Tag Archives: Keahi Warfield

PUEO to Rotary: TMT Offers Educational Opportunities We Shouldn’t Miss

Keahi Warfield, president of the native Hawaiian group Perpetuating Unique Education Opportunities (PUEO), spoke at the Rotary Club of Honolulu Tuesday. He said the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) offers educational opportunities we shouldn’t pass up.

PUEO
Keahi Warfield, PUEO President

Rotary sign

PUEO
Mitch D’Olier, past president of the Rotary Club of Honolulu

From the Honolulu Star-Advertiser:

Pro-telescope group touts educational benefits

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, Associated Press

August 17, 2016

Building a giant telescope atop Mauna Kea will come with educational opportunities that Hawaii shouldn’t close the door to, the president of a Native Hawaiian group that supports the project said.

Perpetuating Unique Educational Opportunities President Keahi Warfield told a Waikiki hotel banquet room filled with members of the Rotary Club of Honolulu on Tuesday that he believes there’s a “silent majority” of the public who support the Thirty Meter Telescope….

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And I strongly agree – both that the TMT has educational opportunities for our Big Island keiki that we cannot pass up, and about the “silent majority” in favor of the project.

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Richard Ha, Keahi Warfield

I introduced Keahi before he spoke and here’s what I said:

Who are we? I’m from the Kamahele family in lower Puna. My great-great grandfather had 12 boys and one daughter. All the Kamaheles are related.

I’ve been farming for 30 years. Our farm is Hamakua Springs, which is on 600 fee-simple acres. I describe us as being a triple bottom-line farmer. To be sustainable we need to be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. The “social” aspect includes culture and education. It includes all of us, not just a few of us. This is the part I am especially focused on.

The County of Hawaii has the lowest median family income, and the highest suicide and homelessness rates. The game changer is education. It’s not the largest, strongest or the smartest that survives – it’s the ones who can adapt to change.

The pluses have to exceed the minuses or you go extinct. That applies to organisms and organizations as well as civilizations.

Education is the game changer that allows us to adapt.

Regarding the TMT: Henry Yang is the president of the TMT. And he’s the type of person you can do business with on a handshake. He and Jean-Lou Chameau, the former president of Cal Tech and now president of the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia, visited the Big Island 15 times. They became well known in the community.

One visit to Keaukaha was memorable. They dropped in unexpectedly at a Kupuna Day function. They had become so familiar that the people greeted them with, “Come, come, come, go eat.”

Keiki education is the common denominator that everyone on all sides of the issue can agree upon. That’s how the THINK fund was born. The THINK Fund is a one million annual contribution to Big Island student education from the Thirty Meter Telescope. They left it to the community to choose the direction.

I’ve been in the middle of this issue for nearly ten years, and I am very pleased that PUEO has taken a seat at the table.

I have noticed in the last few months that public opinion is shifting. In the Ward Research poll just released, the number opposed to the TMT has gone down from 39 percent to 31 percent. I have a Facebook page that talks about ag and energy and I’ve noticed many more Hawaiian surname “likes,” compared to just three months ago. I also notice more young people participating. This is the most encouraging part to me.

My role now is support. I can see the young people starting to come out and I could not be more pleased.

The PUEO group is made up of very credible native Hawaiian people. In all my years of knowing them, they only talk about the community, the keiki, and future generations. I am very proud to be allowed to work with these people. 

Keahi is the perfect leader for PUEO. I’ll do everything I can to support his efforts. Aloha

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Ceremony for Lau Ola Groundbreaking a Success

We gathered at the farm yesterday for a Lau Ola groundbreaking ceremony. We stood where the 25,000-square-foot facility for our medical marijuana growing operation will be built.

It was a nice turnout; around 60 people. It was great to look around and see so many of our friends and neighbors from the community.

Lau Ola groundbreaking

I spoke about how we are a triple bottom-line company. I said we believe in sustainability, and for our company to be sustainable it must be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. “Socially” includes our workers and our neighbors, and I told the people there I want them to be comfortable coming to talk to me any time they need. I really mean that.

Keahi Warfield set an inclusive tone while he gave the blessing. He chanted while he and I walked the dirt where the new growing facility is going in and he blessed it with pa‘akai.

