Sam Kalanikupua King


Photo: Sam King

At-Large candidate

  • Age | 38
  • Occupation | Attorney
  • Where did you grow up | Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu
  • Schooling | Punahou, William S. Richardson School of Law, Georgetown University
  • Current residence | Nuʻuanu, Oʻahu
  • Website |
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How are you currently serving (or have served) the lāhui? Please list the Native Hawaiian-serving organizations you are (or have been) affiliated with, the duration of your involvement, and your role/activities within those organizations.
Please provide an example of your community work to implement a project, initiative, grant or program. Please include your specific role and the outcomes for the community.
Please provide an example of your experience working collaboratively with other professionals to establish policies.
How and with whom can OHA collaborate to address and strengthen the economic stability of our lāhui?
How and with whom can OHA collaborate to address the related issues of affordable housing and houselessness in the Native Hawaiian community?
  1. In 2019 I founded ʻOhana Kilo Hōkū (OKH) with the late Hōkūleʻa navigator and captain Kālepa Baybayan and Native Hawaiian astrophysicist Mailani Neal. OKH supports astronomy and space programs in Hawaiʻi and is on a mission to cultivate, nurture and support the advancement of youths in our communities who have the desire to connect, or who may already have a connection, to the science of the skies above. It is one of the greatest honors of my life to serve as the executive director of OKH and, with Kālepa’s passing, it is now my kuleana to help continue the work he started.
    OKH has launched a number of incredible initiatives, all of which I have been heavily involved with from marketing, fundraising, event coordination, and overall administration. We partnered with UC Santa Cruz to record and upload their “Shadow the Scientist” sessions for public viewing. This program allows members of the community to interact with scientists while they use the telescopes on Maunakea and elsewhere live over zoom. OKH held a workshop with educators and our Native Hawaiian astronomy and space science mentors to learn about what tools educators need to get their students excited about STEM projects. In December 2021 we held the first annual Makahiki Stargazing event where we invited the community to enjoy makahiki games, stargazing and space sciences. OKH is now running the ʻOhana Stargazing series where we invite families to enjoy international and Hawaiian star stories, view the sky through telescopes, and meet other Native Hawaiian and community groups engaged in stargazing and space sciences. Our first event was in Waimānalo and our second was at SALT in Kakaʻako.
  2. I became involved with Imua TMT in 2019 to advocate for perpetuating our cultural legacy of astronomy, celestial navigation and natural observation through the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Maunakea. I helped found the ʻAi Noa Foundation in 2021 to protect Native Hawaiians’ rights to democracy, equality before the law, and religious freedom.
  3. As a board member of OKH, a 501c3 nonprofit, I regularly work with my fellow board members to establish policies for managing our organization and events. In my work as an in-house attorney handling vendor contracts and leasing for a large local health insurer, I regularly collaborate with colleagues on developing policies and procedures for protecting our members and maximizing our efficiency. As president of my AOAO I am regularly working with my fellow board members, managing executive, attorney, and resident manager to develop policies for our building.
  4. OHA must seek to work with everyone in the state to improve the conditions of Native Hawaiians and all the people of Hawaiʻi. What is good for Native Hawaiians is good for the state, and vice versa. I would like OHA to coordinate with the state’s Executive Office on Early Learning, the DOE, preschools, Kamehameha Schools (KS), and our ʻohana-serving nonprofit communities to see how OHA could more effectively assist in developing early childhood education programs for our lāhui. OHA should also collaborate with our major landowning aliʻi trusts, our development community, DHHL, and state and local governments, to advocate for more housing for all the people of Hawaiʻi. Houselessness is a housing problem, and only by building more houses, for all our people, will we resolve the houseless crisis in our lāhui. OHA should also partner with KS, the City and County of Honolulu, Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority, the legislature, and the people of Kakaʻako to create a plan to redevelop Kakaʻako Makai in a way that benefits the people of Hawaiʻi and helps generate additional non-tax revenue for OHA.
  5. Finally, OHA should seek to work with supporters and opponents of the TMT project to find a way to heal the community rift over this project and move it forward so that we may continue to perpetuate our culture of celestial observation through our incredible low-carbon, low-impact, high-value astronomy industry.

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