Group pushes Native Hawaiian values for economic revival

HONOLULU — A newly formed policy group has announced an effort to reboot Hawaii’s tourist-based economy following the coronavirus outbreak using Native Hawaiian cultural values.

The Aina Aloha Economic Futures Declaration sent to Democratic Gov. David Ige seeks to create an economy based on centuries of island-based values, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

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The group’s organizers seek input from community members to urge decision-makers to create a new economic road map for the state.

The declaration was authored by 14 community members who want “to reboot the entire operating system of our economy,” said Kamanamaikalani Beamer, associate professor at the University of Hawaii’s Center for Hawaiian Studies.

A new, post-coronavirus economy for Hawaii needs to be based on values “that have sustained life in these islands for centuries,” Beamer said.

Before the pandemic, Hawaii faced another year of “10 million people marching across our land,” said Joseph Lapilio, president of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce.

Organizers said they hope to have public comments and suggestions by May 31, followed by webinar sessions on issues including agriculture and education through July, concluding with a policy plan in August.

The concept was endorsed by more than 550 individuals and organizations, although the group did not present any specific ideas Tuesday.

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“Nothing is carved in stone,” organizer Noe Noe Wong-Wilson said.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.

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