In 1997 the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA) was co-founded by Kenneth Francis Brown and Dr. George Huʻeu Kanahele to promote Hawaiian cultural values, and traditional knowledge in the visitor industry. Brown and Kanahele understood the implications, opportunities, and impacts that Hawai‘i’s largest industry was having on the people of Hawai‘i, its culture, local ways, and our state’s natural and cultural resources. This pioneering duo saw the need for the Hawai‘i tourism industry to elevate its consciousness, and operating priorities by identifying and committing to a bold range of steward-ship responsibilities and begin to re-envision the entire industry as keepers of the Hawaiian culture.
They understood that by nurturing Hawaiian culture and the Aloha Spirit, Hawai‘i tourism would, in turn, be nurtured here at home, and its identity would be empowered and celebrated around the world. Intuitively, they knew that Hawai‘i’s rare gift to the world is the Aloha Spirit and by sharing this gift, the world would become a better place and the spiritual essence of Hawai‘i’s people would be recognized and respected globally.
NaHHA has trained twenty-one Hawaiian cultural practitioners in the hospitality industry and works closely with HTA on its strategic goals related to Hawaiian culture and the enhancement of the visitor experience. Today, NaHHA offers Hawaiian cultural training, cultural consultation, and entrepreneurial development training for artisans and service-providers. NaHHA also curates a weekly listing of Hawaiian cultural events, offers an annual cultural education conference, and is the steward of the Waikīkī Historic Trail.