Emphasizing Hawaiian Values

Visitors love Hawaii’s beauty, but it takes more than that to keep them coming. Daniel Lane photo

There are many places in the world with white sand beaches, blue seas, palm trees and appealing attractions for visitors. But what makes Hawaii Hawaii is our aloha spirit and Hawaiian culture and hospitality.

Preserving and nurturing these qualities require an effort on our part, and helping with that task is the Ho’okipa Learning Center, a new program being introduced by the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association to provide training in authentic Hawaiian hospitality for visitor industry management and staff at all levels.

The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Industry was founded in 1997 by George S. Kanahele, Kenneth Brown and others to address concerns about how Native Hawaiians and Hawaiian culture were perceived and represented in tourism. They established this nonprofit organization to advocate for the development and advancement of Native Hawaiians in tourism as an investment in future leaders and to promote the Hawaiian culture in the tourism industry through consulting and education, development of communication tools, research, and project support and coordination.

The association is the lead agency for the Hawaiian Culture Initiative of the Hawaii Tourism Strategic Plan. The Ho’okipa program is being sponsored by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

Ho’okipa Learning Center curriculum has six four-module series. Examples of the modules include “Mo’olelo-Talk Story,” which explores Hawaiian mythology and its correlations with value systems, beliefs, science and medicine through stories and other mythology that are representations of our multi-ethnic environment. Another is “History of Hawaii,” which emphasizes the importance of knowing the history of Hawaii as a means of connecting with visitors and examines the events that shaped the tourism industry.

Ho’okipa Learning Center faculty members are Native Hawaiian graduates of the association’s Ola Hawaii program and represent both the culture and travel industry. Many hold management positions at island hotels.

Craig Anderson, general manager of the Moana Surfrider, has had his employees take similar training programs in the past. He says, “Initially it’s a bit of a leap of faith, and you do it because you know it’s the right thing to do, that investing in your associates and your employees with content that’s real is important. And we also see it in the results: Guest satisfaction scores are up, and our associate scores are up.”

Information is available by calling the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association at (808) 628-6375 or online at nahha.com/hlc.

Programs like Ho’okipa Learning Center are not only essential to preserving all that’s unique and cherished about our Hawaiian culture and heritage, but to keeping the Islands a destination worthy of its reputation.

HLTA Offers Drug Plan For All

The Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association has teamed up with Hawaii Rx Card to offer a free prescription assistance program to everyone living, working or traveling in the state. That’s right, free.

Since its inception, the program has saved people nearly $3 million. The Hawaii Rx Card can be used as a stand-alone benefit for the uninsured, and it also can be used for discount prescription medications that are not covered by insurance, Medicare or Medicaid. These non-covered drugs include those to treat flu and common cold symptoms, depression and other psychiatric disorders, behavioral problems, sexual wellness, fertility, smoking cessation and weight loss, among others.

The Hawaii Rx Card program offers discounts of up to 75 percent on brand and generic drugs, with average savings around 30 percent.

Edward “Kahau” ManzoIt’s a service worth considering for people without health insurance or those who are going without vital medication because of the cost. The program does not discriminate based on age or income. It is open to anyone and everyone,with no restrictions or eligibility requirements.

Information is available at hawaiirxcard.com or by calling the Hawaii Lodging & Tourism Association at (808) 923-0407.


Edward “Kahau” Manzo

Position: Director of Food and Beverage
Location: Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas

As director of food and beverage for Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kahau Manzo is the boss. But that title doesn’t stop this culinary veteran from diving headfirst into every task and responsibility, whether it’s cooking dinners, driving the banquet truck for a charity event or making a special treat for a resort guest.

Kahau’s recent focus has been on staff training, improving the dining experience, and incorporating local and organic products into the menu. His work is paying dividends in profitability and guest satisfaction. His professionalism and dedication show in other ways, too: When a couple returned to the Garden Isle for their 50th anniversary, he whipped up a special pineapple upside down cake to bring back memories of their wedding at Coco Palms. He even gave a guest a personal lesson when a scheduled cooking class had to be canceled. He headed the Westin’s Jazz and Wine Festival, which raised $11,000 for Kaua’i’s lifeguards. He won the Kaua’i Farm Bureau’s cook-off at the yearly county fair and donated his $2,500 prize to the Visitor Industry Charity Walk.

Kahau Manzo and his team can be found cooking for charity events throughout the year, including the Charity Walk. They also drop off treats to police officers and firefighters who are on duty during the holidays.