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  1. Kaua'i Relief Update

    On Friday April 13th, 2018 torrential rains began falling on Kaua’i, by the end of the weekend, the Garden Isle endured more than 50” of rainfall, bringing down hillsides, collapsing roads and washing away homes. The flood damage so significant that Governor David Ige and Mayor Bernard Carvalho declared a state of emergency as several feet of flood waters remained in several parts of the island. The National Guard was sent in to aid local rescue officials and so far there are over 400 people were evacuated by helicopters and many by sea. As the island continues to focus on its long-term rebuilding efforts, residents on the North Shore past Hanalei are still cut off from access with the only road in to town closed for rebuilding.

    Immediately, OluKai met with local ambassadors to better understand the situation and formulate a plan to help. One of the highest priorities was to equip local community members with the gear needed to dig out of the flood debris, footwear was in demand and OluKai responded by sending 450 pairs of water proof boots and training shoes to be distributed to the local community. In addition, we heard of three lifeguards who’d lost or had their homes damaged, yet tirelessly continued to serve those in need. OluKai redirected some of their race registration fees of the 2018 Ho’olaule’a in Maui to the Kaua’i Lifeguard Association to directly support the guards’ rebuilding efforts.

    At OluKai’s annual Ho’olaule’a event, the Monday following the races is always dedicated to a work day. This year several team members traveled to Kaua’i to directly help the rebuilding efforts. On Monday, April 30th, the OluKai team met with local aid teams, as well as members of O’ahu’s Pili Group (locally sourced catering group led by Chef Gooch), and traveled by truck and off-road vehicles from Hanalei into the heart of the flood’s impact zone on Kauai’s North Shore. During the 12-mile journey, much of which inside the landslide riddled section of Kuhio Highway, currently off by the Department of Land and Natural Resources, the team saw Mother Nature’s raw power first hand. Houses torn off their foundations, 1-ton trucks upside down, deep craters in the sides of Kauai’s majestic cliff sides- a result of thousands of tons of earth matter that all came crashing down on the valleys below.

    The team met with the caretakers of Limahuli Garden and Preserve, a 1000-acre of raw beauty in one of the last functioning ahupua’a, Hāʻena. Limahuli is one of the most biodiverse places in the world, home to dozens of endangered plants and first found nowhere else. It is also arguably one of the most physically beautiful places in the world with a magnificently lush garden, featuring ancient agricultral terracing and a traditional thatched community hale, only to be outdone by the sharp cliffs jutting upwards from each side of the garden, it is clear these are the protectors of the place.

    Kawika Winter, Director of Limahuli Garden, briefed the team of 30 volunteers, that the immediate goal is to repair 1500 feet of irrigation line that was displaced during the flood. The dismantled pipe currently lay in the bottom of the creek bed, it was to be elevated 50-to-100 feet up the steep, muddy and tree lined valley walls and repositioned at the upstream put in. The ravine is so steep and geologically sensitive that no machines are allowed inside, so the work was to be done by hand. Much of the crew had met for the first time earlier that morning, but quickly learned to work together as a team, necessary to leverage the many hands required to safely move the long and heavy pipe in these rugged conditions. The chants of “I kū mau mau!” enabled the team to move in harmony, yet also nurtured the ancestral ties to Limahuli. By the afternoon, the team had successfully repositioned the entire irrigation line and used an 'ō'ō (digging stick) to secure the water input. As the water once again quenched the thirst of the garden, the valley was adorned with the sounds of “chee-hoo” and the celebratory splashes of a cooling dip into the cold pools of the creek.

    The team hiked back to Limahuli Gardens home office and were greeted by a traditional feast prepared by Chef Gooch of Pili Group. Each item on the menu featured a modern take on a traditional meal, all of the ingredients locally sourced. The team found themselves reflecting on the work completed today, but couldn’t avoid the nearly consuming thoughts of the rebuilding work that remains for many communities in Kaua’i. If you would like to help in Limahuli’s recovery visit their website at, and to support general relief efforts on Kauaʻi visit Hawaiian Community Foundation at #KokuaKauai

  2. Honor the Heritage: Nurture Sustainable Communities

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 6

    Waipā ʻĀina. Culture. Community.

