Hundreds Gathered for the 15th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention

Kapolei Letterhead 2013


October 19, 2016


Hundreds Gathered for the 15th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention

Honolulu, HI – More than three hundred attendees came together at the Sheraton Waikiki from October 10-12 for the 15th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.

The annual event was upbeat and buzzing with all things Hawaiian.  From The Marketplace featuring Native Hawaiian art, clothing, accessories, food and resources to the presentations by Native Hawaiian organizations from across the state. The event was a collaborative, solutions-based affair featuring over 10 award presentations highlighting achievements in all sectors of community, workshops, networking, and collaboration.

betty-jenkins  Left: Aunty Betty Jenkins received the Native Hawaiian Health Award from Papa Ola Lokahi.

Highlights included a presentation on the draft Native Hawaiian Constitution by CNHA President and CEO, Michelle Kauhane.   Kauhane presented the content of the document that resulted from the ‘aha held in February 2016.  She expressed to participants that the document does not guarantee recognition by any government.  Instead, ” the draft constitution sets up a unicameral democracy by Hawaiians for Hawaiians,” said Kauhane.

The Housing and Homestead Caucuses highlighted thkeanuenue-desotoe need for a continuum of housing services with a focus on affordable units to address homelessness.  In addition, policy advocates are focusing on the construction of affordable rental units owned and operated by beneficiaries of the Hawaiian homelands trust. The Next Generation Caucus focused on civic engagement and asked important questions about what civic engagement looks like in various forms. Guest panelists included Mehana Hind, Rep. Jarett Keohokalole, Kaleiaina Lee, and Kamaile Maldonado, and were facilitated by Hawaiinuiakea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Right: Keanuenue DeSoto receives the Native Hawaiian Small Business Award from CNHA’s Community Loan Fund. 

The Small Business Caucus focused on discussion about access to capital resources, using local CDFI’s as a resource, and economic development in community, ultimately including a variety of small business in the discussion of progress in this sector. A full report of the policy priorities will be released by our Policy Center.
convention-plenaryLeft: Attendees sit in the main plenary session on the second day of the 15th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention.

In collaboration with the Hawaiian Way Fund and CNHA member, Pu’uhonua Society, the Sheraton Waikiki commissioned a mural painting for their Aloha Landing. Convention guests were able to watch the finishing touches go up in the three days of convention and had the opportunity to meet the artists, Kai Kaulukukui and Corey Taum. This piece, named “I Lei Aloha Nou- A Lei of Love for You” depicts a plumeria lei being delicately sewn, a traditional symbol of hospitality in Hawaii.



Left: Native Hawaiian artists completed this mural, “I Lei Aloha Nou” in the Aloha Landing of the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

muralThe success of the 15th Annual Native Hawaiian Convention was made possible by the support of its many sponsors, the members of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, and the numerous partners who attend each year.  A post-convention digital report will include links to all workshops and caucus resources, data from the convention, and major highlights with photos. For more information about the Annual Native Hawaiian Convention, contact or visit

CNHA is a national network of Native Hawaiian Organizations, providing assistance in accessing capital and technical resources, and is a policy voice on issues important to Native Hawaiian communities. Its mission is to enhance the cultural, economic, political, and community development of Native Hawaiians.  For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll-free at 1.800.709.2642, by e-mail at, or at


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