Hoaka Property Management
Hoaka Property Management – Maile Naehu and Kalani Ho-Nikaido plan to reintegrate the Hawaiian language – Ōlelo Hawai’i – in today’s society.
They are doing that through their business, Ka Hale Hoaka . By teaching the timeless wisdom and culture of Hawaiian to children, parents, educators and businesses through online courses, together they are helping to break down the barriers to use ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i in everyday life.
Hoaka Property Management
According to Naehu, it is necessary to introduce a native language into the present if we want to be better stewards, community members, and people in general. “I think connecting with your land and culture – no matter where you’re from or where you’re from – has to happen,” she says. “I always say, we have to be innovative but still rooted in the past; the answers to our future are already laid out for us.”
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The goal: to have ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i spoken in every Hawaiian home. “When we get to the point where we can hear it in the bank, in the grocery store, and on the beach, we’ll know we’ve made an impact,” Ho-Nikaido said.
To understand the need to reintegrate ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i into modern Hawaiian society, it is helpful to look at the region’s history.
After the Hawaiian kingdom was destroyed in 1893, a law was passed in 1896 that declared English to be the main language spoken in Hawaii. It wasn’t until the Hawaiian Renaissance of the late 1960s and early 1970s that the community experienced a renaissance of Hawaiian culture, which was initially led by artists interested in traditional Hawaiian art, music and dance. get it back
At this point, there were as few as 2,000 Hawaiians who spoke the native language fluently. “For 80 years, people were completely lost from who they were, their story, and their identity,” Naehu explains.
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Now, the total number of fluent Hawaiian speakers is about 24, 000 , and 24 of Hawaii’s public schools teach only in Hawaiian. Additionally, there is now a major effort to incorporate Hawaiian culture and language into every classroom.
But Naehu wants to see this number grow more; It is language, she believes, that helps connect the Hawaiian people back to their roots and their sense of identity and place. In addition, as an oral tradition, much wisdom was imparted through the telling of stories in the native language.
“These stories lose a bit of meaning once they are translated into English. When you know ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i, you understand the deep metaphorical layers of our language. It’s surprising. I feel that I see things completely differently because I think, dream, and explain in my own language – and in the world from which this language came. ” The phone call that changed everything
Ho-Nikaido felt a strong calling to integrate ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i into her home; she and her husband – who died four years ago – wanted to connect their children to the Hawaiian language and culture so that they would grow up with a strong sense of identity.
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When the schools closed due to the covid-19 lockdown in 2020, she figured it was a good opportunity to start learning. She decided to reach out to Naehu, whom she met in her senior year of high school on the island of Maui. Ho-Nikaido and Naehu had worked together briefly at a Hawaiian Luau early in their careers, with Naehu as an actor and entertainer and Ho-Nikaido as general manager.
For the last two decades, they had drifted apart as their careers took them in different directions; Naehu continued to educate and perform, but Ho-Nikaido focused on building a business by continuing her financial and administrative skills. “The first person I called was Maile,” Ho-Nikaido shares, describing how she was responding to the pandemic lockdown. “I said, ‘You’re amazing, and I need someone to teach my children and I our language. So please, will you?'”
But this phone call resulted in more than a ‘Ōlelo Hawai’i lesson for the Ho-Nikaido family; when Ho-Nikaido hung up the phone, she thought about how many other parents needed help bringing the language into their homes, too.
The couple decided to combine the opposing — but complementary — skill sets to launch a free six-class course on Facebook. Naehu would do the teaching, and Ho-Nikaido would help organize the classes behind the scenes on Zoom. “Marrying our skills is what allowed us to shoot out of the gate, because I know how to build businesses and Maile knows how to teach and create a curriculum,” says Ho-Nikaido.
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They all posted about the free class on their personal Facebook accounts, announcing that it would be running in two weeks.
They describe just throwing up the class without needing to be perfect or glamorous. Although they didn’t know if anyone would be interested, 400 people signed up. Surprised by the turnout, they realized they were providing something people really wanted – and needed.
“The greatest entrepreneur stories are about stepping in and serving when everyone else is running away,” Ho-Nikaido said. “That was really our mission; we thought, let’s go in and serve our community and be beacons of hope and connection because parents are moving out right now.”
Two weeks after creating their first course – and when they realized the market needed what they were offering – they officially launched the Ka Hale Hoaka business. Naehu became the company’s visual and curriculum designer, and Ho-Nikaido became CFO and systems integrator. “Most people think you need tons of money to start a company,” says Ho-Nikaido. “For us, it was just two moms who picked up the phone, used a computer, and were in business. We’re building this.”
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The word ‘hoaka’ can be translated as the crescent moon’s ability to cast a shadow during the second lunar phase of the Hawaiian lunar calendar. It can also mean ‘spirit’ or ‘to shine brilliantly,’ and the teachings of Ka Hale Hoaka are rooted in the belief that the ancient wisdom of our ancestors is the answer to today’s problems.
This journey of connecting with ancient ancestral wisdom began early for Naehu; although she grew up going to a school for native Hawaiian children on the Island of Oahu, her school was still on the west side. “I was very aware that I was Hawaiian, but I didn’t know that it meant living that way,” she says. “There was always this curiosity to know more .”
“If you visit Hawaii, you realize that there are only small pockets of what Hawaii really is,” Naehu continues. “A lot of it is developed and settled. And we grew up as a result of that.”
Since she grew up during the Hawaiian Renaissance, she says she was lucky enough to be able to find answers and discover more about who she really is. As a result of this trip she received a degree in traditional Hawaiian Society at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, majoring in Hawaiian studies and language.
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For Naehu, the way she teaches is rooted in the way she lives; Living on an off-grid property on the island of Molokai with her husband and three children, she has discovered answers left by her ancestors through living off the land and teaching traditional philosophies. Hawaiian. “We look for new answers through technology and science,” she says. “But the answers are already there. If we stop fiddling with nature and listen to what was already left as a gift, ancient wisdom can guide us into the future.”
After launching their first free course, they built their database and decided to create paid classes, and the first one sold eight sets. Since then, they have increased their enrollment to approximately 800 paid students. “Ka Hale Hoaka is one of those overnight successes that really took 25 years to develop,” says Ho-Nikaido. “We both went our separate ways, working and developing our own skills and careers.”
Although Ka Hale Hoaka has courses for parents, educators, adult learners, and businesses, their primary audience is children. “The foundation of our business is very much about raising the next generation,” says Ho-Nikaido.
While the courses are aimed at children, Naehu and Ho-Nikaido began to notice that the whole family began to learn together. Now, they have products to serve different people – from babies up to the age of 90.
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“Our students love the engaging way we approach teaching, and they love how simple, comfortable and easy we make it. We see elders joining our adult classes – or even taking our children’s classes because it is easier – to learn the language. For me, that was the most unexpected surprise. They are now getting the chance to learn the language that was taken from them.” Download the course on sale
When they realized that selling courses to individuals was a slow process, they added a corporate model to provide a faster ROI. They started getting the schools interested and started offering a curriculum product. “Now, we can build a school account and sell 270 seats with one client,” says Ho-Nikaido.
They also target businesses in the tourism industry. “The tourism industry must continue
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