News Briefs | October 2021


OHA Mālama Loans for HHCA Beneficiaries

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) have begun a new partnership to inform Hawaiian Homes Commission Act beneficiaries about OHA’s Mālama Loans Program.

OHA Mālama Loans has provided Native Hawaiians with resources to achieve their financial goals for more than 30 years. The program offers low-interest loan products alongside dedicated financial consultants who provide technical assistance from the application process through full repayment.

Native Hawaiians may borrow up to $20,000 for educational needs or debt consolidation and up to $100,000 for a home improvement loan. OHA Mālama Loans also provides small business loans for Native Hawaiians who are beginning or expanding their businesses.

If an applicant does not qualify for a loan, staff members from OHA Mālama Loans will connect the individual or business owner with financial support resources to get them on an appropriate track to become a qualified borrower.

Lessees on Hawaiian Home Lands and Applicants on the DHHL Waiting List should expect to receive information in the mail about OHA Mālama Loans throughout the coming months.

OHA Mālama Loans are available to Native Hawaiians 18 years and older who are residents of the State of Hawaiʻi. Applicants will be required to provide financial documents and information during the application process.

For more information on how to apply, please visit

FestPAC Director Sought

The state commission responsible for the Festival of Pacific Arts (FestPAC) is recruiting for a Festival Director to oversee the planning, coordination, implementation, and execution of the world’s largest celebration of Indigenous Pacific Islanders.

Themed “Hoʻoulu Lāhui – Regenerating Oceania,” the 13th FestPAC is scheduled for June 6-16, 2024. This is the first time FestPAC will be hosted by Hawaiʻi.

FestPAC features live performances, cultural workshops, hands-on demonstrations, storytelling and more, including conversations on urgent issues affecting Pacific Island nations – from rising sea levels to social inequality.

FestPAC was launched by the South Pacific Commission (now The Pacific Community – SPC) in 1972 to halt the erosion of traditional practices through ongoing cultural exchange. Every four years since, it has been hosted by a different Pacific Island nation.

Originally scheduled for June 2020 in Honolulu, FestPAC was postponed as the COVID-19 pandemic grew – an early decision made out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of Hawaiʻi residents and visiting delegations. This 2024 date maintains the four-year cycle of festivals while maximizing the opportunity for delegations to participate as their own Pacific Island nations recover from the economic and social impacts of the pandemic.

To review the position description go to and to apply, submit your resume and cover letter to by noon on Oct. 5, 2021, HST.

ʻUaʻu Injured and Killed by Lights at Maui Grand Wailea

Photo: An ʻuaʻu glides over the ocean
An ʻuaʻu glides over the ocean. – Photo:
Bret Nainoa Mossman

Conservation groups represented by Earthjustice intend to sue the Maui Grand Wailea Resort for violating the Endangered Species Act if the hotel does not replace lights that are killing native seabirds.

Bright lights at the resort harm endangered Hawaiian petrels, or ʻuaʻu, by disorienting them as they navigate between breeding colonies and the ocean. Early October to late November is a critical time for adults to successfully return from the ocean to feed their chicks, and for fledging chicks to make their way out to sea.

The ʻuaʻu travels thousands of miles across the Pacific to forage for food but returns to Hawaiʻi to mate and lay eggs. In October and November, young ʻuaʻu leave their nests for the first time, departing after dark to locate the ocean. Once they leave, they won’t return for up to six years, when they’ll navigate back to their hatching site to breed. The largest ʻuaʻu nesting colony in Hawaiʻi is on the volcanic slips of Haleakalā.

ʻUaʻu are distracted by artificial lights on their way out to sea. Disoriented birds circle artificial lights until they fall to the ground from exhaustion. This leaves them extremely vulnerable to predators, starvation, or being run over by vehicles.

The Grand Wailea stands out among Maui hotels as being particularly harmful to ʻuaʻu. The Maui Nui Seabird Recovery Project has documented unauthorized harming or killing of ʻuaʻu at the Grand Wailea nearly every year since 2009.

Other resorts in Hawaiʻi have implemented responsible plans to protect imperiled seabirds from harmful lighting. “It is well beyond time for the Grand Wailea Resort to become a responsible neighbor and protect Hawaiʻi’s imperiled seabirds,” said Earthjustice attorney Leināʻala Ley. “Otherwise, we risk losing species that live nowhere else on earth.”

