As we bring 2018 to a close and celebrate the season of Makahiki, I am optimistic that the future of OHA and our Lāhui is very bright. We have built major positive momentum in the last few months that is allowing us to go into 2019 with high hopes.
“The Eddie” Big Wave Surf Classic was rejuvenated with the help of multiple Native Hawaiian organizations that banded together to open the door for the epic contest to run again… IF and WHEN the “Bay Calls the Day.” Just as significant, these organizations, OHA, Kamehameha Schools, CNHA, Mana Maoli and others provided an opening ceremony that has effectively set the stage for our Native Hawaiian community to reclaim the cultural practice of He‘e Nalu (surfing) and to become a force in this global sport.
We have two new Trustees that were elected to office this year, Kalei Akaka and Kalei‘āina Lee were sworn in last month along with returning Trustees John Waihe‘e IV, Lei Ahu Isa, and Hulu Lindsey. I am very excited to see next generation leaders like Akaka and Lee take seats at our table. I have long been a proponent of empowering a new generation of leaders to continue the evolution and progression of our community. I believe their perspective and skill set will be highly valuable to OHA as an organization and to our Lāhui.
A good sign of things to come was that the Board of Trustees voted unanimously for our Chair Colette Machado and our Board committee seats. This was an unprecedented showing of lōkahi (unity) by a body that has been fractured for far too long. The message from our Board is that we are committed to being in one wa‘a and paddling together in the same direction. The days of self-promotion and attacking each other are done.
I have much gratitude and respect for each and every trustee for embarking on such a commitment. We must be selfless leaders that find ways to empower each other and empower our community to achieve the OHA’s lofty mandate to better the conditions of our people. I am hoping that this message of lōkahi, and the actions we take in the forseeable future will serve as a model and inspiration for our community. That is my ambition, to help make OHA a better organization, one that invokes pride and inspiration in our people. I believe we can get there, and the most recent vote of the Board is an excellent first step.
On the horizon for us is a great deal of work. Starting with our fiscal sustainability plan, this has been in the works for a number of years. The delays it has faced has been for a myriad of reasons, but it is time to open our sails and move full speed ahead. Adopting the fiscal sustainability plan to tighten our policies is an easy first step. Next is our strategic planning process, this process is underway and we will be coming into the community later this year to gain input on setting the course for OHA for the next 10 years. Please keep your eyes open for these meeting dates.
I want to close by giving our Trustee staff and our administrative staff that works so very hard to deliver on OHA’s mission on a daily basis a HUGE shout out. Through the tumultuous times that were often created by controversies far out of their control, they have remained steadfast in their commitment to our community and carrying out their daily kuleana. For that, I mahalo each and every one of them. Holomua i ka pūpūkahi.