Native Hawaiian Organizations Partner to Study Wellbeing in Hawaiʻi


The ʻImi Pono Wellbeing Survey offers new insights on community resilience during the pandemic

Kamehameha Schools, Liliʻuokalani Trust, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and Papa Ola Lōkahi will partner for a comprehensive, statewide study of wellbeing in Hawaiʻi. The findings will inform organizational planning and improve community services for Native Hawaiians.

Data collection for the 2022 ʻImi Pono Hawaiʻi Wellbeing Survey began on February 22 and will build on results from the partnership’s 2021 research. The latest findings from 2021 show that close family and neighbor relationships, a strong sense of place, connections to environment, high levels of civic engagement, and spirituality are key factors to community resilience in Hawaiʻi. However, uneven access to education and digital connectivity remain serious threats.

Those findings, along with ʻImi Pono briefs focused on COVID-19 Impacts, Strengths and Challenges to Native Hawaiian Wellbeing and ʻŌiwi Leadership are available online, accompanied by a dashboard with results for all survey questions, at:

“From a Native Hawaiian perspective, resilience stems from the interdependence of Akua (God, gods), kānaka (people), and ʻāina (natural environment). When these relationships are in balance, communities often withstand or rebound from extreme challenges,” said Principal Strategist Dr. Brandon Ledward of Kamehameha Schools’ Strategy and Transformation Group.

“Hawaiʻi has many strengths when it comes to resilience, however, we also face real challenges. The inability of some Hawaiʻi households to access reliable, high-speed internet for learning, healthcare, or employment reduces human and financial capital. We know from prior studies that Native Hawaiians, rural residents, and economically disadvantaged groups are especially vulnerable to educational and digital connectivity gaps.”

Hawaiʻi residents, 18 years or older, can take the survey at The survey will close when research quotas are achieved. But the ʻImi Pono partnership offers more than data.

“Kamehameha Schools, Liliʻuokalani Trust, Papa Ola Lōkahi and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs have their respective missions, visions, and focus, however, all four organizations desire the same outcome – to empower and strengthen our people and to build resilient, thriving communities,” said OHA Research Director Dr. Lisa Watkins-Victorino.

“Collaborating on the ʻImi Pono Survey allows us to leverage our resources and ʻike to meet our individual organizational needs as well as our collective desire to expand how we measure wellbeing from a Native Hawaiian perspective.”

“At Liliʻuokalani Trust, we have a deep commitment to making decisions that are aligned with the mission entrusted to us by our Mōʻī Wahine. We understand that the path to break the cycle of poverty and restore abundance for Native Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi must be based on our strengths with a clear-eyed view of our past and where we stand today. The survey is a way for us to engage with communities in order to create more just and equitable systems,” said Dr. Kathy Tibbetts, Director of Research and Evaluation for Liliʻuokalani Trust.

“Papa Ola Lōkahi is excited to join the ʻImi Pono partnership this year because we know that health and wellbeing are critical factors in the lives of Native Hawaiians. We’re very grateful for insights the community is sharing with us that will inform our services to ʻohana and communities,” said Tercia Ku, Research and Data Coordinator at Papa Ola Lōkahi.