September 13, 2023

Maui nonprofit Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia aims to live values of Aloha

The grassroots nonprofit Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia is dedicated to preserving and promoting Aloha and its values of deep affection and love throughout the world. It nurtures na haumana (students), na ohana (families) and wahi noho like o ka poe (communities) with programs rooted in the wisdom of kupuna (elders) and aumakua (ancestors).

Founded in 2017 by Paulo Faleafine Jr., the organization’s name translates to “the things experienced and revealed.”

“All youth of every identity, race, and creed are welcome to belong here,” Faleafine said. “You do not need to be Native Hawaiian to join. You only need to be committed to live in Aloha.”

With a focus on education, conservation, and community engagement, Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia empowers individuals and fosters a deeper understanding of Hawaiian traditions, language, and natural resources.

Through various programs and initiatives, Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia aims to connect people with the land, language, and arts that make Hawaii unique.

Education of Hawaii’s youth is one of Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia’s core missions.

“Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia is an organization like no other,” said M. Leonard, a member of the Royal Guard since 2021. “A grassroots organization which seeks to take the ancient wisdom and traditions from our kupuna, and transfer them to the youth of today. This combination of Native Hawaiian philosophy, with modern tools, makes the organization very valuable to challenged and vulnerable youth.”

The organization has programs to restore cultural harmony for Native Hawaiian youth and families.

Na Koa Kia‘i Ali‘i Hawai`i (The Royal Hawaiian Guard) is the group’s youth development program. It symbolizes resilience and Native Hawaiian identity. Youth who volunteer to serve in the Guard learn values, cultural perspectives, and native-sourced history. The Guard is a living symbol of Aloha and excellence that serves to support Native Hawaiian events with protocols and ceremonial functions as an Honor Guard and provide high school level coaching and competition support in the art of Hawaii military-style drill. Groups served by the guard include military personnel, at-risk youth, young adults, and Native Hawaiians.

The Aloha Means program challenges people to discover Aloha's meaning and incorporate it into their lives. The program has two projects:

  • The Hawaii Aloha project is an interactive learning map with cultural stories in partnership with Hawaii schools.
  • The Royal Tribute to Hawaii’s Sovereign is a three-day event in Honolulu that commemorates the legacy of Queen Lili‘uokalani and her example of Aloha with a focus on uniting the community as Kupa Hawai‘i (Hawaii Citizens) moving forward to self-determination.

Groups served by the programs include young adults, adolescents, Native Hawaiians.

Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia is among partners promoting the Ho‘omahua Initiative, which was formed to harness smart, regenerative, community-based tourism to create thriving communities. The initiative’s goals include:

  • Advancing Native Hawaiian economic resilience;
  • Perpetuating Native Hawaii culture;
  • Improving tourism management and community planning;
  • Growing a Hawaii circular economy;
  • Positively impacting communities through tourism and technology.

The initiative aims to use cutting-edge technology to connect visitors with Native Hawaiian community businesses and organizations while providing real-time data on the flow and traffic to island hot spots heavily impacted by tourism.

As a nonprofit organization, Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia relies on the support and contributions of individuals, businesses and organizations. Donations and partnerships play a crucial role in enabling the organization to continue its work of preserving Hawaiian culture and empowering communities.

For more information about Na Mea ‘Ike ‘Ia and their initiatives, visit their website at Donations are gratefully accepted.