July 22, 2022, 10:45 AM HST
* Updated July 22, 8:48 AM
The 21st annual Native Hawaiian Convention in Honolulu, hosted by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, included a panel of the state’s four county mayors discussing the relationship of regenerative tourism with community, culture and the environment.
“Aloha is the essence of Hawaiʻi, and regenerative tourism really means being aloha,” Maui Mayor Michael Victorino said. “The hospitality industry needs to give back more than it takes and recognize that each community is unique.
“What works in south Maui may not work in Molokaʻi or Hāna. We have to build connections with our communities.”
More than 1,500 community members are attending the convention that included hula by Ka Lā ʻŌnohi Mai ʻŌ Haʻehaʻe and Piʻikea Lopes, Miss Aloha Hula 2022.
The convention, with a theme of hulihia, featured an in-depth discussion about the Red Hill fuel spill crisis on Oʻahu. The panelists:
- Wayne Tanaka – Director Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi
- Kathleen Ho – Deputy Director for Environment Health, Hawaiʻi State Department of Health
- Ernie Lau – Chief Engineer, Honolulu Board of Water Supply
- Rear Admiral Stephen Barnett – Commander, Navy Region Hawaiʻi
Lau emphasized the urgency of continued engagement, stating: “[We] will have to find a way to work together for the good of our people, for the good of the wai, to protect it, to clean it up, to empty out the fuel as soon as possible.”