiian Renaissance, so he lived through the time when Hawaiians were struggling to find our identity. Duke gave Hawaiians someone to look up to.”

Remote Outreach & Workshops

Please contact us if additional remote outreach or workshops is something you'd like to explore. A member of the creative team may be available to deliver pre or post show workshops or a live Q&A for participating audiences. Please connect with us about outreach activities that best engage your teachers and schools. 

Digital Tech Specs

Digital Tech Specs

This performance is available as a prerecorded link hosted on password protected Vimeo site  managed by HAA.
Each site will be made specific to the presenting venue with the following possible models.

A Standard Educational Engagement includes:

  • 2 weeks of Unlimited Educational Access for Schools (within 60 miles of Venue). 

  • A custom password protected link with full pre-recorded high quality video, hosted on Vimeo

  • Ability to add your venue’s logo and custom welcome greeting

  • Ability to add a presenter-recorded Curtain Speech video

  • A sample study guide (pdf)

  • Additional activities such as live online workshops, masterclasses, etc... available for separate fee with scheduling TBD mutually


For some shows, an Extended Educational Digital Engagement may also be available. This provides the same access and basic resources as a standard engagement but with 5 videos of 15-20ish minutes. The performance video is split into "chapters" PLUS additional resources created by the company. Perfect for viewing over multiple days or sessions and expanding the context or curriculum connections around the show.


A Public Family Engagement includes:

  • 1 weekend of Access for Public Audiences (within 60 miles of Venue)

  • A custom password protected link with full pre-recorded high quality video, hosted on Vimeo

  • Ability to add your venue’s logo to Vimeo Page

  • Customized Greeting from Company on Vimeo Page

  • Ability to add a presenter-recorded Curtain Speech video to Vimeo Page

  • A sample study guide (pdf)

  • Additional activities such as live online workshops, masterclasses, etc... available for separate fee with scheduling TBD mutually

Please talk to us if you are looking to serve both school and family audiences with this digital presentation and we can combine models for the appropriate access.

Artistic Team

Artistic Team

Written and Performed by Moses Goods

Based on the original staging produced by Honolulu Theatre for Youth
Created in collaboration with the Bishop Museum


Digital Production Team: Moses Goods, Chesley Cannon, Eric West
Directed by: Eric Johnson

Set/Lighting/Projection Design: Chesley Cannon
Costume Design: Lacy Rohlf
Sound Design: John Signor, Honybal Sosa & Sam Willis

Sound Engineer: Brett Fovargue
Vocalist: Starr Kalahiki
Sound Programmer: Matthew Mazzella
Technical Director: Eric West

Voice Actors: Eric Johnson, Junior Tesoro, Alvin Chan, Maile Holck, Christina Uyeno, Ryan Sueoka


Thanks to:
The Staff and Management at Bishop Museum, Sandy Hall, Desoto Brown, Barbara Makua, Michael Wilson, Ryan Sueoka, Jason Ellinwood, Brett Fovargue

Special Mahalo to the Cathedral of Saint Andrew for providing our home

We are delighted to partner with Malama Pono, Ltd. to introduce and share the Legacy of Duke Kahanamoku.

Malama Pono, Ltd. holds the Duke Kahanamoku trademark rights.

Critical Acclaim

Critical Acclaim

“Duke was great for my 5th grade class to see because it fit so well with our discussion of Hawaii and Alaska becoming our 49th and 50th States.  The performer did an amazing job capturing the students attention by weaving in and out of various characters - making the story very enjoyable, showing Duke's relationship to his family, his heritage, his home, and sharing it with the rest of the world. The performance was not very long, so it was able to hold the attention of all students. I was able to connect it to the large screen in our classroom and the kids felt like they were right there in the theater.” -Dawn Norton, 5th Grade Teacher, King's Schools. Palm Desert, CA.

About the Company

About the Company

Honolulu Theatre for Youth (HTY) produces professional theatre and drama education programs that make a difference in the lives of young people, families and educators in the state of Hawaii.

HTY believes that drama education and theatre are unique, socially-based education and art forms that help their participants and audiences walk in the shoes of others, allowing them to expand their imaginations, enrich their lives and discover the infinite possibilities in the world. HTY works towards a future for Hawaii in which people are culturally literate and imaginative, are critical thinkers and inventive problem solvers, with a respect for history and a sense of place in a complex world.

Founded in 1955, HTY is one of the oldest and most respected children’s theatres in the country. HTY has served over five million people through school and family performances and drama education programs. Over 300 new plays for young audiences have been commissioned by HTY.

HTY has used their talents in new ways during the Covid era and, with a partnership with NMG Network and Hawaii News Now, created a new type of children’s television program. Grounded in their geography and the many diverse cultures that make Hawaii special, the program is unlike anything currently available in children’s television and marks the beginning of a hybrid future for HTY as both theatre and digital media creator.  Check out  HTY's television show THE HI WAY as well as other information about the company and their work on their website here.

Moses Goods is one of Hawaii’s most prominent theatre artists.  Originally from the island of Maui and now based in Honolulu he has traveled nationally and internationally performing his original work to a wide range of audiences.  His body of work ranges from full length plays to theatrical storytelling pieces most of which are strongly rooted in Native Hawaiian culture. Learn more about his work here.

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