A Year-End Message from Matt

Image: Students of Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino Hawaiian Immersion School on the Konawaena School Road in Kealakekua tend their kalo (taro) patch in the school’s garden.

After eight years of hard work and tremendous community support, I can say that The Kohala Center is accomplishing what it set out to do. The Kohala Center was established in direct response to the request of island residents to create greater employment and educational opportunities by caring for—and celebrating—Hawai‘i Island’s spectacular natural and cultural landscape.

Our collaborative efforts have generated the need on this island for expert fence builders, conservation biologists, writers, editors, ethnographers, farmers, nonprofit accountants, economists, engineers, agronomists, archivists, grant managers, field managers, media relations experts, botanists, community organizers, cultural practitioners, geographers, geographic information scientists, and graphic designers, among others. Thus, we remain steadfast in our commitment to K-12 education, so that island youth can assume all of these knowledge-rich jobs that we are creating.

Everywhere we look, we see positive signs. The school garden movement, supported by the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network, has grown to include 50 projects in communities around the island. Flourishing gardens, flourishing youth, flourishing communities—it’s happening! With your support, we are creating new jobs and educational opportunities for Hawai‘i Island. Mahalo nui.

Join us!

My very best wishes for the New Year!

Matt Hamabata, Executive Director
The Kohala Center

The Next Generation of Architects

Photo: Four pieces of the land are explored as potential sites for the project, and the group eventually decides on the base of this hill for the natural protection it provides against ocean winds. From left to right: Jay Tapia, Erik Collins, Ryan Doone, Yuliya Bentcheva, Dashell Kuhr (TKC), Professor Jan Wampler, and Kamana Beamer (TKC & UH). Photo by Amanda Levesque.

For the past 15 years, Jan Wampler, Distinguished Professor of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has been taking small groups of students beyond the walls of their Cambridge studios to expose them to new cultures, new materials, and real world problems. Wampler believes that our next generation of architects should be prepared to work in a global context—designing affordable structures from locally available materials to meet local needs. Over the years, Wampler has taught architecture workshops in places like Cuba, Ecuador, Haiti, Mexico, Turkey, and Pakistan.

Seeking to fill a local need for affordable farm housing for young farmers in North Kohala, The Kohala Center sent out a call for designs that will allow farm families to move onto land as quickly as possible with the potential of expanding their living space as their families grow and their farm operations prosper. When an MIT representative visiting Hawai‘i heard about this design challenge, he contacted Professor Wampler, who initiated a dialogue with The Kohala Center this past summer. Wampler explained that he has three criteria by which he evaluates potential projects: (1) they must have a good chance of being built; (2) they must have a nonprofit partner as well as the commitment of the landowner to see the project through; and (3) they must have support from local architects and planners to ensure that permits are obtained in a timely fashion to enable completion of the project. The Kohala Center’s affordable farm dwelling project in North Kohala meets all three criteria, and Wampler agreed to bring a group of students to the site in late October to meet the landowner and gather background information in order to prepare farm dwelling designs.

Wampler selected a mix of 6 undergraduate and graduate students from a pool of 40 applicants to participate in this project; on October 24-27, the MIT group visited the project site to survey the property, meet with the young farmers who will occupy the affordable farm dwellings, absorb as much historical and cultural background as possible, and meet with local planners, builders, and suppliers to consider materials and designs. The MIT group spent their first evening with Dr. Kamana Beamer, assistant professor in the Hawaiian Studies Department at UH Mānoa and Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellow; Dr. Ka‘eo Duarte from Kamehameha Schools Land Asset Division; and Dr. Guy Kaulukukui from The Kohala Center, who addressed the students at an opening dinner. The next day the MIT group continued their orientation to the cultural and natural landscape of Hawai‘i Island under the direction of Professor Beamer. The following day the MIT team met with Pat Batchelder from HPM; Brad Kurokawa, a principal of Ki Concepts LLC and a former Hawai‘i County Deputy Planning Director; and Michael Gornik, a local contractor who generously provided information about current Hawai‘i building trends and materials. Dash Kuhr and other young farmers from North Kohala also shared their reflections about their hopes and challenges as family farmers in Hawai‘i. This exchange of ideas is of mutual benefit with architects from abroad gaining knowledge from island experts and from island conditions, and in return, island communities tapping into the latest technologies and designs from the international architectural community.

