Pa'a Pono Miloli'i Inc.

Pa'a Pono Miloli'i was formed in 1980 with the mission to improve the quality of life for the residents of Miloli'i. One of Pa'a Pono Miloli'i's first major efforts was to create a Master Plan for the Community that focused on supporting residents to secure land and build safe affordable homes in the village. Working directly with OHA, DLNR, and the Legislative and Executive branches of the State of Hawai'i, Act 62 was passed which provided homes to the descendants of the 1926 Mauna Loa lava flow which destroyed the original village. Building on the great success of this effort, Pa'a Pono Miloli'i has carried out numerous projects over the years.

Another one of its earliest accomplishments was the documentary "The Song of South Kona" created with the support from the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and it would go on to earn honors for short film documentary. Pa'a Pono Miloli'i Inc. was granted non-profit 501-(c) (3) status by the Internal Revenue Service in 2004 and continues its mission to improve the lives of the residents of the South Kona fishing village.

Kaiali'i Kahele is the current President of Pa'a Pono Miloli'i. A graduate of the University of Hawai'i Manoa's College of Education program, Kai's family home is in Miloli'i. Kai, his father Gil Kahele, and other family members have long been dedicated to supporting Miloli'i residents to improve the quality of their lives through environmental sustainability, youth education, and enhancing cultural practice.

Some of Pa'a Pono Miloli'i's key activities have included:

  1. Creation of a Marine Managed Area: In 2006, the community successfully passed a bill to create a marine managed area in Miloli'i. This law provides DLNR the authority to create rules to improve the sustainability of the local fishery. Rules have been discussed and drafted; however, they have not been passed. Additional consultation with the community is needed to formulate and advance a rule package. This project will form a strong foundation for those continued consultations.
  2. Community-Based Marine Management and Fishing Education Programs: Over the course of eight years, Pa'a Pono Miloli'i has carried out a number of community projects to encourage community involvement and support for improved marine management. These included 'Opelu Celebrations in which traditional 'opelu fishing was taught to youth by kupuna from a traditional 'opelu fishing canoe, this also included marine management and traditional fishing as part of the Summer Fun curriculum. In addition "Youth Media" camps were also held in which the youth learned how to use digital media to capture and apply traditional knowledge about sustainable marine management and fisheries from the Miloli'i kupuna.
  3. Miloli'i Makai Watch: Makai Watch is a community based volunteer group which was created as a partnership effort by the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and several NGO's across the State. The goal of Makai Watch was to enhance the management of near-shore marine resources by providing the Miloli'i community the opportunity to become directly involved in the protection of the Miloli'i fisheries and outlying areas.
  4. The Opelu Project: In 2005 Pa'a Pono Miloli'i in collaboration with CCN and Uncle Walter Paulo, Eugene "Geno" Kaupiko Jr. and other kupuna in the community provided a program to the Miloli'i youth by teaching them the ancient hawaiian practice of Opelu fishing. Utilizing Opelu canoes the youth were instructed in the art of opelu fishing using traditional hawaiian fishing methods.
  5. 2011 Community Center Development: Pa'a Pono Miloli'i was fortunate to receive a grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to construct community centers at Miloli'i and Ho'okena. The project is in final stages and is set to break ground on both sites in the Fall of 2011.

The original founders of Pa'a Pono Miloli'i are:

  1. Peter Kahele
  2. Eugene "Geno" Kaupiko Jr.
  3. Francis Halena
  4. Delfredo Llanes
  5. Eugene Chang
  6. Wilfred Kaupiko
  7. Gilbert Kahele
  8. Robert Yanabu

*Eugene "Geno" Kaupiko Jr. Elected First President