Molokaʻi Nui a Hina

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Keoni Souza: Trustee At-Large

Me Molokaʻi (nui) a Hina
ʻĀina i ka wehiwehi
E hoʻi no au e pili
ʻAe ʻae
E ka makani ē
E pā mai me ke aheahe
ʻAuhea kuʻu pua kalaunu
And Hina’s great Moloka`i
Festive land
May I return to stay,
Yes, yes
O wind
Blow gently
Heed, my crown flower

OHA had an amazing visit to Molokaʻi from May 14-16, 2024. We had the opportunity to meet with many community members during our site visits to Hoʻakā Mana, Molokaʻi History Project, and the OHA office at Kūlana ʻŌiwi.

Our discussions centered on vital topics such as homesteads, infrastructure, rights to cultural sites, assistance for our kūpuna, and healthcare. These conversations underscore the importance of continued dialogue to ensure that all voices are heard and needs are addressed. We are committed to ongoing discussions with state and county representatives to safeguard and preserve the interests of the people of Molokaʻi.

During our community meeting, we were honored to have ʻAnakala Walter Ritte present. Mahalo e ʻAnakala for all your years of service and advocacy. His words struck a chord with me as he spoke about Molokaʻi’s shift from a defensive stance to an offensive one. The residents have grown weary of constantly battling to safeguard what they cherish; now they are eager to progress, thrive, and achieve self-sustainability. I am fully committed to supporting their efforts and addressing their needs in any way possible.

Reflecting on my own familial ties to Molokaʻi, I am reminded of my grandmother, Mona Haʻahaʻa Kaʻapana Medeiros, who hailed from ʻUalapuʻe, Molokaʻi. Additionally, my great-great-grandfather, Rev. Isaac Daniel Iaea, was born in ʻEwa but pastored on Molokaʻi for many years and raised his family in ʻUalapuʻe.

During my visit I was fortunate to meet Leilani Wallace, who shared the story of how my great-great-grandfather Rev. Iaea had married her parents. It was touching to learn about these familial connections and the impact my ancestors had on the community. Hearing Leilani’s story reaffirmed my commitment to understanding and preserving the rich heritage of Molokaʻi.

As we continue to engage with the Molokaʻi community and work alongside its residents, it’s important to reaffirm the aloha we have for Molokaʻi and its people. Their strength and passion inspire us, and we are dedicated to standing by them, ensuring that their voices are heard, and that their needs are met. By remaining aligned with OHA’s mission and strategic plan, we honor the invaluable contributions of Molokaʻi and strive to create a future where its people thrive.