    It’s all too easy in today’s world of modern agriculture and door-delivered groceries to lose the connection to the land that feeds us. The Waipa Foundation of north shore Kaua’i understands this and works hard to foster a strong sense of interdependence with the natural world, using the 1600 acre ahupua’a (traditional land division) of Waipa to bring communities back to the source.

    The foundation encourages an “eat local, live local” mentality, and is a primary grower of kalo, a native island plant of exceptional nutritional value that is central to Hawaiian heritage. The local community can get hands-on with the harvest through the foundation’s weekly poi-making sessions (poi being the end product made when the root of the plant are ground down), and have even built a community kitchen to support local farmers and food vendors. And in an effort to battle the reality that Hawai’i imports nearly all its food, the ahupua’a enables a true farm-to-table vision by providing ingredients directly to the local restaurants in the area.

    You’ll often hear Hawaiians talk about “kuleana” -- or responsibility -- when it comes to taking care of their land and ocean. The Waipa Foundation is no exception, and promotes the idea that all of us share the kuleana and ability to be more sustainable. It utilizes the ahupua’a of Waipa to share, teach, and re-learn how to live in balance with our aina.)

    We, too, believe in restoring the health of the natural environment of Hawai’i and the native ecosystems of the ahupua’a, and support the Waipa Foundation through our Ama OluKai Foundation.



  3. Q&A: Waipā Director Stacy Sproat-Beck

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 5


    Tell us a little bit about yourself and how life has lead you to become the executive director at Waipā. How long have you been with Waipā?
    I grew up in Kaua'i as part of a family that practiced subsistence and commercial fishing and farming. Graduating from Kamehameha Schools I moved to Southern California where I attended University Southern California's Marshall School of Business. After receiving my Bachelors of Science I returned home to work with my 'ohana and community where I helped found the Waipā Foundation. I have been at Waipa in either a board, volunteer, or staff position for 23 years now.

    How would you definie ‘āina? ʻĀina literally means, "that which feeds us" and it is also the word for "land and natural resources".

    Can you explain to our readers what Waipā is and does? Waipā is a 1,600 acre ahupua'a owned by the Kamehameha Schools and is managed by the Waipā Foundation, a 501(c)3 Nonprofit founded in 1994. It evolved from the community's first efforts in the early 1980's to save a space for the Hawaiian people, practices, and values on Kua'i's north shore. Waipā is a place where folks can connect with `āina, and share in our Hawaiian and local values and lifestyle through experiential learning opportunities and programs– including, reforestation efforts; stream restoration; working in the lo'i, garden or nursery; making poi and other foods; and other crafting/cooking classes.

    How many volunteers does Waipā currently have? Are they all located in Kaua’i? We have an average of 25 regular volunteers per week, with a total of over 100 per year, counting weekly and periodic or one time volunteers coming from all over.

    Are there clinics in the next coming months that volunteers can join? Check out our website for information on upcoming events.  The public is welcome to our "community workday" on the 4th saturday of every month.  It is this saturday, and there is more about it on the website.

    We know that Waipā is about educating people to eat local and live local, what are some of the places that resource their food directly from Waipā? Most of our produce is consumed on site by program participants and volunteers, and we sell and distribute additional produce directly to families and individuals within the community.  We also sell our produce at our Tuesday farmers market (onsite) and to a few commercial accounts including Akamai Juice Co., Fresh Bite Food Truck, the Westin Princeville...and a few others.

    How has Waipā influenced your way of life?  It has allowed me to live, raise my children, and work in my home community at an extremely rewarding job, where I can give back to my community while doing what I love (farming and mālama `āina), perpetuating our cultural values and practices while inspiring the next generation and taking care of the kūpuna.


    Thank you for taking this time to speak more on Waipā for us, Stacy!



  4. Honor the Heritage: Cultivate Cultural Abundance in Hawai’i

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 4


    Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona

    Take an aerial tour of Hawai’i, and as your gaze travels inland from the ocean you can’t help but notice the endless verdant hills and vibrant landscape. Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona is a non-profit organization we support through the Ama OluKai Foundation, and is committed to helping preserve this rich land and its agricultural traditions. Through a variety of educational and cultural activities, Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona works tirelessly to ensure that the principles of sustainability and cultural perpetuation are continued and that aina (land) momona (abundance) is restored to the land.

