Reversing the Diaspora Requires Bold Solutions and Collective Commitment

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Photo: Stacy Ferreira

Aloha mai kākou e ka lāhui Hawaiʻi,

It is with immense joy and a profound sense of responsibility that I extend my warmest greetings to you as I embark on this journey as Ka Pouhana (CEO), entrusted with the honor of leading the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Working alongside our esteemed Board of Trustees and OHA’s dedicated staff, I am filled with excitement for the collective effort we will invest in building a thriving lāhui for Kānaka ʻŌiwi throughout our pae ʻāina.

As we stand at the threshold of the fourth year of Mana i Mauli Ola, OHA’s strategic plan, the wellbeing of our people is at the forefront of our endeavors.

The upcoming period holds the promise of addressing pressing issues such as education, healthcare, quality housing, and economic stability here in our beloved Hawaiʻi Nei. Our commitment is unwavering: to ensure a Hawaiʻi where our ʻohana can remain connected to our ancestral home for generations to come. For those who have moved away, we aspire to create a Hawaiʻi you can once again call home with pride and belonging.

The Hawaiian diaspora casts a shadow over our communities, urging us to confront this challenge with urgency and innovation.

Personally, as a makua and kupuna wahine with two daughters residing on the continent, I understand the heartache that distance can bring. My moʻopuna, Kapouhiwaokalani and Kānehoalani, are growing up over FaceTime, the first in our ʻohana born outside of Hawaiʻi.

Their desire to return is met with the harsh realities of financial constraints and the high cost of living. It is a sentiment shared by many in our diaspora, creating a poignant reminder of the importance of our mission.

OHA’s journey to reverse the diaspora is monumental, requiring bold solutions and a collective commitment to shaping the future of our lāhui. We are challenged to bridge the gap between our people and their roots, to ensure that the essence of being Kānaka ʻŌiwi is nurtured and celebrated right here in the embrace of our islands.

Together, we shall navigate the waters of change, working diligently to make our Mana i Mauli Ola vision a reality. Let us stand united, inspired by the rich legacy of our hoʻoilina (inheritance), fueled by the love for our ʻāina, and dedicated to securing a vibrant and resilient future for every member of our lāhui.

Mahalo piha for entrusting me with this privilege. I look forward to the incredible journey ahead and the positive impact we will create for generations to come.

Me ka haʻahaʻa,
Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira
Ka Pouhana | Chief Executive Officer