Proposals sought to create, operate Keaukaha education program on Big Island
The Island of Hawai‘i Visitors Bureau is seeking proposals from non-profit organizations to develop and operate a community cultural-based education program in the Keaukaha area that will help balance the preservation of cultural and natural resources with mindful visitation.
Funding is provided by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority, and is in collaboration with the County of Hawai‘i.
The residential community of Keauhaha — just minutes from Hilo Harbor and the island’s east-side port for cruise ship passengers and Hilo International Airport — has endured increased visitation and overcrowding at Hilo’s most-visited beaches.
During the Hawai’i Tourism Authority’s process that began in 2020 to create the Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan, residents called out this growing need to mitigate visitor impacts to their community through place-based education of ‘āina (place), mo‘omeheu (culture), mo‘olelo (history) and kānaka (people).
“We are taking the community’s lead in how they envision this cultural-based educational program to be developed and look forward to supporting the important work and stewards of this special place,” said John De Fries, president and CEO of the tourism authority.
Keaukaha, which translates to “passing current,” is where freshwater springs feed into the Hilo area’s coastline, creating nutrient-rich brackish water environments for loko i‘a (fishponds), plants, fish and other marine life to thrive. Keaukaha is also one of the oldest Hawaiian Homestead communities in the state.
Place-based education curriculum aims to combine Native Hawaiian and local ʻike (knowledge) to weave past and present knowledge of aloha ‘āina and its wahi pana (storied places) and/or wahi kapu (sacred places), with the goal of instilling a deeper understanding and appreciation for the place and its people amongst all those who visit.
Rachel Kaiama, destination manager of the Island of Hawai’i Visitors Bureau, said: “We’re involving the community every step of the way to ensure that historical ‘ike and mo‘olelo remain fundamental to the cultural preservation and visitor education of the area. Our hope is that this program can serve as a stewardship model that may be adapted for other hot spots on our island.”
The Keaukaha Community Cultural-based Education Program also supports the ‘Āina Aloha and Ho‘okipa principles of the ‘Āina Aloha Economic Futures declaration, as well as the goals of Hawai‘i’s Aloha+ Challenge and United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Those submitting proposals must be a licensed 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and develop a cultural-based education program that can be implemented by stewards and cultural and natural resource management ambassadors of the area.
Proposals must align with these aspects of the Hawai‘i Island Destination Management Action Plan:
- Action G that aims to “invest in community-based programs that enhance the quality of life for communities.”
- Sub-actions G1 that “support community-led and activate efforts, offer capacity building/education opportunities to strengthen Hawai‘i Island’s product offerings.”
- G2 that “uplift approaches to tourism that are reflective of Hawai‘i Island and its different communities.”
Applicants’ ability to demonstrate how they might meet secondary Actions B and C in their proposal will be positively considered. Those actions and sub-actions include the following:
- Action B: “Develop resources and educational programs to perpetuate authentic Hawaiian culture and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.”
- Sub-action B5: “Increase support and opportunities for cultural practitioners and community members to interact. Educate the visitor industry and individual companies about place-based practices to become more place-based.”
- Sub-action B7: “Continue to support programs and projects that perpetuate the Hawaiian culture with the community and visitors.”
- Action C: “Support and promote ʻāina-based education and practices to protect and preserve our natural resources so that residents and visitors will aloha ʻāina.”
- Sub-action C1: “Identify, support, and partner with existing and new ʻāina-based groups that are protecting and stewarding wahi pana, cultural practices, and people.”
- Sub-action C3: “Support interested ʻāina-based groups to serve as interpretive educators, trainers, and/or cultural ambassadors to share cultural knowledge with the guest and visitor industry, tour operators, and other business owners.”
To view the request for proposals, visit https://www.hvcb.org/island-of-hawaii-dmap-rfp/.
Proposals are due by 4:30 p.m. HST on May 15, 2023, to Island of Hawai’i Visitors Bureau Destination Manager Rachel Kaiama at [email protected]. For more information, call 808-294-1737 or email [email protected].