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2,400 acres in Kohala gifted to Hawaii Community Foundation as part of stewardship center

Plans are underway for an ahupua’a in Kohala.
Published: May. 1, 2022 at 5:13 PM HST|Updated: May. 2, 2022 at 6:09 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Plans are underway for an ahupua’a in Kohala.

The New Moon Foundation and Kohala Institute gifted 2,400 acres of land to the Hawaii Community Foundation.

Jason Fujimoto, board chair of Kohala Institute, said New Moon Foundation and Kohala Institute have been making about $16 million worth of improvements to facilities at the Iole Stewardship Center over the past 20 years, including a three-story dormitory, cottages, chapel and fish farm.

“We’re just excited you know, we’re turning a new leaf and there’s a new chapter for Iole.”

Micah Kane, CEO and President of the Hawaii Community Foundation, said the focus of the research center in Kohala is to develop sustainability solutions for energy, water, and food.

And hopefully make living in Hawaii more affordable.

“We live in a place right now, where our economy is really hollowing out our middle class and I think Iole will be an important tool for us to start critically thinking about what that future might look like,” Kane said.

“We saw during the pandemic a need for us to be much more food independent and that’s why that’s a key pillar in this effort.”

The non-profit is bringing together Native Hawaiian practitioners and academic experts to develop sustainability solutions rooted in ancestral knowledge and indigenous practices.

“I think we’ve had solutions dictated to us for a long time and this is a place where we’re going to find solutions together,” said Interim CEO of Iole, Alapaki Nahale-a. Kane said they’re teaming up with two universities, UH and Arizona State as the living scientific laboratory will also be a learning place.

“For us, the excitement is around the opportunity to really understand explore and create a 21st century ahupua’a,” said UH President, David Lassner. “That’s something that is not well understood today.”

“We’ve come to the point where the world’s future is going to be completely dependent upon two things, us figuring out how to move to connect to the planet in new ways,” said Arizona State University President, Michael Crow. “And Native Hawaiian culture and other indigenous cultures really mastered that.”

“And modern culture has not mastered that, in fact, we’ve gone in the opposite direction, so we have much to learn.”

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