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Tehani Malterre, a 2019 graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama, was honored last week by the Honolulu City Council at Kapolei Hale for her dedication to the local community she now serves as the youngest member of the O‘ahu Neighborhood Board system to win a seat via the spring elections.

KSK graduate honored by Honolulu City Council as youngest member elected to O‘ahu Neighborhood Board

Oct. 14, 2019

As she worked diligently to finish her academic workload as a senior at Kamehameha Schools Kapālama earlier this year, Tehani Malterre was surprised to receive an email from KSK Po‘o Kula Dr. Taran Chun.

The call to action encouraged students who were at least 18 years old to consider running for positions on their local neighborhood board. As a young ‘ōiwi leader, Malterre decided to pursue the opportunity as a proactive way to help her ‘ohana and surrounding community and learn more about the important issues impacting her home area of East O‘ahu.

“It’s really important for me, and it’s a big responsibility that I’m really looking forward to taking on over the next two years as I represent the community and my family,” said Malterre. “Dr. Chun encouraged us to run, and I thought it was a really good opportunity to get involved and make positive changes. I hope to set a good example and do what is right for our lāhui.”

Malterre was honored last week by the Honolulu City Council at Kapolei Hale for her dedication to the local community she now serves as the youngest member of the O‘ahu Neighborhood Board system to win a seat via the spring elections.

Prior to graduating, Malterre campaigned and ran for a seat on the Hawai‘i Kai Neighborhood Board No. 1, Subdistrict 9, and was elected while finishing her studies as graduation approached. The 18-year-old public servant, who is currently studying environmental science at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, was one of 553 candidates who participated in the neighborhood board election process.

“I am proud of Tehani for her service as one of the youngest elected officials in Honolulu,” Councilmember Tommy Waters said. “She represents a new generation of civic-minded young adults who will shape the future of our city. As a Kamehameha Schools graduate myself, I cannot help but think that the legacy of Princess Pauahi Bishop continues to be carried forward by the efforts of young servant-leaders like Tehani.”

O‘ahu’s neighborhood board system is one of the most sophisticated and impactful in the United States, and was created to increase community participation in the decision-making process of government. Since 1975, local neighborhood boards have thrived in a system that channels grassroots participation in government, addresses the issues and concerns affecting local communities, and advises the mayor and city councilmembers.

“It’s humbling to watch the next generation of Kamehameha alumni blaze new trails,” said Dr. Chun. “Tehani’s dedication to make a meaningful impact in her community is a blueprint we want each of our graduates to leave our halls with. We look forward to watching her create the kind of change our state, the nation and the world will need.”

As a neighborhood board member, Malterre will participate in activities ranging from the study and review of capital improvement projects and zoning concerns, to educational programs on governmental decision-making processes that help solidify and elevate the goals, objectives, and priorities of the Hawai‘i Kai community.

Malterre gained an understanding of and appreciation for the preservation of open spaces and the need for community stakeholders to work together to mālama ‘āina by volunteering with Mālama Maunalua and Livable Hawai‘i Kai Hui, two organizations that promote environmental health and cultural revival within the Hawai‘i Kai community. The honors student excelled in sports and showed an interest in public service, and this opportunity will allow Malterre to continue to set the example for future generations of budding leaders.

civic engagement, ʻōiwi leaders

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