McKenna Maduli, host of Talk Story, takes us virtually to connect with Native Hawaiian educator and social media influencer ʻIʻini Kahakalau at her home in Waipiʻo Valley on the Island of Hawai’i. ʻIʻini has gone viral with thousands of followers watching her educational and often hilarious Tik Tok videos. ʻIʻini says, “That’s what I’ve been trying to do, trying to teach values and traditions that we have, but in a lighter, funnier context.” Along with her family, she has founded KŪ-A-KANAKA providing Hawaiian language and culture products and services including professional development, cooking and food preparation classes. She has also created a game called “Cards for 808” to encourage people to get together and connect while having fun and learning about local Hawaiian culture and issues. Her motto and mission statement is: When Natives Thrive Everyone Benefits!
ABOUT: ʻIʻinimaikalani Kahakalau is a Native Hawaiian businesswoman, educator, web designer, artist, and ʻāina protector, born and raised in Waipiʻo Valley on the island of Hawaiʻi. Immersed in Hawaiian language and culture from birth, ʻIʻini has been involved in Hawaiian protocol and ceremonies all of her life. A graduate of Kanu o ka ʻĀina Charter School, ʻIʻini was a Chancellorʻs Scholar at UH Hilo where she earned a Bachelors in Liberal Studies, a minor in Hawaiian Studies, and a Certificate in Computer Science. In 2017, ʻIʻini and her mother Dr. Kū Kahakalau became equal partners in Kū-A-Kanaka, a Native Hawaiian Social Enterprise advancing Hawaiian Language and Culture, where ʻIʻini has spearheaded Cards for 808, a fun party game for locals. For the past year, ʻIʻiniʻs primary focus has been opening up Kapapa Loʻi o Kealiʻikuaʻāina, a 5-acres of taro patch complex in Waipiʻo Valley to contribute to Hawaiʻi food sovereignty.