News Briefs | April 2022

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OHA Welcomes New Trustee Mililani Trask

Photo: Mililani Trask
The swearing in ceremony on March 10 for new Hawaiʻi Island Trustee Mililani Trask opened with cultural protocol and an oli led by Hinaleimoana Wong-Kalu. The ceremony was held at OHA’s Honolulu office and attended by OHA Trustees, administrators, friends and supporters. – Photo: Joshua Koh

Nā Pua Noʻeau Program Recognized

Photo: Lisa Letoto-Ohata and Kinohi Gomes
Lisa Letoto-Ohata and Kinohi Gomes – Photo: Courtesy

Nā Pua Noʻeau (NPN) recently received the 2022 “Champions for Children Unsung Hero” award from the Hawaiʻi Children’s Action Network (HCAN). The award recognizes individuals who make a profound difference for keiki in their community.

Let by Program Director Kinohi Gomes and Program Assistant Lisa Letoto-Ohata, NPN emerged victorious from a field of more than 90 nominees. HCAN specifically honored the program’s dedication to Hawaiʻi’s keiki and ʻohana.

NPN is a UH Mānoa program, part of the campus’ Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Native Hawaiian Student Services, has provided programs for students Pre-K-12 since 1989, with centers at UH Mānoa, UH Hilo, UH Maui College, Kauaʻi Community College and UH West Oʻahu.

In recognition of their work, Gomes and Letoto-Ohata will be honored at the HCAN Champions for Children annual fundraiser and awards ceremony at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel on April 6.

Schatz Secures $22.3 Million for DHHL

Sen. Brian Schatz, who serves as both the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Housing, secured $22.3 million for the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL). The record amount, included in the year’s appropriations bill, is $20.3 million more than was allocated last year.

“We secured the highest level of funding for Native Hawaiian housing ever,” said Schatz. “This major increase in funding is a big win and means DHHL will have more resources to put people into homes.”

“DHHL is grateful for Sen. Schatz and the Appropriations Committee’s confidence and faith in our ability to deploy these much-needed federal funds,” said Tyler Iokepa Gomes, deputy to the chairman of DHHL. “This money will enable DHHL to provide financing for home construction or repair, rental assistance, and other housing services aimed at reducing homelessness.”

In addition to the $22.3 million in funding for DHHL, Schatz secured increased funding for other Native Hawaiian programs, including $22 million for Native Hawaiian health care systems, $39 million for Native Hawaiian education programs, $21.3 million for Native Hawaiian and Alaska Native-serving institutions, and several million more for Indigenous culture and arts, innovation and equity, and $1 million for the Native Hawaiian Resource Center on Domestic Violence.

Kakaʻako Famers’ Market Places in Top 10

The Kakaʻako Farmers’ Market recently placed in USA Today’s Top 10 Farmers’ Markets in the US.

The initial nominees, from among more than 8,600 Farmers’ Markets registered in the country, were selected by a panel of experts in partnership with USA Today “10Best” editors. The top 10 winners were then determined by popular vote.

Honolulu’s Kakaʻako Farmers’ Market was voted #7 and recognized for its excellent local produce, locally inspired artisan foods, fresh fish, and handcrafted jewelry and textiles. Florida’s West Palm Beach GreenMarket came in first place.

Supported, in part, by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the Kakaʻako Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday on both the mauka and makai corners of Ala Moana Blvd. and Ward Ave. and offers free parking and admission. On the third Saturday of each month, OHA sponsors Hawaiian entertainment from 9-11 a.m. on the makai side of the market.

April Art Show at Hilo’s Wailoa Center

Nelson and Kainoa Makua of Nā Mākua Designs will host the Mana 2022 Invitational Art Show at the Wailoa Center in Hilo throughout the month of April.

Unlike other art exhibits, the Mana Invitational Art Show features art pieces selected by the invited artists themselves, instead of by show curators, in an effort to showcase art that is unique to each artist and exemplifies their individual perspectives to create a visual and emotional experience for the viewer.

“Ancient Hawaiians believed mana could be inherited through lineage or acquired through great feats, skills, artistry, talents and gifts, which are cultivated through education and training,” explained Nelson Makua. “A person may gain mana by pono (right) actions. Having meaningful work to do, enjoying harmonious relationships with those around you, and being in service in some way all help to gather mana. To have mana implies the ability to perform in a given situation, and Mana 2022 will be an exhibition of art that reflects the mana of the artists.”

