Tiny House, Big Island: After the Viewing of Tiny House Nation

The Holy Women Icons Project was recently featured on the television show Tiny House Nation! To watch the entire episode, check it out here (we're episode 13).

We are profoundly grateful for the opportunity to partner with THN to build our family’s home, and we’re eager to apply for grants and find funding to continue creating our non-profit retreat center. Hear this clearly. The people we worked with on THN were kind, respectful, and fun. Everyone was very understanding when our entire family got a stomach bug while filming and had to run off camera to puke. They responded to any concerns we had with understanding. Overall, it was a positive experience, and we’re tremendously thankful that we had a small (highly edited) opportunity to share about the Holy Women Icons Project and intersectional ecofeminism with 5 million viewers.

However, with production and editing entirely out of our control, there were elements of the final show that were disappointing because the work of some important people was excluded. The concept of pono is very important in Hawai’i. Though it’s typically translated as “righteous,” pono carries with it the connotation of living in harmonious balance with others. While the goal of production is to produce a television show and get ratings, we realized upon seeing the episode that “show business” is not pono in a couple of important ways. Obviously, a lot of filming is edited out of the final product and we, as homeowners, had absolutely no control over that. However, two very important people were left out in ways that really weren’t pono. 

A generous and talented artist, Ingrid Frégeau, created beautiful pottery for our family. More importantly, she welcomed us and the entire film crew into her studio for several hours of filming. Following filming and pottery instruction, she graciously invited everyone into her home with delicious home-made pie and wine. Ingrid shared the hospitality, generosity, and aloha Hawai’i is known for, and somehow none of her work showed up in the episode. While THN did not break a contract, excluding her hospitality, creativity, and kindness wasn’t pono. We remain grateful to Ingrid for her beautiful work and gracious spirit.

Also excluded were an incredibly talented group of hula dancers led by kumu Pelehonuamea Harman. Production surprised us during an afternoon of filming with a moving hula dance and oli (chant); witnessing this sacred dance and chant was incredibly meaningful. It was also a generous gift for all of the dancers to travel and share so much of their time with us. None of this, however, made it into the final episode. The fact that these Hawaiian voices, dances, and stories are such an integral part of Hawaiian culture, but were not included in the actual television show is not pono. We remain deeply grateful to kumu Pelehonuamea Harman for her generosity, and to all of her dancers who shared their time, talents, and culture with us.

While the Holy Women Icons Project is grateful for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of filming with Tiny House Nation, we believe it was unfair and unkind to exclude these artists who shared their gifts with us so graciously. What THN shared with us—as a family and a non-profit—was truly a gift. The fact that the gifts of artists and kānaka maoli didn’t make it into the final episode, however, is not pono. In order to live in harmonious balance with others, it is imperative to honor their gifts, and the gifts of Ingrid Frégeau and kumu Pelehonuamea Harman should have been given credit in the episode.

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