The Aloha ʻĀina Program
What We’re Doing
Protecting cultural sites and landscapes from development and privatization
To return sacred lands to native Hawaiian communities
Trust for Public Land works in partnership with native Hawaiian communities to protect lands from development and return them to Hawaiian organizations for community-based stewardship.
Our Aloha ʻĀina Program is named for “ʻāina,” the Hawaiian word for “land,” meaning “that which feeds.” This program focuses on the protection of wahi pana (sacred, storied lands, or cultural landscapes) and piko (places that gather community in cultural practice and root people back to ʻāina, as a child is connected to her mother through her piko, or navel).
ʻĀina encompasses the Hawaiian worldview of a reciprocal and familial relationship between people and land. ʻĀina is foundational to native Hawaiian culture and identity, traditional and customary practices, subsistence farming, fishing, hunting, gathering, healing arts, and religious rituals. Connection to ʻāina is essential to the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of native Hawaiians. Likewise, the health of these places is tied to the health of Hawaiian communities.
Yet the history of Hawai’i has involved catastrophic loss of land due to colonization, the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, the privatization of land, and unchecked development. As a result, cultural sites and burials have been destroyed or segmented, Hawaiians have been displaced from their ʻāina, and traditional customs and practices have been lost.
Our mission is to protect and preserve land, and in Hawai’i, Trust for Public Land has the privilege of working with dedicated stewards who have committed relationships to place and culture, and who welcome all to reconnect with ʻāina.
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