Hoʻāmana: Igniting the Mana of our Kamaliʻi

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Photo: Leialoha Benson

Photo: Nikki Roimata Mozo

By Leialoha Benson and Nikki Roimata Mozo

Hoʻāmana means to turn on, to ignite mana. Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) has created the Hoʻāmana program to help kamaliʻi realize, ignite, and grow their mana.

Hoʻāmana is anchored in the belief that all kamaliʻi possess strengths, promise, and the potential to flourish. Helping Native Hawaiian youth feel grounded in who they are and where they come from, and understand the relationships and connections between themselves, others, and the world provides them with a core foundation they need to grow into thriving, contributing adults.

We support kamaliʻi in their journey to ea (life, breath, self-determination) by engaging in the process of awakening the spiritual self to understand pilina (relationship) and kuleana. It is a belief that pono is inherent in every person and is a light that emanates from one’s mana. Igniting this mana produces the power and goodness of every person to realize their greatest potential and joy.

This cultural, spiritual, and relationship-based approach centers around engaging youth in skill-building and reflective practices. These skills and practices help kamaliʻi move from a place of hurt to healing, and from healing to personal growth.

Hoʻāmana

Hoʻāmana integrates traditional Hawaiian practices and values with the tenets of trauma-informed care and positive youth development. In the program, kamaliʻi embrace a growth mindset, reframe their past, and develop their future selves. Their vision and goals evolve, giving them motivation and hope, which positively impacts their current decisions and behaviors.

When hope is seeded, and identity and confidence strengthened, the individual and collective mana of our youth expands. They are the leaders who will connect the current generation to our ancestors and will help to guide future generations. As exemplified by our aliʻi, one must look to the past to positively impact our future.

Queen Liliʻuokalani was constantly championing opportunities and presentations of youth educational, creative, and community efforts. She was steadfast in her commitment to aid youth toward educational pursuits, often paying for lodging and tuition costs. She could be found serving as a guest judge at a variety of youth performing arts hōʻike. The Queen also believed in youth skill-building and contribution to their community, as she was an initial sponsor of the Girl Scouts program in Hawaiʻi. The Hoʻāmana program continues the commitment of Queen Liliʻuokalani by coaching kamaliʻi on their path to ea.


Leialoha Benson and Nikki Roimata Mozo work with Liliʻuokalani Trust (LT) as members of the Program Design team. Both have their foundations in social work and endeavor to support programs to positively impact all kamaliʻi. In addition to moving forward the work of LT, Leialoha is influencing the next generation of social workers by serving as a School of Social Work adjunct professor at BYU-Hawaiʻi. Roimata has been influential as a Life Coach focusing on transforming trauma, especially for those who have experienced grief and loss. She produced the documentary, “Transcend: The Jon Mozo Story.”