HAWAI‘I (2022) – The Hawaiian Islands are so much more than just a beautiful destination. From beach clean-ups that help eliminating invasive species, to planting native trees as part of a reforestation effort, there are several meaningful ways groups can mālama (care for) Hawai‘i through unique corporate social responsibility (CSR) opportunities that connect participants to the island’s cherished history and unmatched sense of place.
Whether immersing your group in cultural experiences, such as restoring a centuries-old loko i‘a (fishpond) built by early Hawaiians or harvesting kalo (taro) from a lo‘i (irrigated agricultural terrace) and learning to pound its root into poi (a traditional Hawaiian staple food), only in Hawai‘i will groups find authentic and engaging experiences simultaneously connecting them with the Islands’ host Native Hawaiian culture.
Below are a just a few of the many ways meeting planners can incorporate life-changing experiences for attendees into their program, while showing their commitment to giving back to the community with great intention to leave the islands better than when they arrived.
- Restore a centuries-old loko i‘a (Hawaiian fishpond). Constructed by early Hawaiians, hundreds of years ago as a means of supplementing their ocean fishing catch, loko iʻa guaranteed supplies of fish would remain a constant in lean times. Today, Hawaiʻi residents and visitors are encouraged to volunteer their service in restoring these ancient coastline ponds and reducing the effects of the ocean’s constant wear and tear on them. The nonprofit caretakers of Loko Ea Fishpond (Oʻahu), Koʻieʻie Fishpond (Maui), and Aliʻi Fishpond (Molokaʻi) offer groups opportunities to spend a day restoring and learning about these ancient aquaculture systems.
- Support the farming of kalo. Located on the Keanae peninsula along the Road to Hāna, Na Mahiʻai ʻo Keanae (Maui) provides cultural classes, conservation workshops and events for community members, visitors, and businesses to help increase cultural knowledge, history of the area, and promote hands-on learning experiences in farming and conservation of the natural resources of Keanae. Workday activities include work in the loʻi (taro patch), clearing trails and waterways, and removing marine debris from the shoreline.
- Help clear marine debris. Leave Kauaʻi just a little better then when you found it by participating in a beach cleanup with Surfrider Foundation or The Friends of Kamalani and Lydgate Park. Help remove harmful plastics and other marine debris that pollutes our oceans and harms marine wildlife such as whales, seals, and turtles.
- Take part in the reforestation of native Hawaiʻi trees. On the island of Hawaiʻi, volunteers can help restore the natural integrity of Hawaiʻi’s environment while providing a basis for community education about Hawaiʻi’s vegetation issues and solutions at Waikōloa Dry Forest Initiative and Hawaiʻi Environmental Restoration. Help to restore our special ecosystem through native planting, seed collection, and weed management.
- Mālama Hawai‘i. Volunteer organizations and travel partners statewide are now offering a range of opportunities for visitors to engage in mindful travel through the Mālama Hawai‘i initiative. Experiences range from reforestation projects and restoration of early Hawaiian structures to coastline cleanups, clearing invasive flora and more. Engaging with the land and culture during your visit leaves a positive impact for Hawai‘i residents and visitors following in your footsteps and will leave you with a more personal and deeper connection to the Islands.
Groups are invited to partner with Hawai‘i based nonprofit travel2change to participate in hands-on, off-the-beaten-path activities across the Hawaiian Islands centered around volunteer work. Volunteer offerings travel2change can connect groups to while in the Hawaiian Islands include beach cleanups, food drives, cultural walking tours and other experiences that encounter social issues rather than detour around them.
As you can see, the Hawaiian Islands are home to a variety of unique, one-of-a-kind cultural experiences that provide that can truly set a meeting apart from other destinations. To learn more about how your group can mālama Hawai‘i for a brighter future, visit www.meethawaii.com/csr.
About Meet Hawaiʻi
Meet Hawaiʻi is a collaboration of the Hawai‘i Visitors and Convention Bureau (HVCB) and the Hawaiʻi Convention Center (HCC) to reinforce the brand of the Hawaiian Islands as a world-class destination for global business meetings, conventions and incentive programs. The Global MCI efforts of the Meet Hawaiʻi team are overseen and funded by HTA, the State of Hawaiʻi’s agency responsible for holistically managing tourism in a sustainable manner. HTA works with the community and industry to Mālama Kuʻu Home – care for our beloved home. For information about Meet Hawaiʻi and the hosting of meetings, conventions and incentives, please visit MeetHawaii.com.
Special note to media: HTA recognizes the use of the ‘okina [‘] or glottal stop, one of the eight consonants of the (modern) Hawaiian language; and the kahakō [ā] or macron (e.g., in Hawai‘i place names, such as Lāna‘i). However, HTA respects the individual use of these markings for names of organizations and businesses.