I write to you as 2022 ends and 2023 begins to mahalo nui all in the Molokaʻi/Lānaʻi community who worked with me, met with me throughout the island, and who generously educated me in so many ways.
I am elated that I was able to announce that our Molokaʻi OHA office re-opened post-COVID! It has already become the inviting gathering place I envisioned. There we can, and have, discussed the benefits and programs OHA offers. I have heard community concerns as well.
Over the year, I visited our people’s farms, businesses, fishponds and examples of sustainable living. I marveled at solar-powered hales and completely self-sustaining lifestyles. In celebration, your OHA trustee attended the Kamehameha Day parade and the Molokaʻi Paniolo Heritage Rodeo. We live up to our island name, Moloka‘i Nui a Hina, or Great Moloka‘i, Child of Hina.
We advanced and elevated certain unique aspects of our island about which we should honor and be proud. Kalaupapa has been a heartfelt focus for me. We improved the moʻolelo storyboards at Pālaʻau State Park lookout that were in disrepair. January 2022 was designated as the first Kalaupapa month – Gov. Ige signed this into effect – a triumph of collaborative efforts.
I firmly believe in assisting those less fortunate – it’s a kākou thing! Ke Akua blessed us when I was able to raise $3,000 in scholarship money to contribute to the Rena Dudoit Scholarship fund. This is for high school seniors who are considering study in agriculture, animal husbandry and so forth.
In December, I raised $500 to donate to the Kualapuʻu Charter School ʻOhana Fair. I also raised $1,000 for the Waiʻanae Coast Community Foundation Christmas Fund, $500 worth of Gingerbread House kits for our Molokaʻi Keiki, and I am excited to help open Molokaʻi’s very own diaper bank, working closely with the nonprofit organization Aloha Diaper Bank. This is a costly and essential need that is often overlooked. Look out for the grand opening at the Molokaʻi Community Health Center later this month. I ended 2022 with gift bag donations to the Hoʻolehua Homesteaders’ and Hawaiian Civic Club Association’s annual holiday pāʻina.
We are ʻohana, the word originating with ʻoha, or the corm of the taro plant. The taro plant links Hawaiians to the origin of our people. In Hawaiian terms, regardless of how distantly people were related (by blood, by hānai, by marriage), they were still all brothers and sisters. That is the spirit that guides me as your OHA trustee.
For 2023, I will continue to keep in close touch with the beneficiaries I represent. I will be open and accessible to kōkua and to bring OHA’s programs and services to our islands. Please come with me as you have done. As Chair Hulu Lindsey said at our investiture ceremony at Kawaiahaʻo Church “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
We go together! Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!