Maui News

Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani receives $85,000 from OHA

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Students from Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani pose with former Maui Mayor Michael Vittorino during an announcement in November of the County of Maui acquisition of ʻĪao Valley parcels from Hawai‘i Nature Center. PC: County of Maui / Shane Tegarden

Independent Hawaiian culture and language immersion school Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani today announced a grant award totaling $85,000 that will support the Native Hawaiian community through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Community ‘Ohana Grant. 

The grant will help to reinforce and strengthen Native Hawaiians’ healthy ‘ohana relationships by providing opportunities in communities to engage in ʻāina and moʻomeheu (culture) based activities that nurture the wellbeing of Hawaiian communities. 

With the $85,000 OHA grant award, Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani will revitalize and steward the Hawaiian Heritage Garden at Kepaniwai Park, a culturally rich community resource, through the collective efforts of school students, school ʻohana, and the Maui community to create a space where Hawaiian language, culture, traditions, identity, and sense of lāhui can all thrive.

Hale blessing event at Kepaniwai. (10.28.22) PC: County of Maui / Shane Tegarden

Over the next two years, native species and traditional plants for lei, lāʻau lapaʻau, dyeing, and other Hawaiian cultural practices will be planted and cultivated throughout the garden. In a collective effort, elementary school students and ‘ohana will mālama the area on a weekly basis, and periodic volunteer days and community workshops will be held.

“This grant gives our school the opportunity to serve as stewards of the Hawaiian Heritage Garden, a culturally rich area for the community to interface and engage in all things Hawaiian,” said Kahu Kekai Robinson, Poʻo Kula, Head of School. “This project will empower our school community, which largely includes Native Hawaiians from this vicinity, to share their knowledge of the environment and the uses for our resources in positive traditional ways. Everyone should keep an eye out for upcoming volunteer opportunities and workshops.”

The purpose of the OHA Community ‘Ohana Grant is to serve the Native Hawaiian lāhui in alignment with the strategic foundations, directions, and outcomes of 15-year Mana I Mauli Ola Strategic Plan.

PC: Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani.

Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani educates from a Hawaiian perspective through ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and traditional practices. The school is located at the ‘ili of Māniania in ʻĪao Valley, mauka of Kepaniwai.

Its mission is to nurture lifelong learners and passionate community leaders by cultivating an enriching environment of academic excellence grounded in Hawaiian culture and values. Its vision is an enriched modern education with engaged communities and nurtured families fluent in Hawaiian wisdom, knowledge, and language.

Since opening in 2016 with six students in grades K-1, the school now serves 42 students in grades K-5, and the parallel Ka Piko Kaiao program educates ‘ohana and community members in Hawaiian language and culture.


Applications for enrollment are currently open for the 2023-24 school year. Learn more at

Ke Kula ‘o Pi’ilani Open House, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020.

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