By Kawai Kapuni and Max Bielawski
Hui Kālaiʻāina is a student club at the Kamehameha Schools Maui Campus.
Led by senior Kawai Kapuni and longtime teacher and advocate Kapulani Antonio, the club is a means of giving young people the opportunity to become civically engaged.
The club’s mission is based on aloha ʻāina, mālama, and kuleana, which all unite to fight for one common cause: cultivating communities across Hawaiʻi in order to motivate and inspire young individuals to become leaders. Specifically, Hui Kālaiʻāina recognizes the many unique challenges Hawaiʻi faces that require unique solutions.
Group members find their voice in Hui Kālaiʻāina, share and exchange fresh perspectives, and gain valuable experience.
Kawai Kapuni, president of Hui Kālaiʻāina, speaks on behalf of the club saying, “Our Hawaiian heritage, as well as our determination to lead, inspire, and advocate, will break the continuous cycle of negative impact that the people of Hawaiʻi have faced. Our club is a pillar of change, but we are definitely not alone in this movement.”
Logan English, Hui Kālaiʻāina vice-president adds, “More and more young people across Hawaiʻi are becoming politically active. They are able to discover their personal views and stances, which is crucial.”
“As youth of Hawaiʻi Nei, it is our responsibility to be the future of our communities, pae ʻāina, and the world. In order for things to change, we need to work inclusively with each other,” said junior Moani Atay.
KS Maui Senior Class President Lauren Kalama and student journalist Max Bielawski both share a common idea around the importance of engagement and advocacy.
“In times like these, I find it so important to let ʻōpio be heard because we can bring something fresh to the table,” Kalama said.
In addition to recognizing the voice of our youth, Bielawski said, “It is equally important that we respect the manaʻo from our küpuna and accept constructive criticism to sharpen the spears of knowledge that we ʻōpio possess.”
Senior club member, Sierra Kalua, said she believes that our ancestors are the foundation to kickstarting a sustainable future for Hawaiʻi. “They faced trial after trial to provide for our generation, and it’s important that we embrace this so that we may cultivate the future they envisioned.”
Members Sofia Stupplebeen and Māhie Dean both said that they believed that their voices are tools which they can wield with the intent of advancing themselves as Kānaka and changing the world.
The voices of ʻōpio have always been a valuable part of any movement, and for us to truly “move” we must be able to hear, recognize, and consider the opinions and ideas of young people. It starts with one step and, at times, we will need to overcome multiple obstacles.
On behalf of Hui Kālaiʻāina, remember to be the person who takes the next step, because we’re going to need a whole lot of them.
Kawai Kapuni is a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui and president of Hui Kālaiʻāina. Co-author, Max Bielawski, is a senior at Kamehameha Schools Maui and an editor for Kamehameha Maui’s Nā Koa magazine.