    No conversation about the cultural and culinary heritage of Hawai’i is complete, however, without a mention of the kalo plant. Part of the very fabric of Hawaiian culture and history, kalo is seen as the plant from which Hawaiians were born and offers nutritional benefits from its root to its leaf. There used to be hundreds of different varieties of kalo grown in Hawai’i, but now that number is down to just a handful, and Hawaiians have fought hard against efforts to genetically modify what is still available and bring the plant back to the relevance it once had in their lives. The Hui Aloha ‘Āina Momona educates Hawaiians and visitors alike on the benefits of kalo as well as passing down the traditional methods of how the kalo plant is harvested and processed. From the cleaning, cooking and preparation of this incredible plant to the grinding of the root into poi, there is an entire wealth of knowledge to be passed down to the next generation.

    With organizations like the Hui Aloha Aina Momona keeping the connection between the Hawaiian people and their natural resources alive,  we are humbled to help support the preservation of abundant and sustainable land for generations to come.


    For more on the kalo plant, check out: Kalo: The Pacific "Superfood"


  5. Kalo: The Pacific “Superfood”

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 3


    You will often hear the word “superfood” thrown around, but rarely does it apply to a food source as nutritionally perfect as the kalo plant. The plant is a root with a stalk and heart-shaped leaves, and the root of the kalo are often made into poi -- a nutrient dense soft food derived from the kalo corn consumed in many forms across all of Hawai’i. Although it may be famous for its poi, there is actually no part of the kalo plant that goes to waste, as every bit of it can be eaten.

    Kalo is gluten free, has a low-glycemic index (meaning it leaves you fuller, longer), and is hypoallergenic, making it the ideal food for everyone from babies to the elderly. It provides a bacteriocin-producing bacteria that is a source of healthy probiotics, working its magic to aid digestion, reduce cholesterol, and lower the chance of heart disease, while its high concentration of potassium, manganese, and vitamin C, E, and B-6 support the immune system.

    As if all of that were not enough, even the kalo leaves have hidden delights. With significant levels of vitamin A and antioxidants such as beta carotene ( the thing carrots are famous for) they complete kalo’s nutritional punch. We challenge you to “out-super” this superfood!


    Look how much work goes into pounding Kalo plants into Poi!

  6. Honor the Heritage: Protect the Children

    2017 Giveback Series - Part 2


    Na Kama Kai “Children of the Sea”

    Few people understand the ocean the way a surfer does, so it’s only natural that Hawaiian pro-surfer Duane DeSoto founded a non-profit organization called Nā Kama Kai, or “Children of the Sea.” By bringing ocean-based safety and conservation programs to Hawai’i’s youth, Nā Kama Kai empowers children to become stewards of the ocean.

    The organization has a motto -- “Keiki Aloha Kai Aloha” --  meaning Beloved Child, Beloved Sea. More than just an ode to its youth and ocean, this motto is core to the work the non-profit does throughout Hawai’i, educating children on the cycle of life and how everything they do on land affects the ocean, while helping them understand the ocean’s hazards. What’s more, and as many of us have already experienced, learning about the ocean gives us a sense of self that stays with us for life. Nā Kama Kai understands this and gives the children in their programs the opportunity to recognize their special place in the world and their own personal relationship to the ocean. Through their statewide clinics “keiki”, or children, learn to become confident in the ocean through a personally guided experience, surfing, paddle boarding, sailing, and even helping shape traditional wooden boards. The goal is for each of them to leave with a sense of love and responsibility for the ocean, so they can go on to make life choices that will positively impact it.  OluKai, through Ama OluKai, is proud to support this incredible organization through our give-back program.

    At OluKai we are thrilled to be able to support this incredible organization through our give-back program. For more information and ways to get involved, please visit:

    Images by Jake Marote (@jake_of_all_trades)
  7. Ama OluKai Foundation

    the ama olukai foundation honors
    those who preserve and celebrate the cultural
    heritage and aloha spirit of hawai'i

    Since delivering our first
    pair of sandals in 2006,
    giving back to the
    community has
    been an important part of
    the olukai tradition.

