HTA Grant Funds Focus on Native Hawaiians

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Photo by Dave Smith.

The Hawai‘i Tourism Authority (HTA) announced Wednesday it is awarding funding to 43 programs in the Hawaiian Islands through its Kukulu Ola program for the 2020 calendar year, an increase from 28 recipients in 2019.

This is in addition to the 95 programs and events HTA is funding through its Community Enrichment program, and 34 programs through its Aloha ‘Āina program, which were announced last month. The money comes from tourism dollars through the Transient Accommodations Tax (TAT), which people pay when they stay in legal accommodations throughout the state.

HTA’s Kukulu Ola program funds community-based nonprofit organizations that represent cultural practitioners, craftsmen, musicians and artists committed to perpetuating and strengthening a broader understanding and appreciation of the Hawaiian culture, an HTA press release said.


One of HTA’s goals is to reinvest in the Hawaiian community. Without it, Hawai‘i would be like any other island destination in the world, the release said. The uniqueness and authenticity of the Hawaiian culture and community are integral to the state’s sustainability, the release continued.

HTA issued a request for proposals on May 2 with the deadline of July 5 to submit applications. HTA staff held informational briefings about the submission process on all six islands during the month of May.

“It’s imperative that the tourism industry recognizes the importance of perpetuating the Hawaiian culture,” said Kalani Kaanaana, HTA’s Director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs. “The culture here is what makes the Hawaiian Islands unique and underpins the authenticity of the visitor experience. As we support these practitioners in strengthening and perpetuating cultural practices in their communities, it’s important for tourism to do its part to give back.”


Hawai‘i Island

  • Edith K. Kanakaole Foundation; Haa — Research and Management of the Health and Wellness of Hula Dancers
  • Hawai‘i Forest Institute; Hoola Ka Makana‘a o Kaupulehu
  • Hilo-Hamakua Community Development Corporation; Hawaiian Cultural Center of Hamakua
  • Hui Malama i ke Ala Ulili (huiMAU); HoAMa Youth Mentorship Programs
  • Pohaha I Ka Lani; Ka Lau o Ke Kahuli
  • University of Hawai‘i; Kukulu Ola: Na Lehua o Mokaulele
  • Volcano Art Center; Hula Arts at Kīlauea

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