DOE Renames School to Honor Keʻelikōlani

Last month, Hawaiʻi’s Board of Education approved a name change for Central Middle School. The school’s new name is Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani Middle School, to honor Princess Ruth, whose Honolulu home, Keōua Hale, once stood on the grounds of the campus.

The effort to change the school’s name was initiated in 2019 by the Central Middle School community under the leadership of Principal Joseph Passantino and with the support of the Department of Education.

Upon her passing in 1883, the entirety of Princess Ruth’s property (over 350,000 acres) was bequeathed to Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, founder of the Kamehameha Schools.

Princess Pauahi passed away just one year later, in 1884, and shortly afterwards the Kingdom’s Board of Education purchased the Keōua Hale property and converted it into a high school (Honolulu High School), which was in operation through 1907.

It then became Central Grammar School.

The name of the school was briefly changed to Keʻelikōlani School, however, because the name was difficult for some Americans to pronounce, the school name reverted back to “Central” – Central Grammar School, then Central Junior High School, Central Intermediate School and finally in 1997, Central Middle School.

In 1994, the campus buildings were placed on the Hawaiʻi Register of Historic Places and to this day, one campus building still displays the name “Keʻelikōlani School.”

Kawaʻa Takes First Place in Falsetto Contest

Photo: Kamaʻehu Kawaʻa
E ho’omaika’i to Kama’ehu Kawa’a, winner of the Richard Ho’opi’i Leo Ki’eki’e Falsetto Contest.- Photo: Courtesy

Singer Kamaʻehu Kawaʻa from Waiehu, Maui, took top honors at the 19th annual Richard Hoʻopiʻi Leo Kiʻekiʻe Falsetto Contest on September 18. The 2020 competition was cancelled as a result of the pandemic, and, due to ongoing health and safety concerns, the 2021 competition was live-streamed on Facebook from the Ritz-Carlton at Kapalua, Maui.

Kawaʻa, a member of Nā Wai ʻEhā, competed with an original song called “Pulelehua” (butterfly) that he wrote for his wife, Madi. He also won the Hawaiian Language Award and the Sheldon Keahiawakea Brown Music Award.

Any falsetto singer who has not already recorded a solo album is eligible to compete.

The competition was created to provide a platform for preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiʻi’s distinctive falsetto tradition.

It is named in honor of the late renowned falsetto singer Richard Hoʻopiʻi. Hoʻopiʻi and his older brother, Solomon, performed as the Hoʻopiʻi Brothers, winning the 1997 Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award for Group of the Year. They were also recognized with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts. The Hoʻopiʻi Brothers’ final album together was Hoʻomau: To Perpetuate.

In second place was Micah Manzano from Maui, and in third place was Kaliko Pascua from Kauaʻi. Contest judges were Cody Pueo Pata (Head Judge), Kuulei Alcomindras-Palakiko and Joshua Noeau Kalima (ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Judges), and Iwalani Hoomanawanui Apo and Carlson Kamaka Kukona, III (Music Judges).

Hawaiʻi Organization Among 10 Finalists in Global Challenge to Address Racism

Photo: Kawailoa Program Participants
Kawailoa: A Transformative Indigenous Model to Replace Youth Incarceration” project has emerged as a finalist in an international competition. – Photo: Jason Lees

A project in Kailua, Oʻahu, to replace youth incarceration led by Partners in Development Foundation (PIDF) is among 10 finalists for the Racial Equity 2030 Challenge, a call for solutions to drive an equitable future for children, families and communities across the globe.

An initiative of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Challenge is awarding $90 million to help build and scale actionable ideas for transformative change in the systems and institutions that uphold racial inequities.

The “Kawailoa: A Transformative Indigenous Model to Replace Youth Incarceration” project replaces youth incarceration with a Native Hawaiian restorative system that empowers communities, trains youth healers, and shifts resources to community-driven and culturally grounded puʻuhonua.

It’s led by a cohort of state and national agencies, including lead fiscal sponsor PIDF and community partners Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center, the Hawaiʻi Youth Correctional Facility, Hale Kipa, Kinai ʻEha, Olomana School, RYSE, UCLA Asian American Studies Center, UH John A. Burn School of Medicine, Kamehameha Schools, and Liliʻuokalani Trust. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also assisted with the submission of this winning application.

The Challenge received applications from 72 countries. The review process took five months and was based on four criteria – the degree to which the projects were game changing, equitable, bold and achievable.

Each of the 10 finalists will receive a one-year $1 million planning grant. Two awardees will each receive $10 million grants, and three will each receive $20 million grants. The awards will be announced in the summer of 2022.