We at Papa Ola Lōkahi are sad to hear of the passing of our past-president Aunty Wilma Holi.
Aunty Wilma Healani Holi came from Hanapēpē, Kaua‘i, where her family still maintains their traditional salt pond. She is a direct descendant of Lot Kapuāiwa, Kamehameha V.
Aunty Wilma was a teacher and librarian on Kaua‘i for more than 40 years. According to a bio she submitted to DLNR, she received a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with emphasis in Health and Physical Education, followed by a Master’s Degree in Education from Pepperdine University in 1979. In 1996, she received a second Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Active in her community, she was recruited to the board of Ho‘ōla Lāhui Hawai‘i, the Native Hawaiian Health Care System serving the island of Kaua‘i. During her tenure as president, she also served on the board of directors of Papa Ola Lōkahi, eventually serving as our 3rd president.
On Kaua‘i, she was a staunch supporter of HLH’s efforts to establish the island’s first community health center—Kaua‘i Community Health Center—which has two locations, and a pharmacy that continues to make medications available at a discount across the Hawaiian Islands. She travelled with POL to Washington, D.C. to advocate for Hawaiian health programs and resources. Later, she participated in the efforts to establish a College of Pharmacy at the University of Hawai‘i – Hilo.
"We are sorry about her passing," says David Peters, chief executive officer of Ho‘ōla Lāhui Hawai‘i. "We wish for her family comfort in their time of grieving."
She was active in her community on Kaua‘i and beyond. She occupied Kaho‘olawe in the early days and her testimony before the U.S. Navy is preserved in history in the film Kaho‘olawe Aloha ‘Āina. More recently, she presided over Contested Case Hearings related to Mauna Kea and testified as a witness.
Her life’s work is extensive and includes hurricane recovery efforts and involvement in education, athletics, housing, and mentoring students.
Aunty Wilma is survived by two Godchildren Raiātea (niece) & Kapono Makanaonālani; sisters Gwen, Belle Ka‘iwi, Mona Joy and Henrietta Helm.
Services will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, February 10th at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 4580 Ehiku Street, Līhu‘e. Casual attire.
Condolences may be sent to PO Box 368, Hanapēpē, HI 96716.
Above photo of Aunty Wilma Holi was taken at Washington Place at the 2005 Ka‘ōnohi Awards, over which she presided. Photo by Caitlin Scott.