Wampler was struck by the beauty of this island, and he feels the project is progressing well. He and his students will return in January to unveil a model structure to the landowner, to present their ideas for how to situate the dwellings on the property, and to lay out the details of their overall plan for the site, including recommendations for incorporating conservation, agricultural, residential, communal, and infrastructural uses on the site. Learn more about the MIT Architecture Workshop in "Designing Affordable Farm Dwellings" on the back page.

Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike (In Working, One Learns)

Photo: Nancy Redfeather shared inspiring words and photos of the school garden movement with luncheon guests.

On October 16, 2009, guests boarded the Golden Princess cruise ship in Hilo Harbor for the Seeds of Hope luncheon sponsored by Princess Cruise Lines. Guests received royal treatment from cruise staff including refreshments, a three-course sit-down lunch, and a tour of the recently refurbished cruise ship. Friends from around the island came together to celebrate the Hawai‘i Island School Garden Network’s (HISGN) commitment to island youth, to the future of island agriculture, and to promoting food self-reliance. Distinguished speakers included Mayor Billy Kenoi, State Senators Russell Kokubun and Dwight Takamine, and award-winning island filmmaker Danny Miller. Luncheon guests were treated to a sneak preview of Miller’s recently completed Seeds of Hope documentary, a look at agriculture in Hawai‘i, including the growing school garden movement. Seeds of Hope is targeted for release on Hawai‘i and national public television next spring.

As we look at the state of agriculture in Hawai‘i, the one thing that stands out are the large number of real heroes—individuals who are doing amazing work, including Nancy Redfeather and a lot of the other folks here today. They are really making a difference, and that is why we entitled the film Seeds of Hope. There are incredible people doing incredible things across the state, and we hope this film will inspire others to do more work like you folks are doing. —filmmaker Danny Miller

Photo: Everyone departed with packets of seeds to plant: vegetables, flowers, herbs, and hope for the future. Seeds were donated by Toni Reynolds, a teacher at Kealakehe Elementary School.

As a kid, I liked to play in the dirt. My grandmother always had a garden at our home. The lessons that she taught me had not only to do with how to grow things but the entire relationship that you have as an individual to the Earth, to all natural resources—the awe and wonder that is generated when you work with the soil and when you work in the gardens. The potential of the school garden program is huge—it starts with our young people, it starts with the commitment that all of you have made to teaching our young people how to value our environment. —Senator Russell Kokubun

The Kohala Center extends a warm mahalo (thank you) to our senators and Mayor Kenoi for their support of agricultural education and to Danny Miller, who inspired us to create this luncheon to celebrate the work of the school garden teachers across the island.

In Celebration of Life

Photo: Herb Kane (left) and his wife Deon Kane (center) with Hawai‘i County Mayor Billy Kenoi (right) at the 2009 Bay Concert. Herb Kane is holding a proclamation honoring his lifetime achievements which Mayor Kenoi presented to him at the start of the concert. Photo by Randy Magnus.

I thoroughly enjoyed attending this year’s Bay Concert in honor of the great Herb Kane. The Daifukuji Taiko Drummers were simply awesome. The music of Na Leo Pilimehana and Ho‘okena lifted my heart and reminded me how lucky I am to live in this wonderful place. Frank De Lima was a great host and added just the right amount of lightness and humor to the event. Congratulations to you and all of the hard working volunteers on a wonderful event! —Senator Gary L. Hooser, Majority Leader, Hawai‘i State Senate

A full house gathered in the Convention Center at the Sheraton Keauhou Resort for the third annual Bay Concert on November 21. Over 900 people came out to enjoy the music and Frank De Lima’s island style humor, and to celebrate the rebirth of Kahalu‘u Bay. The Kohala Center extends a gracious mahalo to each and every one of you. This year’s concert paid tribute to Herb Kane, Hawaiian artist, historian, voyager, and living treasure. Mayor Billy Kenoi honored Kane’s achievements as a world renowned artist and community leader by proclaiming November 21, 2009, as Herbert Kawainui Kane Day.

The Kohala Center believes in the importance of community in all that they do and the Bay Concert affirms their commitment to using their educational presence in the community as a community-building opportunity. It was a great evening celebrating a great cause. —Dr. Gregory Chun, Kamehameha Schools Kahalu‘u Keauhou Educational Group

Photo: The musicians of Ho‘okena at the 2009 Bay Concert. Photo by Randy Magnus.

