KS alumni encourage engagement in 2023 neighborhood board elections

Feb. 7, 2023

ʻŌiwi leadership starts local. More and more Native Hawaiians are getting involved in the hard work of government. Many leaders are starting at the grassroots – on their neighborhood boards. In the last neighborhood board election in 2021, about one-third of the candidates elected were Native Hawaiian, including dozens of Kamehameha Schools alumni. Candidate filing for the 2023 neighborhood board elections has already begun.

Tehani Malterre KSK ‘19 was first elected to her neighborhood board when she was still in high school at KS Kapālama. Malterre is now finishing her final semester at UH Mānoa, and her second term as a member of the Hawai‘i Kai Neighborhood Board.

“Having diverse perspectives on the neighborhood board is important for representing the communities that we serve, and for bringing various groups together to find solutions,” she said.

Elena Farden KSK ‘93 is the executive director of the Native Hawaiian Education Council, where she champions Hawaiian education programs at the federal level. As a board member of the Makiki/Lower Punchbowl/Tantalus Neighborhood Board, she believes the hyper-local neighborhood boards are important venues to learn and make change.

“Serving on my board is honoring lived experiences on critical issues like traffic and pedestrian safety, affordable housing, and environmental impact,” said Farden. “It has refined my decision-making skills and helped me build relationships with officials who serve my community.”

Ka‘ano‘i Walk KSK ‘99 is a senior policy analyst for Kamehameha Schools’ Hi‘ialo Group and a tireless advocate for Native Hawaiian learners. He is also the current chair of the Kahalu‘u Neighborhood Board.

“I decided to run out of a sense of kuleana to give back and lead but also the encouragement from kānaka like Samuel Kippen KSK ‘07, who established a network of support for all of us interested in this service. My time as chair has taught me so much about leadership, determination, and aloha,” said Walk. “I encourage all kānaka to run for your neighborhood board and if elected, to serve. Not just for us in the present but for the generations to come.”

Interested in running for a position on your neighborhood board? File online by Friday, Feb. 17.