What’s Happening: Wahine Hui Leader Retreat

by Kauʻi Kanakaʻole

Wāhine are a force. Our ʻohana (family) roles as grandmothers, mothers, auntyʻs, daughters, sisters, and neices, give us experiences that lend expertise and understanding to the other roles we play at our work places and in our communities. Wāhine are strong, caring, intuitive and intelligent and with out our presence, balance is fleeting. However, in order to ensure we bring the best to our different roles we need time to pause, reflect, reboot and feed ourselves mentally, spiritually and physically.

This is exactly what happened with the Wāhine Hui Retreat, which is a small group of wāhine Executive Directors running various types of community organizations here on Maui and Molokaʻi. The reterat was held here at Ala Kukui from January 30th – February 1st, 2020.
From left to right: Wei Fang (Maʻo Farms), Harmonee Williams (Sustainable Molokaʻi), Kauʻi Kanakaʻole (Ala Kukui), Sarah Menzies (Laʻakea Village), Chelsie Haunga (Maui Hui Malama), Elizabeth Fujii (Molokaʻi Child Abuse Prevention Pathways), Lipoa Kahaleahi (Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke). Taking the picture Kina Mahi (KM Consulting)

The brainchild of Kina Mahi, “a freelance consultant who supports diverse projects that contribute to the health of our land, families and communities in Hawaii;” she saw a need within the various organizations she worked with. “Iʻve created relationships and worked with some amazing women who are leaders, doing phenomenal work in our community, and I knew that if they could meet, have time to connect and share in a small local support-network, this would help to maximize their impact at home and in their community and give them the time they need to decompress, learn from eachother and be support systems to one another.

As the Executive Director of Ala Kukui, I am lucky to participate in this Wāhine Hui and was more than happy to help host the group in Hāna at Ala Kukui. We all met at Piʻilanihale Heiau at Kahanu Gardens in order to orient ourselves to Hāna, introduce ourselves to the kupuna of the place, and set our intentions for our time here together. It was a beautiful beginning of quiet, reset, and acclimaiton. Then we set off on our hike on Ke Ala Loa o Maui or Piʻilani Trail, from Waiʻānapanapa to Kapueokahi. The ʻehukai (ocean spray), cliff-side lava trail, cool overcast skies allowed each of us much needed time to think, chat with the closest hiker and just take in the ocean views.

We spent the afternoon gathering plants from the Ala Kukui property and learning about lāʻau kāpala design on the deck of the main house. Utilizing the design that comes from manipulating the positive and negative space when doing repetitive printing, we created beautiful one-of-a-kind canvas pouches.

Capping off the day with a delicious meal by chef Ryan OConnor of kalua pig fried rice, pesto mahimahi, roasted veggies, and green salad with lilikoʻi cheesecake for dessert, it was such an amazing day indeed.

We spent the second day getting down to business, planning our year ahead and prioritizing what topics we wanted to address at future meetings to help us be more effecient and impactful in our work. We created personal “wellness wheels” that had us take inventory on all the different aspects of our lives from work to family, to finance, to spirituality and beyond and really get a handle on where weʻre at and where we need to be and how weʻre going to get there.

It was time well spent. It was a retreat that fueled the body and mind. We are excited for the plans that weʻve made for ourselves in 2020!