    Now,more than a decade
    later, we are proud tosupport a more formal
    giveback programe by way of
    a 501(c)(3) non-profit
    organization located in the
    state of Hawai’i.

    it is a story about
    wayfaring people with a
    proud heritage, a rich island
    culture that is centered
    around community and the
    aloha spirit.

    we are proud to partner with hawaiian-based
    oraganizations to help preserve land and
    ocean,serve the community
    and maintain the
    hawaiian culture and traditions.

    learn more about ama olukai here

  8. A Journey From Mauka To Makai

    Every May, OluKai and the local Maui ‘Ohana take time to work the ‘aina (land) after completing our two day ocean festival called Ho’olaule’a. This year our Giveback Partner, Maui Cultural Lands, arranged for our group to spend time in an upper native forest area called Wao Akua (Realm of Gods) where it is purported man is not meant to live.

    As we ascended the mountain’s rugged terrain, it became clear this was no pedestrian journey, rather a 2,500 foot vertical climb into one of Hawaii’s most extreme environments. The Kaheawa Windfarm is a location with such powerful wind torque that its 168-foot tall windmills are the shortest in existence in the world.

    It is captivating observing a single windmill up close, the 115-foot blades whistling along at 27 MPH. And quite impressive when you consider the 34 total windmills generate over a third of electric power demand on Maui.

    After navigating several seemingly impassable stretches up the 4x4 vehicle-only-road, with muddy tires slurping up and down each rutted out section, we reach our destination in Wao Akua. The torrential sideways rain, wind and cold air, unimaginable as we left the 85 degree sunny beach just a short time ago, makes for a laughable intensity, after all we are in Hawaii still, right?

    Our group piles from our vehicles, trying to ready ourselves for the mission of the day: planting 30 Koa trees in this majestic mountainous region. Amongst the 75+ people in attendance are several retailer partners from the mainland, local volunteers as well as OluKai employees. Everyone seems a bit out of place with the weather, but eager to accomplish our tree-planting goal.

    People often ask us why we make high-grade, rugged work boots with all-weather outsoles and water resistant characteristics. The day was living proof of how variant the climates of Hawaii can be, requiring a set of footwear tools appropriate for severe weather conditions.

    After about two hours of wet, muddy hard work to clear the required ten-foot diameters of soil, the team successfully planted the Koa trees into the majestic grasslands. Koa planting is a very traditional act, albeit with limited immediate gratification - in 70 years the trees would be large enough to harvest to carve into a traditional Hawaiian canoe!

    It was only after the last tree was planted that we began to contemplate our way off of the mountain. Since our arrival we had endured a steady stream of wind and rain, making already slippery road conditions even worse, and with several steep climbs to make back to the main road, we realized our biggest challenge still lay ahead.

    After several unsuccessful attempts to clear a rather steep, muddy and rutted out section of the trail, we realized the 4x4 vehicles were useless against Mother Nature. As the situation sank in, our group dynamic changes from cultural volunteerism to a wilderness rescue teamwork. Between members of Maui Cultural Lands, Hawaiian Lifeguards and guests from a few of the country’s best outdoor specialty retailers, the mental transition occured naturally and everyone began to work their way out of the situation as a collective unit.

    There is a saying we’ve learned from studying Hawaiian history, Pupukahi I Holomua: unite in order to progress. It was inspiring to see everyone join together in this spirit to help the collective group achieve our impromptu goal: ensuring everyone got off the mountain safely.

    After a successful decent back down at Papalaua beach, the scene was surreal as the most intensely colorful rainbow came out of the mountains and touched down on the ocean. Perhaps a symbolic and thankful gift from the Gods of Wao Akua that our mission was complete.

  9. OluKai X HLA

    450 Hawaiian Lifeguards to be Issued Footwear on Multi Island Tour

    As a long-standing partner and official footwear of the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association (HLA), OluKai is pleased to announce the unveiling of its 2014 performance footwear collaboration. This month, OluKai will outfit over 450 Hawaiian lifeguards with shoes and sandals at several locations on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu ending with a special proclamation by Billy Kenoi, mayor of the Big Island. A portion of proceeds of the thoughtfully constructed HLA footwear goes to support the Junior Lifeguards, an ongoing component to OluKai’s devoted Giveback Program.