It was a great concert and such a fun evening with so many friends of The Kohala Center and friends of the environment. Thank you for the good time we all had, and the music was awesome! —Marni Herkes, Kohala Center board member

Over 360 community volunteers and three dozen island businesses actively volunteer their time as ReefTeachers in the community and at Kahalu‘u Bay, to educate visitors on how to engage with the fragile coral reef environment without damaging it. Many of these ReefTeachers joined in the festivities at the concert, clad in their blue ReefTeach T-shirts. The ReefTeach program reaches an average of 85 visitors per day and 1,200 K-12 students annually. The Bay Concert helps to sustain the ReefTeach Program and The Kohala Center’s efforts to restore the historic, cultural, and natural resources of Kahalu‘u Bay. The dollars raised will help to support the Kahalu‘u Bay Project well into the coming year.

From my childhood I fondly remember Kahalu‘u Beach and Bay as a special place of beauty and bounty. The beach and reef thrived and were teeming with fish, as were most of the bays along the Kona Coast. I have a deep, heartfelt connection to Kahalu‘u Bay, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to give back to my beloved home through my work with The Kohala Center. Our programs are nurturing a deeper awareness and appreciation for our connection with the ‘āina [land], as we celebrate the cultural, environmental, and social significance of Kahalu‘u, its beauty, and its ability to sustain life. —Cindi Punihaole, Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator for The Kohala Center

Brown Environmental Leadership Lab Welcomes Island Students

Photo: Maryam Palma, 2009 BELL-Hawai‘i scholarship recipient weaving a lei with the palapalai fern

Island high school students are invited to participate in Brown University’s Environmental Leadership Lab on Hawai‘i Island from April 2–9, 2010. The BELL-Hawai‘i Program brings together 30 outstanding young leaders from across the country and around the globe to study in the world’s most vibrant living classroom—Hawai‘i Island. Students will explore Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park and learn about the active geology of Hawai‘i. They will kayak in Kealakekua Bay and learn about the marine ecology and coral reefs of Hawai‘i at Ke‘ei. They will engage in leadership activities with some of the finest environmental educators in the nation, and they will give back to our community through service work in Ka‘ūpūlehu Dry Forest. Island experts will introduce the students to native plants and marine life and explain how to mālama (care for) the land and the ocean. They will also share the cultural traditions and deep connection of the Hawaiian people with this land. Visit the BELL Web site for more program details.

Here’s how last year’s participants rated their BELL-Hawai‘i experience:

“I learned a lot about the history and culture of Hawai‘i and how it pertains to the environment, and was able to observe the connections.”
“Not only were all of my expectations surpassed, but the program sparked an interest in geology.”
“I made 29 new friends (yay!), and we saw dryland forest and many other climates and ecosystems. I learned a lot about Hawaiian culture, both modern and traditional, as well as a ton about geology. I particularly enjoyed talking story with the kūpuna (Hawaiian elders) because they were immediately welcoming and I learned a bunch from them. I also really loved kayaking, snorkeling, and learning about the reefs that were right in front of our eyes.”

The Kohala Center and Brown University are offering full scholarships to the BELL Hawai‘i Program for two Hawai‘i Island students. The scholarship application deadline is Friday, January 29, 2010. To apply, visit

Read what last year’s scholarship recipients, Maryam Palma and Elai Dankner, have to say about the BELL Hawai‘i Program on the back page.

Indigenous Ways of Being

Photo: Dr. Karin Ingersoll on a canoe that her husband, Russell Amimoto, built.

In 2008, through the generosity of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and Kamehameha Schools, the Mellon-Hawai‘i Doctoral and Postdoctoral Fellowship Program was established at The Kohala Center. This program provides fellowships to Native Hawaiian scholars whose research is about Hawai‘i’s natural and cultural landscapes or about Hawai‘i’s history, politics, or society. The Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellowship recognizes Hawai‘i’s leading thinkers and writers, many of whom are at the start of their scholarly careers. In this issue we are pleased to feature the work of Postdoctoral Fellow Karin Na‘auali‘i Amimoto Ingersoll, who earned a Ph.D in political science from the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

My scholarly and professional interests and goals revolve around one mission, to (re)immerse Native Hawaiian youth into the ocean: to smell it, taste it, touch it, hear it, and experience it as a fundamental component of learning. The aim is to privilege our indigenous ways of learning, knowing and being in the world to reaffirm our native identities and to encourage aloha ‘āina (land stewardship). In my dissertation, I explored the idea of building a hālau o ke kai (ocean-based cultural center) to apply my concept of seascape epistemology, and although I have worked and informally talked with other community members, groups, and charter schools already engaged in similar projects, I have not yet had the opportunity to establish formal partnerships toward the realization of such a hālau. The establishment of such working relationships is one of my main goals during this fellowship. —Karin Na‘auali‘i Amimoto Ingersoll, 2009 Mellon-Hawai‘i Postdoctoral Fellow

Read Karin’s story "Anchored Within the Ocean" on the back page.