Lau Ola groundbreaking

We took some pictures with shovels and invited everyone to take a shovel and be a part of it.
Lau Ola groundbreaking

Lau Ola groundbreaking Lau Ola groundbreaking

It was really a nice gathering. Everyone felt great afterward. We are off to a good start.

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DOT Turns Over Palekai to Youth Education Group

On Monday, the Hawai‘i State Department of Transportation signed over about four acres of land at Keaukaha’s Palekai, formerly known as Radio Bay, to the non-profit group Keaukaha One Youth Development.

Palekai

The 12-month revocable permit will allow Keahi Warfield and others in the community, including Patrick Kahawaiola‘a, president of the Keaukaha Community Association, to spearhead a community project to restore the double-hulled navigating canoe Hokualaka‘i.

Palekai

The terms of the revokable permit are for twelve months, and then the Harbors Divison has the option to extend for an additional 30 calendar days. Extensions beyond the 30 days will require Land Board Approval.

It was a beautiful, breezy sunny day when the signing ceremony took place, outside next to the bay. Hokualaka‘i was on one side of the gathering and Mauna Kea was a backdrop across the bay on the other. Community members, legislators and employees from the Department of Transportation were present.

signing2

Keahi Warfield, who runs a children’s after-school program there on the site, said Keaukaha is an ocean community, and the purpose of the non-profit is to ensure children understand ocean activities.

Hawai‘i State Senator Lorraine Inouye spoke about the transfer of Palekai being unusual and a special day for the community.

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“Rarely do you see this kind of transfer happen between the state and a community,” she said. “It’s nice to know agencies and the state respond to a community’s request.”

patrick kahawaiolaa

Kahawaiola‘a spoke too, calling it a momentous occasion and a first. “We will have to live up to the example so more partnerships like this can be made throughout the State.”

They will, he said. “We are fierce Keaukaha people. We will work hard and we will show you what we can do.”

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Keaukaha Gets Double-Hulled Voyaging Canoe

The greatest thing is happening down in Keaukaha.

It started because a lonely, double-hulled voyaging canoe – the type that could travel across the ocean from Hawai‘i to, say, Tahiti – had been bobbing in Hilo Bay, untended, for ten long years.

Keahi Warfield, who teaches kids to paddle canoes at an afterschool program he runs on the beach there, and Patrick Kahawaiola‘a, president of the Keaukaha Community Association, had been watching it for years.

“The tide would change and it would turn this way, that way,” says Patrick. “It’s like it was waving, ‘Hey, what about me?!’”

The canoe, called the Hokualaka‘i, was owned by the Hawaiian immersion preschool program Aha Punana Leo. Keahi says their plan had been to take students traveling between the islands, visiting different communities and promoting the Hawaiian language. That program never got off the ground, though, and the canoe stayed in the ocean for a decade.

“I think they wanted to donate it to an organization that could use and take care of it,” says Keahi, a former Hawaiian immersion school teacher now working on his Ph.D.

And that finally happened: He and Patrick have just signed an agreement with Aha Punana Leo to take ownership of the voyaging canoe.

It all fits. Keahi says he started his afterschool program after working in the school system and seeing students so caught up in testing and missing out on other things he thought they really needed. Keahi, who trained on the Kawaihae-based Makali‘i when he was in high school, sees the canoe as an incredible learning tool.

Patrick talks about how Keaukaha School was in “corrective action” for 25 years. “We lost four generations,” he says, until Kumu Lehua Veincent became principal and turned it all around. Changes since then have been amazing, everyone agrees, but there’s still ground to make up.

They both talk about how the Keaukaha community acts as surrogate parents for its kids. And that’s where the voyaging canoe, the Hokualaka‘i, comes in.

They are helping lead the effort for the Keaukaha community to restore and use the Hokualaka‘i for its kids and families to regain a relationship with the wa‘a (canoe), the island, the ocean, and the culture.

Keahi and Patrick have also just signed an agreement with the Department of Transportation for a more formal arrangement regarding the land at Palekai where Keahi’s afterschool program meets – and where the canoe is now firmly on land, awaiting repairs after all those years in the water, waiting to become seaworthy again.

Now there’s a lot of work to be done. It’s the earliest stages now, but it’s such a great project.

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