Kohala Center among groups to receive portions of $1 million in federal funding

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Kohala Center
Kohala Center

The Kohala Center on the Big Island is one of eight Native Hawaiian organizations that will receive $1 million in funding from the U.S. Department of the Interior to implement the NATIVE Act, 2016 legislation authored by Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) to help empower Native communities through cultural tourism.

Each of the eight groups works to preserve and share Native Hawaiian culture and traditions with visitors. The Kohala Center will use its funding to enhance resilience at Kahaluʻu Bay by increasing respectful engagement of the nearshore reef area by community and visitors.

“These grants are making sure Native Hawaiian organizations have federal resources to integrate Native Hawaiian culture into visitor experiences and drive sustainable tourism opportunities throughout the state,” said Sen. Schatz, chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs.


The new funding, part of the Interior Department’s HŌʻIHI grant program, will support a number of educational programs for visitors, in turn helping to create jobs, increase living standards, and expand economic opportunities for the Native Hawaiian Community. The remainder of Native Hawaiian organizations receiving funding include:

  • Hāna Arts, for the Hana Noʻeau: A Native Hawaiian Arts & Culture Education Program, which will create inclusive educational opportunities targeting the students of Hāna High School and Elementary School as well as the wider community
  • Hawaiʻi Land Trust, for the Hawaiʻi Land Trust Cultural & Ecological Preservation & Education programs, which will increase resident and visitor connection to four community preserves
  • Hiʻipaka LLC, for Hōʻihi no Waimea, which will engage visitors in authentic, interactive cultural activities providing an enriched understanding of and appreciation for Native Hawaiian culture
  • Hōlani Hāna, for Kāhea a Ka‘uiki, which will grow the community’s understanding of Ka‘uiki’s cultural, spiritual, environmental, and social significance while building a strong foundation for community-led tourism interventions in Hāna, Maui
  • Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, to conduct workshops at the Heʻeia, Oʻahu farm site engaging visitors and community in experiences in hands-on loi management activities and workshops on Hawaiian agriculture and ʻāina management
  • Mālama Loko Ea Foundation, to provide a variety of culturally informed visitor experiences including community and visitor workdays, hosted community events, and virtual tours to allow visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history, culture, and life of Loko Ea fishpond in Hale‘iwa, Oʻahu
  • Waimea Hawaiian Homestead Association, to celebrate Hawaiian culture, language, arts, and traditional Hawaiian customary practices by engaging in several island-wide events and contests


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