Momoe aku i mua. Pono no kākou e kūlia i ka kākou hana poʻokela.
Move ahead with determination. We must strive to do our best work. -ʻŌlelo Noʻeau
With an overall goal of bringing vision and execution together through effective strategy, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs invites readers to review “Mana i Mauli Ola (Strength to Wellbeing),” the organization’s new strategic plan through 2035.
Based on community input and approved by trustees in September 2020, the plan features three foundational areas of focus: ʻOhana (family), Moʻomeheu (culture), and ʻĀina (land and water). These foundations represent traditional strengths, or mana, of Native Hawaiian communities. OHA aims to build upon these community strengths to move the lāhui toward positive change in areas where Native Hawaiians face barriers and disparities.
Beyond that overall lens, OHA is responding to community manaʻo by establishing four strategic directions that are key to impacting lāhui wellbeing: Educational Pathways, Economic Stability, Quality Housing and Health Outcomes.
By using ʻohana, moʻomeheu, and ʻāina-based approaches within these areas where Native Hawaiians face challenges, OHA will support the movement of the lāhui toward mauli ola, or total wellbeing, in education, economic stability, housing, and health.
Other plan highlights include an increased focus on addressing system level change by advancing policies, programs and practices in targeted areas of need, and a greater emphasis on specific community partnerships.
Another key aspect to the plan is that OHA will be implementing three-year, data-driven check-ins to monitor plan progress, something that the organization has not done before.
“As we have heard from our community, and learned from experiencing COVID-19, OHA needs to be more responsive to rapidly change contexts. Therefore, this plan builds in reflection and pivot points every three years,” said Carla Hostetter, director of OHA’s Systems Office.
OHA Ka Pou Nui/Chief Operating Officer Casey Brown agrees.
“Monitoring of progress has happened at OHA before, but what I’m excited about with this new plan is that we will be incorporating more data to drive decisions. This will allow OHA to be more adaptive and strengthen our ability to course correct,” Brown said.
“This is something we all believe in, and we know that organizations that don’t refocus themselves regularly to become more adaptive are going to fall behind.”
OHA’s vision statement, which was reaffirmed by trustees as part of the strategic planning process, is “Hoʻulu Lāhui Aloha – To Raise a Beloved Lāhui.” The statement blends the thoughts and leadership of both King Kalākaua and his sister, Queen Liliʻuokalani.
Both faced tumultuous times – as we do today – and met their challenges head on. “Hoʻoulu Lāhui” was King Kalākaua’s motto. “Aloha” expresses the high values of Queen Liliʻuokalani.
OHA Ka Pouhana/Chief Executive Officer Dr. Sylvia Hussey said she is ready to build upon the organizational accomplishments of the past and achieve the vision that has been set forth for the future.
“We want this organization to be the best that it can possibly be, because that’s the kind of agency our beneficiaries and lāhui deserve,” she said.
“Raising an abundant and thriving lāhui is at the heart of what we do. We carry with us the wisdom of our ancestors, the potential of our youth and the willingness of our community collaborators to unite and serve our people. By uplifting Hawaiians, we can make Hawaiʻi a better place for all who live here.”
Look for a series of articles in Ka Wai Ola over the next several months that will detail the specific goals and objectives of Mana i Mauli Ola.