Eia Hawaiʻi, ka Huina o ke Ao

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“We are a sea of islands, not separated by ocean, but connected by it.” – Epeli Hauʻofa.

Our connections give birth to something reimagined, and often, something new. We thrive on these opportunities that carry us to a brighter future. A Hawaiʻi reimagined. A Hawaiʻi at the crossroads of the world.

This is Ka Huina, the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association’s annual cultural education conference that explores the nexus – the hu-ina – of community, culture, tourism and sustainability. These are four distinct pillars leaning upon one another for support, ultimately bringing foundation and structure to our goals for a regenerative tourism future. How they intersect, how they depend on each other, how they allow us to reimagine our future – these are the opportunities Ka Huina seeks to uncover and celebrate.

Community: Our community is a diverse and integrated system of pilina (relationships). It is founded upon the values of Native Hawaiian culture and the countless generations of Kānaka ʻŌiwi who have come before us and who thrived in the most isolated landmass in the world. How do we honor our community and our unique cultural contributions at these intersections?

Ka Huina: Tradition Innovation

Culture: Our culture consists of our collective values that we determine to be integral to our identity. Our kuleana is defined by our unique cultural contribution to a global community. Many will call this contribution “aloha,” and while I do not disagree that aloha is the bedrock of our culture, I also challenge us to consider how we honor aloha and how we act on that honor.

Tourism: While the pandemic has necessitated a pivot towards other sources of economic sustenance, our tourism model is still a driving force of Hawaiʻi’s economy. We cannot forget, however, that hoʻokipa – our unique hospitality – is a value integrated into our way of life. How do we hold ourselves and our malihini (guests) accountable to bring balance in shaping a responsible economy?

Sustainability: Our sustainability will result from a collaboration between community, culture and a responsible economy. With each pillar supporting each other, we affect the conditions for life to flourish. Net positive solutions for Hawaiʻi are part of the goals of a regenerative model. Failing to reach this goal is at stake, which makes opportunities to convene, discuss, and plan all the more critical. How can sustainable examples in Hawaiʻi offer solutions toward a more net positive global existence?

In the forward of Waikīkī 100 B.C. to 1900 A.D., Dr. George Kanahele writes, “May you enjoy the look back into the future.” The evolution of a future regenerative Hawaiʻi is rooted in the concepts and values of the past. Through this huina – this intersection where values of the past are brought into the present, this is the space in which we must operate. For Hawaiʻi and beyond.

Join us for Ka Huina 2022 as we gather to leverage our connections. For more information, including a recap of last year’s virtual conference, visit nahha.com/kahuina.