The Shaka Summit thought leader series concluded this evening with many great thoughts on how to leverage the Shaka gesture to make Hawaiʻi, and the world beyond, a better place. This event, originated by First Lady Dawn Ige, seeks to use the learnings of ID8’s documentary on the Shaka gesture to move to activate the aloha spirit.

While the Summit first began as a face-to-face series, pandemic concerns resulted in a change to sessions being held online. Sessions featured noteworthy thinkers in 60-minute brainstorms on key topic areas. Sessions were as follows:

7/27/21: Protecting Hawaiʻi Stories

The Shaka is arguably Hawaiʻi’s most iconic story. Session topics include pono use of the Shaka and fostering “moʻolelo” to preserve Hawaiian history, legends, genealogy and traditions of the Hawaiian people. Panelists included: Steve Sue (moderator), Kumu Lono Ikuwa, Andrew Rosen, Alex Bocchieri, Kekela Miller, Joel “Uncle Baldie” Apuakehau, Mary Aipoalani, Pake Salmon and Gill Berger.

9/28/21: Connecting Japan & Hawai‘i Cultures

The word “Shaka” is a Japanese word meaning “Fear not, go for it” that derives from Japan’s Shakyamuni Buddha (aka “Shaka-sama”) and brought to Hawaiʻi by Japanese and Okinawan plantation workers. Session topics include connecting cultures and cultural exchanges to build a strong bridge between Japan, Okinawa and Hawai‘i. Panelists included: Sen. Glenn Wakai (moderator), Hideto “Chip” Aoki, Nalani Jenkins, Eric Takahata, Glenn Furuya and Steve Sue.

10/5/21: Fostering “Malama” Tourism

The Shaka is an ideal way to bring to life the virtues and values of the aloha spirit for both visitors and locals alike. Session topics include educating visitors on responsible and respectful travel, managing down trending visitor satisfaction in a post-COVID market and building local resident acceptance and support for the tourism industry. Panelists included: Steve Sue (moderator), Matthew Grauso, Denise Hayashi Yamaguchi, Henry Kapono, Lezlee Kapono, John Sereni and Vicky Cayetano.

10/19/21: Educating Keiki with Shaka Virtues & Values

The Shaka is an ideal way to bring to life the virtues and values of the aloha spirit thus is ideal for educational use. Session topics include creating project-based, cultural, social-emotional and empowerment curriculum through the Shaka. Panelists included: First Lady Dawn Ige (moderator), Darrel Galera, Edison Chong, Gerald Teramae, Allicyn Tasaka, Ian Kitajima, Mark Loughridge, Henry Kapono, Lezlee Kapono and Steve Sue.

10/26/21: Building Hawaiʻi Businesses & Brands

The Shaka is not only Hawaiʻi’s most recognizable icon and thus a key brand element but also an ideal way to bring to life the virtues and values of the aloha spirit. Session topics include growing Hawaiʻi’s brand and economy in authentic and responsible ways, and teaching the aloha spirit through leadership, DEI (Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training), CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) and other training. Panelists included: Sen. Glenn Wakai (moderator), Bryan Spicer, Daniel Chun, Harvey Rackmil, Valerie Wang, Henry Kapono, Lezlee Kapono and Steve Sue.

11/16/21: Aloha ‘Aina Ecology

Hamana Kalili, the original Shaka man, went on to become the master fisherman of La‘ie, with a responsibility to both feed the people and maintain the viability of the reef.  This session focuses on leveraging the Shaka to foster sustainability strategies. Panelists included: Steve Sue (moderator), Christian Whitney, Pake Salmon, Damien Beri and Marisa Buhr.

Huge mahalo to all participants for lending their smart thoughts to leverage the power of the Shaka!