There are several Native Hawaiian Chambers of Commerce in the State. The island with the largest population of Native Hawaiians — the Big Island — is now joining by forming its own Native Hawaiian Chamber.
Benson Medina is one of the founders of the Hawaii Island Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce. He says one goal is to highlight role models for young Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs.
“There are more Native Hawaiians here on Hawaii Island than any other island. And of course, we’re at the top of every bad list, number one group incarcerated, lowest per capita income, lowest level of education. We really felt it was time to see if we could change that by providing more economic opportunity, educational opportunity, and then obviously, cultural opportunity.”
Medina says the new Chamber is taking no position on the Mauna Kea protests.
“We don’t want to do anything that divides the Hawaiians. While we support them, we have a completely different agenda. Our agenda is to help Native Hawaiians on our island promote education, economic, and cultural advancement.
Medina says a small group of local business leaders are spearheading the work.
“Richard Ha, longtime resident and farmer, myself, Kimo Lee from Shipman, Duane Kanuha, Mike Kaleikini, Ka’iu Kimura over at Imiloa.”
Medina says there will be a statewide conference of all the Native Hawaiian Chambers in Kona next October — where one highlight will be putting together a statewide Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce agenda for the 2021 legislative session.
The new Native Hawaiian Chamber website is huioihana.com