MEET KEONI SOUZA
HE LEO KAMAʻAINA
A voice of the people
Aloha mai kākou! My name is Keoni Souza and I am running for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Trustee At-Large position.
“Local roots, local values” describes me best, as I was born and raised on on the west side of O`ahu and have been immersed in personifying Hawaiian values my entire life. I graduated from The Kamehameha Schools in 2002. Being educated at a Hawaiian institution taught me that we must all do our part to perpetuate our culture and become thought leaders in the community. My diverse background as a flight attendant, musician, stevedore and realtor, has allowed me to serve the public, travel the world, and understand the needs of the people of Hawai’i.
In traveling the world, I have seen the role Hawai’i plays in our global economy. As a musician for the Grammy-nominated group Nā Hoa, I sing traditional Hawaiian music—music of the past, celebrating our ancestors. We must honor our ancestors with the work that we do. The people of Hawai’i, all its people—Hawaiians and non-Hawaiians alike, have a vote in OHA. OHA has a hand in many ventures that affect everyone. Therefore, everyone must be heard.
We should strive to cultivate the aloha spirit as we navigate policy decisions and help beneficiaries thrive. It is my deepest hope that we can change the look and feel of OHA, by allowing new blood to take the helm. The outdated sentiment of business as usual hinders progress. We must strive for a new direction, with creative ideas to recreate and rebrand OHA. OHA is a flawed system that has lost the confidence of the people. Let me help Hawai’i restore confidence in a forum that deserves ethical and unconventional leadership.