During a tumultuous 2020 marked by the taxing COVID-19 pandemic, Waiākea Hawaiian Volcanic Water made it a top priority to help the people of Hilo and communities across Hawai‘i as much as possible.
Waiākea chose to pivot its volunteer efforts via a Kōkua Initiative giving program that utilizes available resources to focus on, bless, and support the immediate needs of the community.
“Simple acts of kindness can bring a smile to someone’s face, brighten someone’s day and pull people together,” said Geoli Ng, director of the Waiākea Kōkua Initiative who joined the company full time last October. “The Kōkua Initiative was determined to do just that and identified what the needs of the community were. Plans were formulated, tasks were implemented by teams to make those plans come to fruition, and lives were blessed by hitting the pavement to support our Lāhui.”
Some of the organizations that the Waiākea Kōkua Initiative helped to support within the community include: Merrie Monarch Festival, Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home, United Health Care, Bay Clinic, Waiākea High, Intermediate and Elementary Schools, Waiākeawaena Elementary School, Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Kamehameha Schools’ Kealapono Program, Meals on Wheels, Shane Victorino Foundation, Hilo Medical Center and many more.
In 2020, Waiākea impacted the lives of 19,851 people of Hawai‘i who were in need through donations of water, relief funds and supplies, including masks, hand sanitizer, games and educational electronics as well as toiletries.
“If there is one thing that we can be certain of, we are a people of resilience, with the ability to persevere and overcome challenges especially when we pull together,” Ng said. “Mary Kawena Pukui once stated, ʻAʻohe hana nui ke alu ʻia – no task is too big when done together by all. This is a good reminder that when everyone contributes and works together to accomplish tasks, it lightens the load, it unifies people, strengthens relationships and our community.
“This will be the Waiākea Kōkua Initiative theme for 2021 as we continue to support communities and collaborate with other businesses and organizations in hopes to spread a little cheer, honoring the value of Aloha, giving service to others in need because together we can accomplish great things. We are indeed grateful for our Waiākea ʻOhana customers. The Waiākea Kōkua Initiative would not be possible without all our supporters. It is with their help we were able to give back, assist and make a positive impact for our communities.”
Waiākea was founded in 2012 as the first Hawaiian volcanic water and “triple bottom line” premium water of its kind. The business’ mission is to provide naturally healthy, delicious, Hawaiian volcanic water with as little impact on the natural environment as possible, while contributing to and promoting conservation and access to clean water and education for people in need in Hawai’i and around the world.
“We at Waiākea sought to create a resonating lifestyle brand that can inspire and create meaningful, positive change in a variety of ways,” Ng said. “Our goal was to create a transformation within the bottled water, beverage, and greater CPG (consumer packaged goods) industry, moving away from singular profit and toward a triple bottom line model that emphasizes people and planet. It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness. Since our founding, Waiākea has continued to be recognized for its innovation, and in 2015 Waiākea was the most awarded beverage in North America.”
Waiākea Hawaiian Volcanic Water originates in Hawai’i through both rain and melted snow on the pristine peak of the active Mauna Loa volcano, one of the purest environments on Earth. The water is then filtered through thousands of feet of porous volcanic rock that enriches Waiākea with a variety of trace minerals, making it electrolyte rich and naturally alkaline, before emerging at its source, surrounded by rich forest preserves just outside Hilo town.
The water is naturally alkaline with a pH range of 7.6-8.2, but unlike many alkaline waters, Waiākea has nothing added to it and no synthetic lab processes to increase the pH; it’s “Premium by Nature.” The natural volcanic filtration leaves the water with essential minerals such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, and silica.
Waiākea prides itself on being one of the first beverages and the first premium water in the world to use high-grade 100% recycled polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) for all its bottles. RPET is post-consumer recycled plastic and has incredible environmental advantages, including emitting 79% less carbon dioxide; using 85% less energy and 99% less water during production compared to traditional plastic bottles. Additionally, Waiākea just launched a refillable aluminum (Hana Hou) bottle and sells a 15-liter box (Pahu Nunui).
“We want customers to feel like it’s a guilt-free experience knowing that every purchase gives back to people in need and that our product is ‘bottled with Mother Earth in mind,’” Ng said. “We’ve partnered with Kolten Wong, a Hilo native and current member of the Milwaukee Brewers, to help us do more work in the community and we’re very excited to be working together on a long-term partnership. Kolten is a minority shareholder and we look forward to getting to work.”
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