    On April 9th, 2014, OluKai will begin the brand’s largest donation to date with over 1,500 pairs of shoes consisting of up to four styles from the spring collection; Kia'i Trainer II ($120), Kamiki ($110), Kia'i II ($70) and the latest HLA development, the Holomua ($90), a revolutionary adjustable three point sandal. With a patent pending, innovative lightweight injected TPU plate, micro hook-and-loop closure and an aluminum adjustment component, the Holomua is OluKai’s most technical sandal yet and years ahead of all other technical sandals available today. Rigorously tested by the HLA, the Holomua underwent a 12-month process of research and development and has proven to perform under the most extreme use and environmental conditions.

    OluKai Konohiki (caretaker) and member of the Hawaiian Waterman Hall of Fame, Archie Kalepa will host the donations on Maui, Kauai, and Oahu (see complete schedule below), giving consumers a chance to meet, greet and learn more about the lifeguard program.

    “I’m thrilled to share the latest innovation in footwear with the lifeguards this month. From a technical standpoint, the Holomua embodies the level of dedication of the brand’s partnership to develop groundbreaking footwear ready to perform at the level that the gracious HLA members need to do their job. It’s a sandal that has been punished, proven, researched and refined and is personally the best slipper I’ve ever worn,” says Kalepa.

    Lifeguards from all over Hawaii will convene on Maui, Oahu, Kauai and the Big Island at several in-store presentations to receive their official HLA footwear. All styles, including the Holomua, are also available to consumers nationwide as well as

    The last stop on the donation tour will culminate on April 19th with a special proclamation from Billy Kenoi, mayor of the Big Island, thanking the brand for the years of dedication to the men and women of the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association.

    As the honored partner of the HLA, OluKai is proud to outfit such incredibly talented yet humble individuals that epitomize the Aloha spirit.  “The lifeguards perform unrecognized heroic acts every day,” says Kalepa with disarming humility. “These shoes and sandals are not just inspired by Hawaiian lifeguards; they’re thoughtfully constructed specifically to meet their needs from the ragged shores of the Big Island to the 25 foot swells of the storied North Shore, Maui’s famous Big Wave Jaws and to the majestic surf of Kauai.”

    To learn more about OluKai’s HLA partnership, visit:

    Island stops to include –


    Adventure Sports Maui: April 9th, 5:30-7:00 pm

    Hi-Tech: April 10th, 5:30-7:00 pm

    Island Sole: April 11th, 5:30-7:00 pm


    Seaport: April 14th: 5:00-6:30 pm

    Hanalei Surf: April 15th: 5:00-6:30pm


    Island Sole Kahala Mall: April 16th: 6:00-7:30 pm

    Barnfield’s: April 17th: 5:00-6:30 pm

  10. 4th Annual 'Ohana Giveback Day

    On Friday, November 15th, 2013, as part of a long-standing commitment to giving back in a hands-on approach, OluKai closed down their offices in Orange County to participate in their 4th annual Giveback Day. This year, OluKai partnered with ZeroTrash Laguna Clean-Up and Pacific Marine Mammal Center, in Laguna Beach, California. Over 35 members of the company arrived at the Marine Mammal Center to learn about the disastrous effects of trash and recyclables in our watersheds and oceans, and how much it effects our marine life, specifically the local sea lions. After the presentation, OluKai staff participated in  a 2 hour trash clean-up along Laguna Canyon highway and removed over 240 lbs of recyclables and 60 pounds of cigarette butts that were on their way directly to the ocean.

    Giveback Day is part of the 'Ohana Giveback Program, in which we select companies and organizations that are actively pursuing Mauka- and Makai-based initiatives. These partnerships allow us to demonstrate our gratitude in a way that is meaningful and enriching for everyone involved.

    About Pacific Marine Mammal Center
    Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and release of marine mammals stranded along the Orange County coastline and to increase public awareness of the marine environment through education and research.

    About Zero Trash
    Zero Trash is a community clean-up project committed to reducing waste, ridding city streets of trash, supporting local business and fostering a sense of environmental responsibility.

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