The University of Hawai`i at Manoa School of Social Work came into being in 1936. The first four decades were devoted to establishing the school’s foundation and national accreditation. In the 1970s, despite acute awareness of the needs of culturally diverse Hawaiian communities and a commitment to locally relevant social work practice, the school remained focused on Western service paradigms and developed its national and international reputation for expertise in inter alia empirical clinical practice (Fischer, 1973, 1976, 1978), sexual health (Gochros and Fischer, 1980; Mokuau, 1986) and community development (Sanders, 1982; Sanders and Fischer, 1988; Sanders and Matsuoka, 1989). By the 1990s, the importance of culturally relevant social work practice (Blaisdell and Mokuau, 1991; Fong and Mokuau, 1994; Matsuoka, 1991; Mokuau, 1995; Mokuau and Chang, 1991; Takeuchi, Mokuau and Chun, 1992; Untalan, 1991) and ageing and women’s issues (Braun and Browne, 1997; Browne, Fong and Mokuau, 1994) were expressly part of the curriculum’s focus, remaining, however, within the context of Western models of social work practice.