Galuteria and Souza elected OHA At-Large Trustees


Incumbents Akaka, Lindsey, Trask and Waiheʻe Win Re-election

Photo: Brickwood Galuteria
Brickwood Galuteria
Photo: Keoni Souza
Keoni Souza

Former state senator Brickwood Galuteria and realtor/musician Keoni Souza will be two new faces on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Board of Trustees.

Galuteria and Souza were elected as At-Large Trustees in November along with returning At-Large Trustee John Waiheʻe IV. Attorney Mililani Trask won the Hawaiʻi Island Trustee race, Oʻahu Trustee Kalei Akaka won reelection during the August primary, and OHA Board Chair and Maui Island Trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey ran unopposed and was automatically reelected.

OHA’s Board of Trustees is made up of nine elected officials who serve four-year terms. Five of the seats represent specific islands: Kauaʻi/Niʻihau; Oʻahu; Maui; Molokaʻi/Lānaʻi; and Hawaiʻi Island. Four of the seats are “At-Large.”

All new and reelected trustees – as well as those elected in 2020 including Kauaʻi Island Trustee Dan Ahuna, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi Trustee Luana Alapa and At-Large Trustee Keliʻi Akina – will be sworn in at a formal investiture in December. Investiture ceremonies were canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Galuteria served in the Senate for a decade. He is a Kamehameha Schools graduate who serves as a host for Kūpuna Power, a 30-minute television talk show that serves as a gateway to Hawaiʻi’s aging network connecting older adults to vital community services.

He is also one of the finer guitar players in the islands and has served on the boards of the Hawaiʻi Academy of Recording Arts and Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame, among others.

“As a Hawaiʻi state senator from 2008 through 2018, I’ve served alongside other dedicated public servants, all trained to analyze and understand issues, evaluate different ideas and positions, and produce solutions that work for the greater good,” Galuteria said.

“I will bring to OHA the knowledge of governance, the subtleties of how government works, and the give-and-take required when crafting public policy.”

Galuteria also said that collaboration is essential in the Kānaka Maoli community among Native Hawaiian organizations and that he will strive to create alliances among these like-minded entities.

Souza, who describes himself as having “local roots, local values,” was born and raised on the west side of Oʻahu and is also a graduate of Kamehameha Schools.

“Being educated at a Hawaiian institution taught me that we must all do our part to perpetuate our culture and become thought leaders in the community. My background as a flight attendant, musician, stevedore and realtor has allowed me to serve the public, travel the world, and understand the needs of the people of Hawaiʻi,” he said.

“My commitment is that I will be on the ground in our communities. The At-Large position encompasses representation for all of Hawaiʻi, not just a particular island. This allows me to be a voice for everyone and visit our communities at the grassroots level, listening to the concerns of our small business owners, ranchers, farmers, and thought leaders.”

Souza is also a talented musician having earned a Grammy nomination for his work with the group Nā Hoa.

“I sing traditional Hawaiian music – music of the past, celebrating our ancestors. We must honor our ancestors with the work that we do. The people of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike, have a vote in OHA. OHA has a hand in many ventures that affect everyone. Therefore, everyone must be heard,” he said.

“We should strive to cultivate the aloha spirit as we navigate policy decisions and help beneficiaries thrive. It is my deepest hope that we can change the look and feel of OHA.”

The administration and staff of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs extend a sincere mahalo to outgoing trustees Leinaʻala Ahu Isa and Brendon Kaleiʻāina Lee for their years of service to OHA and to our lāhui. Ke aloha nō; Ke Akua pū.