“Kua ana nō i ka lā‘au o ke ali‘i, a no‘ono‘o aku ana nō i nā lā‘au ‘ōpiopio no ke ali‘i ‘ōpio, ‘oiai, a hala aku ho‘i kākou, a laila, ‘a‘ole ho‘i lākou e lilo i po‘e ali‘i ‘ilihune, ma muli o ko kākou ho‘omaopopo ‘ole i kēia kumu waiwai e pono ai nā ali‘i ‘ōpio no ka manawa e hiki mai ana.”
– Kamehameha I
“When cutting the wood for the ali‘i, be thinking of the young trees for the young ali‘i. After we have gone, they will not be poor because we did not under¬stand that this source of wealth will benefit the young ali‘i in the future.”
The adage above serves as a passionate reminder of the reason Hawai‘i’s landscapes are so important to po‘e Hawai‘i (Hawai‘i’s people) and Kamehameha’s beneficiaries and mission. It is a core principle that drives the work of Kamehameha’s Mālama ‘Āina (natural resources stewardship) and Wahi Kūpuna (cultural resources stewardship) programs.
Kamehameha Schools has a long history of stewardship over its natural and cultural resources dating back to the early 1900s, when trustees set aside lands in Kona mauka as a forest reserve. Today , the Natural and Cultural Resources Management (NCRM) team at Kamehameha Schools provides guidance, regulatory compliance and stewardship programs for Kamehameha Schools’ landholdings statewide, across five islands and 364,000 acres.
The genealogies of our people recognize a shared ancestry with the land and all the native life that exist upon them - plants, birds, fish, insects, aquifers, weather systems and land forms. Just as these elements evolved over many years to create the unique native ecosystems and landscapes of Hawaiʻi, so too have those ecosystems shaped the cultural identity, traditions and practices of Hawaiians as a people.”
– Amber Nāmaka Whitehead, Ecologist at Kamehameha Schools
The NCRM team supports the efforts of various Kamehameha Schools groups, and works with cultural, environmental and community organizations and individuals to identify, protect and preserve the natural and cultural landscapes of Kamehameha Schools lands. The NCRM mandate is to enhance and sustain Hawai‘i’s resources base to support the full suite of benefits including generation of fresh water, biodiversity of Hawaiʻi’s unique flora and fauna, sites and resources for traditional practices, opportunities for education, and the foundations of Hawaiian identity and well-being.