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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.

Hali‘a aloha.


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.

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Freedom Marchers in Selma edit

For some, having a day off from work or school to celebrate an American Civil Rights activist may seem out of place or unnecessary, especially for those born and raised in Hawaiʻi. Today I invite you to look through a different lens.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did not only fight for Black/African Americans but for all people. Dr. King stood for equality and social change, peaceful conflict resolution, and social justice in every aspect of one’s life. His actions proved that one does not have to hold political power to create change or to stand for a purpose. Martin Luther King once said “everybody can be great...because anybody can serve. You do not have to have a college degree to serve. You do not have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

Dr. King was also inspired by Hawaiʻi and values that are held here. When Dr. King first came to Hawaiʻi, it was during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. He was inspired by the spirit of aloha that resides in these sacred islands, and the Hawaiians who lead by example through doing.

If you feel lead to take charge and stand for the Hawaiʻi values that inspired Dr. King, there are many avenues you can choose. You could participate in traditional Hawaiian events and/or activities that you and your family design in order to give back and take care. Take some time today and gather your family and friends and find a loʻi, a park, or a beach and mālama the ʻāina. Spend some time with kūpuna and plant something or weed a garden. If ʻāina based activities are not within reach, help a friend you know is in need with some kind of service. Paint a room. Visit kūpuna and spend time playing a game, singing a song, going for a walk, listening to their stories or anything you can dream up that can help another and lift their spirits. In those moments you exude greatness, you become the living message of aloha, and you become the healer.

Together we create the change by being people of greatness through aloha.

~ Trina Jones-Artis, graduate student and POL project assistant


Above:  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and fellow Freedom Marchers don fresh plumeria lei prior to their protest march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama. (©AFP/Getty Images)

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Papa Ola Lōkahi, as the designated Census Information Center in Hawai‘i,

is pleased to share the latest release from the Census Bureau:

Commuting Times, Median Rents and Language other than English Use in the Home on the Rise


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Hawai‘i-specific data may be found online: 


Some of the highlights from the statistics released today:

Language.  Among people at least five years old living in Hawaii in 2012-2016, 26 percent spoke a language other than English at home. Of those speaking a language other than English at home, 8 percent spoke Spanish and 92 percent spoke some other language; 49 percent reported that they did not speak English "very well."

Percent of the Population 5 years and over who Speak a Language other than English in Hawaii in 2012-2016

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Education.  In 2012-2016, 91 percent of people 25 years and over had at least graduated from high school and 31 percent had a bachelor's degree or higher. An estimated 9 percent did not complete high school. 

The total school enrollment in Hawaii was 333,800 in 2012-2016. Nursery school and kindergarten enrollment was 38,900 and elementary or high school enrollment was 195,500 children. College or graduate school enrollment was 99,500.

Educational Attainment of People in Hawaii in 2012-2016

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Papa Ola Lokahi acts as the Census Information Center in the Hawaii region and is here for all data inquiries and partnerships.  For more information, please call Ms. Emily Makahi at 808-597-6550.

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NHHSP logo color POL Logo









FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  December 18, 2017   PDF

Contact:          Kim Ku‘ulei Birnie, Communications Specialist, (808) 597-6550 or 383-1651

Interview:       M. Keaulana Holt, MSW, Director, Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program


Applications open for 2018-2019 Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship


The Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program (NHHSP), a program of Papa Ola Lōkahi (POL), is pleased to announce that it is now accepting applications from students in health care and allied health professions for the 2018-2019 academic year.  The deadline to apply online is March 18, 2018.

Awards are provided to students enrolled or enrolling full-time in an accredited college in Hawai‘i or the continental U.S.  Benefits include tuition, other school related expenses, and a monthly stipend. Upon completion of the degree and required training and licensure, the recipient shall serve two to four years of full-time employment in designated medically underserved sites in Hawai‘i.

“Our applicants all demonstrate that they are exceptional college students,” asserts NHHSP director Keaulana Holt.  “The ideal applicant will also understand the needs of their communities and be willing to apply their training and skills to improve the well-being back home.”

Applications are being accepted from students in clinical psychology, dentistry, dental hygiene, dietetics, marriage & family therapy, nursing, medicine, optometry, pharmacy, physician’s assistant, public health and social work.   

Nine scholarships were awarded earlier this year. More than 275 scholarship awards have been made in almost 20 different health and behavioral health disciplines since 1991.

“The success of this grow-your-own program is that the scholars and alumni all contribute to improving the health of the lāhui.”  POL executive director Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels says proudly.  “Even better, they are becoming the leaders in our lāhui. We’re nurturing Hawaiians to serve Hawaiians.”

The entire application process is online.  For more information about the Native Hawaiian Health Scholarship Program visit our website at www.nhhsp.org.

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Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee Approves Hirono Provisions to Expand Health Care Access

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Mazie K. Hirono, a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, voted in support of bipartisan legislation to continue funding for veterans’ health care programs, and improve the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Veterans Choice Program. The bill included several of Senator Hirono’s provisions to increase Hawaii veterans’ access to health care services, and passed the committee 14-1.

“The bipartisan legislation approved by the Veterans’ Affairs Committee today will help to ensure Hawaii veterans can access high quality VA care and health services when they need it, where they need it,” said Senator Hirono. “This bill gives our veterans more options, and I will continue to fight see it passed by the full Senate and signed into law so that Hawaii veterans can access the care they need from a strong, well-resourced VA system.”

The following Hirono provisions were included in the bill:

  • Language from the VETS Act, bipartisan legislation sponsored by Senator Hirono and Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) that would allow veterans to access VA telemedicine services from providers across state lines.
  • A provision to protect veterans’ access to care at Native Hawaiian Health Centers.
  • A provision including Native Hawaiian Health Care Centers as eligible entities for a new pilot program promoting VA medical residency training in rural areas.

“We’d like to thank Senator Hirono for her steadfast efforts to defend Native Hawaiian programs including the healthcare benefits that our Native Hawaiian veterans have earned with their service,” said Dr. Sheri-Ann Daniels, Executive Director of Papa Ola Lokahi. “Senator Hirono’s legislation to preserve NHHCS agreements with the VA will allow us to continue our efforts to improve access to healthcare and reach more veteran clients. We also appreciate her work to include NHHCS in the VA’s graduate medical residency training programs which will help strengthen Hawaii’s medical workforce. ”


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