Maui News

Hawaiian immersion school Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani awarded $77,700 OHA grant

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  • PC: Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani
  • PC: Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani
  • PC: Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani
  • Ke Kula ‘o Pi’ilani Open House, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020.
  • PC: Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani.
  • PC: Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani.
  • Students of Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani PC: Kim Thayer (file 2019)

Independent Hawaiian culture and language immersion school Ke Kula ʻO Piʻilani today announced a grant award totaling $77,700 that will support the Native Hawaiian community through the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi Community Research Grant.

The grant advances policies, programs, and practices that strengthen ʻāina health, focuses on cultural preservation, and perpetuates Hawaiian culture, language, traditions, identity and sense of community.

This $77,700 OHA grant will be used to further enhance the Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani community language project, Ka Piko Kaiao, to create a village of Hawaiian language speakers around their immersion students.


The project aims to educate parents and caregivers of multiple generations alongside their children and equip entire families and their surrounding community with both the knowledge of Hawaiian language and the cultural context and practices that bring it to life.

Kahu Kekai Robinson, Poʻokula, Head of School, says, “Ka Piko Kaiao is our commitment to create greater access to Hawaiian culture and language, to uplift Hawaiian values, and to equip families with the skills and knowledge needed to create a powerful village of speakers. Across all generations, Native Hawaiians are ever more active and engaged in community affairs, locally and globally. This is a future we encourage and want to grow, and so we hope to elevate our community in preparation to receive empowered and articulate kānaka grounded in traditional Hawaiian wisdom and ready to lead through service.”

Ka Piko Kaiao is a weekly two-hour class at Ke Kula ʻo Piʻilani over a 10-month period starting in August. Registration opens on July 1 and space is limited. More information is available online at


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.

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.

Opening in 2016 with six students, the school now serves 58 students in grades K-5. Applications for enrollment in Kindergarten for School Year 2024-2025 will open in January of 2025.


Established by the state Constitutional Convention in 1978, OHA is a semi-autonomous state agency mandated to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians. Guided by a board of nine publicly elected trustees, OHA fulfills its mandate through advocacy, research, community engagement, land management and the funding of community programs.

OHA’s Grants Program supports nonprofit organizations whose projects and programs serve the Native Hawaiian community and align with OHA’s Strategic Plan.


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