Photo: DHHL Puu Opae
Puʻu Opae

Virtual Self-Care Series to Reduce COVID-19 Stress

WYAO Hawaiʻi, a corporate wellness company, is offering a three-part virtual wellness series beginning in September.

The first event, on September 22nd, will focus on Healthy Aging. The second event, on September 29th will focus on Healthy Minds and the third event in the series, on October 6th, will focus on Supporting and Celebrating Family Caregivers.

Each event will begin at 10 AM and will last 20 minutes, including a 15 minute “Healthy Byte of Education” followed by 5-10 minutes of a simple activity or a community resource. The events are open to anyone. Nominal fees will be charged. To register visit

Catholic Charities Assists Kūpuna with Benefits Enrollment

To assist kūpuna affected economically by COVID-19, Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi (CCH) has created a Benefits Enrollment Center to help obtain long-term care solutions for food security and other services needed by our kūpuna.

CCH’s Benefits Enrollment Center (BEC) helps kūpuna (65+) apply for benefits and any assistive services they may be eligible for to ensure that they have access to resources they need to maintain their health and independence. This includes assistance in applying for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) services which provides older adults with limited incomes access to healthy food. Many kūpuna have not been utilizing this program due to the complex and lengthy application process.

In addition to SNAP, CCH’s Benefits Enrollment Center staff can also help kūpuna apply for Medicaid, Medicare Savings Program (MSP), Medicare Extra Help/Low Income Subsidy (LIS), and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).

For more information contact Catholic Charities Hawaiʻi’s Senior Help Line at (808) 527-4777. The BEC program is funded through a grant from the National Council on Aging (NCOA).

Three ʻŌiwi Among the Latest Cohort of Omidyar Fellows

The Hawaiʻi Leadership Forum announced the names of the 16 local leaders who are joining the eighth cohort of its Omidyar Fellows program. The cohort includes three Native Hawaiians: Sheila-Anne Ebert, Director of Management & Operations at Alexander & Baldwin; Diane Paloma, CEO of King Lunalilo Trust and Lunalilo Home; and Wren Wescoatt, Principal at 7 Generation Consulting. Cohort VIII begins its 15-month curriculum in October 2020.

The prestigious Omidyar Fellows program seeks to cultivate the conditions in which Hawaiʻi thrives by equipping leaders with the skills and cross-sector relationships necessary to collectively affect societal change. Individuals were selected through a rigorous application process, based on their accomplishments, motivation, and ability to make positive change in Hawaiʻi.

The program launched in 2012 with 13 Fellows. The addition of Cohort VIII marks the program crossing the 100-Fellow milestone with a total of 115 Fellows.

Mann to Head Planning & Development for KS Commercial Real Estate

Photo: Calvin Mann

Kamehameha Schools (KS) has selected Calvin Mann as director of planning and development for the organization’s Commercial Real Estate Division (CRED) portfolios.

Mann will oversee the planning and development of commercial and residential projects on KS land in Hawaiʻi Kai and Waiawa. Stewardship of these lands supports the organization’s mission of uplifting the lāhui and communities across the state.

With over 25 years of real estate experience, Mann has extensive project management experience in real estate development, including large military, federal, state and county projects. The 1986 KS Kapālama graduate has a bachelor’s degree from San Diego State University and master’s degree in business administration from Hawaiʻi Pacific University.

HFI awarded Grant to Grow Native Hawaiian Urban Forest

Photo: Koʻokoʻolau
The Hawaiʻi Forest Institute (HFI) has been awarded a grant to encourage residents and businesses to grow Native Hawaiian and Polynesian-introduced (“canoe”) plants and to increase awareness of the value and benefits of native plants and trees. The grant is funded by the Kaulunani Urban and Community Forestry Program of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife; and State and Private Forestry branch of the USDA Forest Service, Region 5.

Dubbed “Go Native: Growing a Native Hawaiian Urban Forest,” the project will promote growing Native Hawaiian plants by creating a series of videos and a quick reference guide to enable gardeners, landscapers, and others to identify the native plants most suitable to their climate zone, personal tastes and gardening experience.

Hawaiʻi’s forests have been severely impacted by invasive plants and development. Only 40% of mesic forest remains, and 95% of Hawaiʻi’s dryland forests have been destroyed. Nearly 10% of the state’s 1,360 native plant species are already extinct and another 236 species are endangered.

“The ultimate goal is to strengthen island-wide ecosystems by preserving forests and creating wildlife corridors and habitat for native invertebrates, birds and bats,” says Travis Idol, President of HFI and Professor of Tropical Forestry and Agroforestry at UH Mānoa.

HFI hopes that if enough urban residents and businesses grow native plants suited to their climate zones and nearby existing forests, a network of interconnected “islands” of native forest could emerge. While imperfect compared to the original forests, this could help increase the resilience of existing forests by preserving the full complement of genetic variation within plant and animal species.

ʻIolani Palace Receives $290,000 From HTA

The Friends of ʻIolani Palace received $290,000 in funding from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority (HTA) to help repair and restore the iconic pavilion built for King Kalākaua’s 1883 coronation ceremony, as well as to remove several beehives within the exterior façade of the royal residence.

