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Embracing the Past is Key to Moving Forward

March 28, 2013
Kimokeo Kapahulehua - Halau Maui Nui a Kama • President, Ko‘ie‘ie Fishpond , The Maui Weekly

Native Hawaiians carry their culture with them everywhere they go. That includes business. My life comes from sky, mountain, land and sea. Ke Akua and kupuna are consulted and connected to everything I do. Everything I do affects my family and my community, so my responsibility is to love and take care of the land, sea and people where I live. All my plans and decisions take these things into account.

Each day I wake up is a good day--full of opportunities to love and care for the resources provided to me. Inside me, I carry the source of life and knowledge to succeed--the mana of my ancestors. I am frugal like my ancestors; they ate little, drank little and went far. They watched currents, tides, weather, stars, moon and sun to find their way. They planned kalai mana'o in their heads, not on paper, and built ocean voyaging canoes, great earthworks and a nation. They passed this knowledge down to me. I am passing it on to the next generation.

The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce [MNHCoC] celebrates and passes on this Hawaiian cultural foundation in Native Hawaiian values and protocols at their gatherings. Ceremony focuses and strengthens us. Every living thing comes from the sea, so at the first Hui Holomua Business Fest, our members paddled into Wailea from the sea. Their canoes carried kupuna from every moku of Maui bringing rocks--'aina from their district--to build an ahu altar above the beach. Then we gave thanks to Ke Akua and the ancestors.

Article Photos

‘Ōlelo Pā‘oihana
Kimokeo Kapahulehua
Hālau Maui Nui a Kama • President, Kō‘ie‘ie Fishpond

The next year, canoes brought makua, Maui fathers and mothers. Last year, our Maui ali'i came, and this year, women and children carried 'akoakoa corals from all the Maui fishing grounds. Native Hawaiians revere these symbols of eternal relationships and kuleana responsibilities. These are the important values of our lives.

Relationships and cooperation make the MNHCoC different from other business groups. We never forget to nurture sky, land, sea and people. We love a challenge, but the competition is not to anyone's disadvantage. We put our lives and businesses together for everyone's advancement and protection of land and sea. Mentoring is not a "process" for us. It is not a degree we earn. It is the way we live every day; share resources and see to it that all succeed.

As a Hawaiian, I don't need much--just enough to take care of my family. Business I generate on Maui stays here. Money I spend goes to my island. At Ko'ie'ie Fishpond, I teach youth how to succeed, and how to care for land and sea.

In 2013, we will sail the Mokiha O Pi'ilani ocean voyaging double-hulled sailing canoe to Tahiti and on to Asia. Maui people built this wa'a in Lahaina using materials and resources right here on the island. Young navigators learned their skills from mature navigators. Young project leaders learned to manage construction. Donors saw the physical outcome of their support. Sailing beneath Pacific night skies, we will be living the same way our ancestors did thousands of years ago.

With Native Hawaiians, business is here and now--we aloha and malama today, based on all the knowledge and legacy of our ancestors, for the benefit of our families coming along tomorrow.



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