Kūʻikeokalani “Kūʻike” Kamakea-Ohelo is a Waimānalo native and is the Project Director of our Kupa ʻAina Demonstration Natural Farming Project. He believes in connecting to the land, the importance of the greater ʻāina, and can always be heard saying: “you are what you eat.”
“My goal,” says Kūʻike about his work with Kupa ʻAina, “is always to just create impact — a rediscovering of our identity through food.”
Kūʻike’s affiliation to Partners in Development Foundation started accidentally — his daughters went through the Nā Pono No Nā ʻOhana preschool program several years back. When PIDF president and founder Jan Dill decided to start a program focused on sustainability in Hawaiʻi, Kūʻike was an easy choice.
Jan describes Kūʻike as a man committed to Hawaiian culture and to the role of the ʻāina in the lives of Hawaiian people. “What he does, what he is committed to, is consistent with our desire to bless our community and to help our community become resilient and healthy,” says Jan.
John “Prime” Hina has known Kūʻike for some time. Prime is the architect of 808 Urban, a Hawaiian nonprofit arts organization that seeks to teach Hawaiian cultural traditions and stories through street art.
“Kūʻike, if you can believe it or not, is one of our artists,” Prime jokes. Kūʻike is also one of the cultural specialists Prime and the rest of the 808 Urban ʻohana talks with to gain insight on projects.
On making connections to the land, Prime explains that reconnecting to the ʻāina is so much more than that. It includes the ocean, the sky, our whole environment around us. What this means for us, and what Kūʻike does through his work, is shifting perspectives.
“What [Kūʻike] is doing is contradicting what we think we know as far as land, as far as how we operate… when you put it in a Hawaiian lens, you see things differently and you move differently.”
Prime goes on to say, “Kūʻike is love. Love of land, love of culture, love of everything.”