The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Selects Hailama Farden as Senior Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs

Photo: Hailama Farden
Hailama Farden has an impressive resume of service to the Hawaiian community. – Courtesy Photo

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has selected veteran educator and Native Hawaiian community leader Hailama Farden to be OHA’s Senior Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs.

The newly created position is responsible for creating recommendations and institutionalizing OHA’s culture ensuring that a Hawaiian worldview and practices are incorporated into all lines of business.

Farden comes to the agency after a long career at Kamehameha Schools, where he held the title of Community Strategist, Hawaiian Ethos: Civic Leadership and Hoʻomana Advocacy with the Strategies and Transformation Group. He previously served the institution as a regional director for Community Engagement and Resources and is a former KS Kapālama vice principal and Hawaiian language instructor as well.

“We are fortunate to have Hailama Farden as part of our ʻohana as he embraces this new and vital leadership role. He will be weaving our rich tapestry of Hawaiian culture, history and values into the very fabric of OHA’s mission and operations by ensuring that a Hawaiian worldview and practices are meticulously integrated into every facet of the organization,” said OHA Ka Pouhana/CEO Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira. “His role is a cornerstone in our collective journey towards a future where our cultural identity is not only acknowledged but practiced and normalized throughout the agency and more broadly across our pae ʻāina, forming the foundation upon which we continue to build and thrive as a people.”

Farden said it is a “great privilege” after serving nearly 32 years at Kamehameha Schools to be given the opportunity to continue to serve the Native Hawaiian community.

“As my role denotes, the approaches – both internally and externally – of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will implore our well-instilled sense of kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi; the mores and behaviors so familiar to our kūpuna, but perhaps less-applied today,” Farden said. “I look forward to engaging with our fellow Native Hawaiian serving organizations to amplify the engagement and support of our lāhui through unified efforts among the organizations.”

Farden has an impressive resume of serving the Native Hawaiian community. He is a former president of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs and a former Hawaiian Civic Club Member of the Year. He is a former president of the ʽAhahui ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiian language teacher’s professional organization, and in 2018 he was designated a Living Treasure of Hawaiʻi by the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaiʻi. Farden currently serves as a trustee with both the Hawaiian Mission Houses Society and the Hawaiian Historical Society, where he is the immediate past president. He also serves as kahu for the Waiʻanae Protestant Church, where he is one of the longest serving ministers in the organization’s history.

A graduate of Kamehameha Schools, Farden holds a master’s degree in education in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix and a BA in Hawaiian studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.

OHA continues to hire qualified candidates to support its mission to improve the wellbeing of Native Hawaiians. To view job vacancies, visit