“Maintaining the structural integrity of ʻIolani Palace and its surrounding buildings is a huge undertaking, and we appreciate the support from the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority,” said Paula Akana, Executive Director of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace.

The bee removal process began on Monday, August 10, 2020, and both projects are anticipated to be completed by early October. Tours will not be impacted during the work and the Palace grounds will be open as scheduled.

The projects are being supported by HTA’s Hawaiian Culture initiative, which is one of four strategic pillars focused on strengthening the uniqueness and integrity of the Native Hawaiian culture and community through genuine experiences for both residents and visitors.

Aquarium Trade EIS Rejected: Ban on Collecting Reef Fish Extended

The State of Hawaiʻi Environmental Council unanimously affirmed the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ rejection of an environmental impact statement (EIS) aimed at reopening the aquarium pet trade in West Hawaiʻi. The Council’s decision extends the moratorium on commercial aquarium collection along the Kona Coast.

“This is a huge win for me and my family, and for our way of life,” said Miloliʻi fisherman Willie Kaupiko, who has been fighting for over 30 years to protect West Hawaiʻi reefs from the damaging effects of the aquarium trade.

The Land Board’s May 22 decision was a major milestone in a legal battle that started in 2012.

The Board concluded that the EIS failed to paint a true picture of the environmental harm of commercial aquarium collection. Board members noted a troubling lack of information about the ecological effects of removing fish in mass quantities from an already fragile reef ecosystem, and a failure to seriously consider the cultural impacts of the trade.

“Extracting Hawaiʻi’s reef wildlife for the private pet industry is fundamentally at odds with Hawaiian culture, traditions, and religious practices,” said Kealoha Pisciotta, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner and founder of Kai Palaoa.

Although the Board’s decision extends the moratorium on aquarium collection in West Hawaiʻi, the state continues to allow the industry to extract fish in East Hawaiʻi and elsewhere throughout the state. This has prompted reef advocates, represented by Earthjustice, to file a parallel lawsuit which is pending before the Hawaiʻi Environmental Court.

DHHL Rental Assistance Program Extended

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has extended its COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program to help qualified native Hawaiian beneficiaries with rental assistance for a period of up to twelve months.

The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) approved the extension of aid from six to 12 months at its August board meeting. In June, HHC also approved the program’s expansion to include Undivided Interest Lessees (UI).

“As necessary COVID-19 safety restrictions are imposed, there will be continued financial strain throughout our community,” said HHC Chairman William J. Ailā, Jr. “Dozens of families have already been helped by this program and it only makes sense to extend our assistance in light of the ongoing pandemic.”

Those interested in learning more should call AUW at 2-1-1. For more information on COVID-19 impacts on DHHL activities, visit

Innovative Indigenous Voter Registration Campaign

With COVID-19 taking a disproportionate toll on U.S. and Tribal Nations, Seeding Sovereignty, an Indigenous, female-led collective, has created an online voter registration campaign, Radicalize the Vote, in an effort to inspire Indigenous people in America to register to vote in the November General Election.

At the center of the campaign is a website, where the organization hopes to build a centralized Indigenous voter registration list. To promote this, they hosted a 12-hour online telethon on August 29th moderated by Indigenous hosts nationwide.

Organizers believe the campaign has the ability to make historic change. Resistance is a major aspect of the Indigenous lived experience and a huge motivator for political engagement. Beyond merely influencing the 2020 election, organizers assert that Indigenous voter turnout has the potential to shift political engagement in the country for years to come.

“We must Indigenize Congress and implement better systems; Systems for true sovereignty, systems for reconciliation and systems for an Indigenous-led regenerative economy that goes way beyond the Green New Deal,” said Sikowis, Seeding Sovereignty SHIFT Director of the Plains Cree/Saulteaux.

“The decisions we make today will set the standard for how Native people are represented going forward,” said Lycia Maddocks, Vice President of External Affairs for the National Congress of American Indians. “We must express the diversity, strength and resilience that we have and ensure that we take the lead on creating what the future looks like for the next Seven Generations.”

Interested in Farming on Kauaʻi?

GoFarm Hawaiʻi is offering an informational webinar for Kauaʻi residents interested in learning more about farming and farmer training opportunities.

The webinar is called AgCurious, and will be presented on Thursday, September 10th, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. online via Zoom.

For more information or to register, go to:

DHHL Publishes Final EA on Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead Settlement

Photo: DHHL Puu Opae
Puʻu Opae

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has published its Final Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead Settlement in Waimea, Kauaʻi. 

The Hawaiian Homes Commission accepted the Final EA at its July 2020 meeting and the EA has been published with the Office of Environmental Quality Control.

A review of the significant criteria outlined on the development of the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan Area has been determined to not result in significant adverse effects on the natural or human environment.

The Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan focuses on the development of a Kuleana Homestead on the ma uka Waimea lands of Kauaʻi. The project area consists of approximately 1,421 acres.

The Kuleana Homestead Program provides opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-determination, as such, raw land will be offered to beneficiaries to live on, grow food to sustain their family, and utilize for economic purposes.