Making an impact: Kamehameha Schools, Kaunamano Farm donate a total of $10,000 to ‘Iolani Palace

  • Courtesy photo The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace Executive Director Paula Akana, third from left, is presented with a ceremonial check for $10,000. Among the presenters was Big Island farmer Brandon Lee, second from left.

Kamehameha Schools and Kaunamano Farm donated a total of $10,000 to ‘Iolani Palace as part of a fundraiser in support of the ongoing operations of the historic landmark that has been severely impacted by the downturn of tourism as a result of COVID-19 pandemic.

Kaunamano Farm owner Brandon Lee raises organic Royal Berkshire hogs on ‘Aina Pauahi in Umauma. The farm offered a special promotional fundraising package of locally-raised products last summer through its “Eating with Impact” page on its website. Kaunamano Farm offered to donate $20 of each purchase to The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace and eventually raised $5,000. KS matched the farm’s donation.

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Launched on July 31, the fundraiser was designed to coincide with La Ho‘iho‘i Ea (Sovereignty Restoration Day), linking the fundraiser to the history of Hawaii’s ali‘i and the palace.

Fronting the iconic palace, KS Trustee Lance Wilhelm and Lee, chef Keoni Regidor and Ka‘ikena Scanlan presented The Friends of ‘Iolani Palace Executive Director Paula Akana with a ceremonial check Tuesday.

“I’m honored to stand with Kaunamano Farms in giving back to this special place,” said Wilhelm. “In its grandeur, ʻIolani Palace stands as a staunch reminder of its connection to our storied past, our ali‘i and our founder Ke Ali‘i Bernice Pauahi Bishop. The well-being of our lahui is deeply connected to the health and condition of the ‘aina. E malama ‘oe i ka ‘aina, e malama ka ‘aina ia ‘oe, take care of the land and the land will take care of you. As we strive to steward our lands to be resilient and productive, it is times like these that remind every kanaka of the ever-sustaining relationship between ‘aina and our people and its foundation to a thriving lahui.”

Akana, a 1980 KS Kapalama graduate, thanked Lee, Kaunamano Farm and Kamehameha Schools for the donation.

“It was exciting when Brandon first approached us with this idea of an Eating with Impact fundraiser,” said Akana. “Food security and sustainability is important to Hawaii; so is sustainability of our cultural resources, like the Palace. Plus, it’s appropriate that Brandon raises hogs. In 1883, King Kalakaua won first place at the Royal Hawaiian Agricultural Society, for having the fattest native pig!”

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“Kalakaua is smiling with content because a local pig farm is supporting the Iolani Palace,” said Lee. “Someone told me that the reciprocity between kanaka and ‘aina must be the foundation.”

“Hawaii needs to eat with impact,” he added.

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