Voices that Need to Be Heard

Photo: 2009–2010 Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellows pose together after the kīhei ceremony on November 14. From left to right: Dr. Karin Ingersoll, Dr. Ku‘ualoha Ho‘omanawanui, Ms. Kauanoe Kamanā.

Thanks to a generous gift of $125,000 from the Kahiau Foundation, the Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellowship Program will be expanded in the 2010–2011 academic year to support a total of five doctoral and postdoctoral fellows—two more fellows than in the current academic year. The Kahiau Foundation joins with The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, and The Kohala Center in supporting the Mellon-Hawai‘i Fellowship program for Native Hawaiian scholars.

This generation of young Hawaiian scholars is remarkable. They are rigorously trained in both Western and Hawaiian research and interpretive traditions. They are courageous in seeking the truth. Hawaiian history voiced by native scholars offers perspectives that need to be heard. —Allene Wong, a Kamehameha Schools graduate and co-founder of the Kahiau Foundation, along with her husband David Eckles

Through the Fellowship Program, doctoral fellows are given the opportunity to complete their dissertations before accepting their first academic posts. Postdoctoral fellows are given the opportunity to publish original research early in their academic careers. Doctoral fellows are awarded $40,000 for the academic year, and postdoctoral fellows are awarded $50,000. Application materials for the academic year 2010–2011 are now available at Completed applications must be received by February 15, 2010.

Hala No Ia Lā O Ka Pōloli: A Hungry Day Passes

Photo: Kalo image courtesy of Nā Maka Hāloa.

This Hawaiian phrase is an expression of thankfulness that there was food for another day. Kalo, a staple of the traditional Hawaiian diet, has deep cultural significance in the Hawaiian culture, and there are passionate issues revolving around kalo and the introduction of genetically modified organisms (GMO). The public is invited to a free panel discussion to learn more about these issues. The November Puana Ka ‘Ike (imparting knowledge) lecture series will feature three expert panelists offering their perspectives on these issues, in order to deepen public awareness as community discussions about kalo and GMO continue.

Dr. Dennis Gonsalves, Director of the Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center; Jerry Konanui, Association for Hawaiian ‘Awa; and Dr. William Steiner, University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, will speak in Hilo from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30, at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo in University Classroom Building 127. Gonsalves, a native of Kohala, is a plant virologist by training and led the research team that developed the virus resistant genetically engineered papaya in Hawai‘i. Konanui, a member of the Hawai‘i State Taro Task Force representing the statewide Onipa‘a Na Hui Kalo organization, has presented educational workshops and demonstrations on ‘awa (kava); and taro research in Hawai‘i and the South Pacific. Steiner has served as Dean for the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry, and Natural Resource Management since 2005, researching biofuel development, heritage foods development, and dairy and equine sciences.

The Puana Ka ‘Ike Lecture Series is made possible by a partnership between Kamehameha Investment Corporation/Kamehameha Schools, The Kohala Center, Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, and Keauhou Beach Resort. For more information on the kalo panel presentation, contact Natalie Deisroth at 808-322-0088, ext. 100, or e-mail For a schedule of upcoming lectures or more information about previous lectures, visit

A Gift to Our Members and Volunteers

Photo: Cover of the August 2009 Hawaii Business magazine.

The Kohala Center is continually expanding its network of partnerships that add value to membership in our Circle of Friends. This month, we are pleased to invite our members and volunteers to sign up to receive a free one-year subscription to Hawaii Business magazine, a $56.00 gift based on the annual newsstand price.

Hawaii Business magazine supports the statewide business community by delivering useful and insightful stories on everything from big issues and big business to entrepreneurship and SmallBiz. We believe in The Kohala Center’s mission and invite you to become not only a regular reader, but to contribute feedback, comments, and story ideas to our editorial team through the e-mail address —Patrick Parsons, Director of Marketing, Hawaii Business Magazine

Sign up for a complimentary subscription to Hawaii Business magazine at

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