Ka Wai Ola

Aloha mai kākou,

Mohala i ka wai ka maka o ka pua.
Unfolded by water are the faces of the flowers.

What are the governing principles and values that should guide a Hawaiian institution of integrity? That’s what the Office of Hawaiian Affairs strives to be as we explore new ways to collaborate and leverage our resources, including looking to communities themselves to tell us how we can help them prosper.

We’re also looking within ourselves as an agency and recommitting to the core values that our kūpuna practiced, lived and thrived under. Our community should expect no less and demand that OHA is governed by principles rather than personality. Our core values are grounded in pono and kākou – working together, unified to accomplish our mission and vision. E aloha kekahi i kekahi keeps us kind and compassionate; pono pau ʻole reminds us to act with integrity and truthfulness. Kūlia inspires us to strive for the highest in advocating for our Hawaiian culture and protecting our heritage. And we constantly hoʻomau – remaining persistent and persevering with determined purpose to improve the well-being of our people.

We can’t just talk about these values, we need to live them. They should be reflected in decision-making by OHA’s executive leadership team, the way we carry out our programs, how we meet our fiduciary obligations to our people and the manner in which we are held accountable for the resources we’re privileged to administer. Our upcoming annual report will better illuminate OHA’s activities over the past fiscal year. At oha.org, you can also learn about our priorities and programs, access our research and see some of our work in action.

The demands on this agency are great in terms of protecting lands, addressing our health status and providing hope for greater educational and economic opportunity. It is also our kuleana to help those who are disenfranchised from society, such as incarcerated Hawaiians and their families. Our grant funding is just one tool we have to push the target forward; we’re also meeting with our communities, strategizing on how to maximize our resources and reach, and forming deliberate and strategic partnerships. OHA alone can’t meet the needs of our people – we have to bridge, partner and network with others so we can empower Hawaiians, and at the same time, Hawai‘i as a whole.

In this day and age of fake news and questionable leadership throughout the world, OHA’s core values help define what we stand for and allow us to move forward with clear focus: ho‘omau, pono, aloha, kākou, kūlia. Join us.