Rediscovering Hawaiʻi’s Soul

Hawai‘i faces uncertain times for which there is no existing roadmap to guide the way. Rediscovering Hawai‘i’s Soul (RHS) is a collective effort that requires urgency and commitment from all of us who call Hawai‘i home.

It is a journey that includes the collaborative efforts of partners from multiple sectors and across the islands. It is a network-convening movement to build a shared understanding of the depth of meaning, history, and value of Hawai‘i—the Soul of Hawai‘i. We invite you to join us.

Living and Leading with Hawai‘i’s Soul

Intrinsic to Hawaiian culture, identity, and consciousness is the fundamental belief that Native Hawaiians lived in harmony with the universe. A deep understanding of sense of place by the original stewards of this land carried with it a sacred responsibility to care for the natural elemental forces and life cycle ecosystems of the environment.

This ancestral ‘ike (deep knowledge) is rooted in the philosophy of island consciousness and reciprocity, and it is reflected in traditional practices and beliefs. So today, as we reimagine a future for Hawai‘i that is thriving, inclusive, and grounded in Hawaiian values and our diverse cultures, it is incumbent on us to rediscover what it means to live and to lead with Hawai‘i’s Soul.

To that end, the Hawai‘i Executive Collaborative (HEC) and its partners convened a diverse group of leaders—Native Hawaiian elders, and business and nonprofit professionals from organizations across Hawai‘i—who have been gathering in different configurations to examine the possible futures of Hawai‘i and grapple with how to encapsulate the essence of Hawai‘i’s Soul in words and actions.

The tangible, cross-sector collaborations that have resulted from this generative network are testament to the trust and respect being forged to find a collective way forward.

The RHS Journey

Creation of 4 Possible Futures of Hawai‘i Scenarios

In 2022, at the invitation of HEC and with the guidance of Reos Partners, a Scenario Team of 43 leaders from diverse sectors and backgrounds in Hawai‘i met for two in-person workshops to craft four possible futures of Hawai‘i scenarios.

RHS Network Expansion

Through a series of scenario briefings and implications workshops, the RHS network grew to include more than 100 organizations. The scenarios were shared with businesses and community organizations as a strategic planning tool to be used to provoke new thinking, make opportunities and threats more visible, and enable richer, more useful conversations about what Hawai‘i must do to nourish and sustain Hawai‘i’s Soul. The scenarios served as a springboard for the expansion of the RHS network and basis for transformative personal and institutional work of its members.

Building a Collaborative Agenda

In 2023, the inaugural RHS Network gathering included more than 250 individuals invited to co-create a collaborative agenda. Participants self-selected into groups that focused on pivotal aspects within the community that can be addressed through the RHS collective agenda and topics, or choice points, were identified. The focus has evolved to support the groups working on these choice points:

  1. How do we integrate the teachings of Hawai‘i’s Soul into our actions?
  2. How do climate and energy intersect with other critical issues?
  3. How do we promote equity?
  4. How does Hawai‘i’s Soul influence our education system?
  5. How do we shape the future of tourism in Hawai‘i?
  6. What sacrifices and trade-offs are necessary for our state to embrace Hawai‘i’s Soul?
  7. What do we do to keep Hawaiians in Hawai‘i?
  8. What does the military’s presence in Hawai‘i look like?
  9. What happens to ceded lands?
  10. What is our relationship to ‘āina?
  11. How is power exercised?
  12. What do we do to promote economic well-being?
  13. What does success look like and how do we measure it?

SAVE THE DATE: 2024 RHS Network Gathering – July 24-26

Register Here

How Hawai‘i’s Soul Thrives

For those of us who call Hawai‘i home, we must recognize that our thinking is shaped by these islands. Developing a mindset of island consciousness and deep understanding of our reciprocal relationship (pilina) with ‘āina and people is essential to how we live in this place that we love.

When Hawai‘i’s people—no matter where they come from or how long ago—realize their shared kuleana (responsibility) to embrace these indigenous practices, then aloha thrives and robust outcomes ensue for the kaiāulu (community), mo‘omeheu (culture), and ‘āina momona (land).

Listen to Our Kūpuna

Dr. Kawaikapuokalani Frank Hewett, Hulu Kupuna, Kumu Hula, and a member of the RHS Scenario Team, provides his reflection on Hawai‘i’s Soul.

Reconnect the disconnect.

- Kūhaʻo Zane

Circle of Life for Us is the essence of Hawai‘i’s Soul. We will always have life here if we understand the big movement of reciprocity or aloha.

- Aunty Pua

This is Hawai‘i’s equity journey and for the world.

- Michelle Kaʻuhane

…Hawai‘i is home for many of us. Look for connection and not correction.

- Jeff Gilbreath

It will take bold, courageous leadership.

- Kamanaʻo Crabbe

Magic happens when you have inspiring vision and committed people. We are a bridge.

- Duane Kurisu

Relationships are the point, not the tool.

- Jon Osorio

The world needs aloha and if we can engage this way, we can make Hawai‘i’s Soul proliferate.

- Herb Lee, Jr.

Contact us if you are interested in learning more about Rediscovering Hawai‘i’s Soul.