Counting our Blessings


Luana Alapa: Trustee Molokaʻi and Lanaʻi

Aloha mai kākou!

In this season of gratitude, it is more vital than ever for us to come together and count our blessings, especially as we focus our attention on the Lahaina wildfire disaster that has deeply affected our state.

I am profoundly thankful to Ke Akua for the love and support that has poured in from all around the world, directing their attention to the tragedy that befell Maui on that fateful day. We continue to send our prayers, positive energy, and unwavering support to all those whose lives have been forever altered as they embark on a new path toward recovery.

As I enter my third year as trustee, I want to express my heartfelt appreciation to the people of Hawaiʻi who entrusted me with the role of serving as their Molokaʻi-Lānaʻi representative in 2020.

These past years have been challenging, marked by the pandemic that disrupted our daily lives.

Now, in 2023, with the pandemic officially behind us, I realized the need for swift action. I initiated a series of informal meetings with the kūpuna of my Molokaʻi community, where I shared the purpose and function of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). It became clear that many were unaware of OHA’s role as a grant provider and advocate for our lāhui, covering areas such as housing, healthcare, education, employment, and economic stability.

Furthermore, I discovered a lack of knowledge in grant writing, a critical skill for individuals seeking financial support for essential needs like roof repairs or wheelchair ramps.

To address this, I’ve been working on the implementation of Grant Writing Workshops for our beneficiaries in dire need of support. This endeavor required time and coordination, but I am thankful for the support from our administration. Once workshop details are available they will be posted on OHA’s website.

This past July, I had the privilege of hosting my annual Board of Trustees meeting on Molokaʻi. I want to extend my sincere gratitude to my trustee aide, Pohai Ryan, a Molokaʻi native who played a crucial role in coordinating activities and meals for our administration and Trustees.

The community meeting at Lanikeha in Hoʻolehua was a resounding success, with a delicious dinner for island beneficiaries and an opportunity for them to share their manaʻo with trustees.

We are currently in the process of selecting a new CEO for OHA. I pray that our board chooses a qualified leader with innovative ideas and strong leadership skills to guide our organization towards optimal functionality. OHA deserves a dynamic CEO with a vision for positive and productive progress.

Photo: Trustee Alapa with her mother
Trustee Alapa and her mother, Kauana Pukahi, at the 2023 ʻŌʻō Awards. – Courtesy Photo

Throughout the year, I have been fortunate to attend various activities. Among these, the ʻŌʻō Awards, which recognizes outstanding Hawaiian members of our community, stands out as a personal highlight. It was a joy to share the evening with my 89-year-old mother, who faced health challenges and had been homebound for the past two years. I am immensely grateful for her thriving health and the opportunity to treat her to a fantastic evening at the ʻŌʻō Awards.

As we settle into the holiday season, reflecting on the things for which we are grateful, I am thankful for the blessings and opportunities in my life. I cherish my family, my health, my friends, and the privilege of serving as your OHA Trustee. Mahalo Ke Akua, and may you all have a blessed holiday season filled with gratitude.

For those wishing to schedule appointments with me at the Molokaʻi office, please contact Pohai Ryan at:

A hui hou!