The Mana 2022 Invitational Art Show will be open April 1-29. The opening ceremony, limited to artists and guests, will be on Friday, April 1 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Following the opening ceremony, the doors will be opened to the public. Thereafter, the art show will be open Monday-Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2022 Lawrence “Uncle Bo” Campos Scholarship

Kai ʻŌpua Canoe Club in Kailua-Kona has two $1,000 college scholarships available for graduating seniors from Hawaiʻi Island.

Created to honor Lawrence “Uncle Bo” Campos, the scholarship is open to seniors with a 3.0 GPA or higher, who demonstrated academic achievement, and community participation, and have paddled at the club or high school level in the past three years. In addition to strong academics, active volunteerism and leadership in the school, community, church, and/or employment will be considered. Funds are dispersed directly to the recipients.

Uncle Bo is remembered for his efforts to perpetuate the sport of outrigger canoe paddling and was enthusiastic about getting people, especially keiki, involved in outrigger canoe racing. He knew that by keeping kids on the water they, too, would learn the culture and pass it along to the next generation. This scholarship carries his legacy forward.

The application deadline is Friday, May 27, 2022. Additional information and the scholarship application are available at www.kaiopua.org.

INPEACE Receives $5 Million Gift

In February, the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE) received a surprise gift of $5 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. This unrestricted gift is the largest single donation received by the organization since its beginnings 28 years ago.

“It was extremely gratifying to be told that we were selected for this award because of our work and commitment to serving the Indigenous community,” said Maile Keliipio-Acoba, INPEACE CEO.

“Our services, open to all in the communities we serve, strategically focus on elevating communities by empowering individuals from within. These funds provide INPEACE with an incredible opportunity to reach beyond ourselves and expand our impact through strategic community partnerships with other organizations across the state.”

INPEACE is a nonprofit organization providing culture-based educational programs in rural Native Hawaiian communities challenged with generational poverty and low academic achievement. This gift will help advance INPEACE’s mission to improve the quality of life for Native Hawaiians through community partnerships that provide educational opportunities and promote self-sufficiency.

The focus on strengthening Native Hawaiian communities starts by providing individuals the education, knowledge, and skills necessary to support the growth and educational needs of their keiki and become leaders and educators in their community. INPEACE seeks to increase its capacity to work collectively with organizations with similar approaches: building community leaders, honoring the knowledge and wisdom of our kūpuna, partnering with families, and empowering parents.

Established in 1994, INPEACE has served tens of thousands of Native Hawaiians and community members with its programs. Learn more at www.inpeace.org.

New Monthly Hawaiian Culture Workshops at ʻIolani Palace

Photo: Anuhea Kanealii
Anuhea Kanealii – Photo: Courtesy

ʻIolani Palace announced a new partnership with Hear Hawaiʻi to offer monthly workshops that will bring Hawaiian voices and stories to life. The workshops began in March and will be offered at Iolani Palace’s Hale Koa (Barracks) Theatre Room on the second Saturday of each month from noon-1:00 p.m. and from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

“Moʻolelo is an integral part of Hawaiian culture,” said Paula Akana, executive director of the Friends of ʻIolani Palace. “We’re excited to be partnering with Anuhea Kanealii of Hear Hawaiʻi on this workshop series that will allow participants to experience this traditional Hawaiian practice that has allowed our culture, language and history to be passed from generation to generation.”

Hear Hawaiʻi was founded by Kanealii. The April Hear Hawaiʻi workshop at ʻIolani Palace will be on Saturday April 9 and will focus on ʻōlelo noʻeau.

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test will be required, except for children 12 and under. All ages are welcome, but space is limited so interested individuals are encouraged to register early at www.iolanipalace.org/.

Hawaiʻi Forest Institute Awarded $10,000 Grant

Photo: Site Manager Wilds Pihanui Brawner gives a planting demonstration
The Hawaiʻi Forest Institute (HFI) was recently awarded a $10,000 grant from the Hawaiʻi Life Charitable Fund at Hawaiʻi Community Foundation through the Mealoha Kraus People’s Choice Award Program. “Our forest restoration and education projects fit nicely with Hawaiʻi Life Charitable Fund’s focus for 2022,” said HFI Executive Director Heather Simmons. In this picture, Site Manager Wilds Pihanui Brawner shows keiki how to plant native tree seedlings at Kaʻūpūlehu Dryland Forest. – Photo: Courtesy