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Ninth annual Business Fest to explore links between conservation and business

By Staff | Oct 22, 2015


KAHULUI – The Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce will explore the intersection between conservation and business at its ninth annual Business Fest on Friday, Oct. 30, at the Grand Wailea in South Maui.

This year’s theme is “Pono: Environmental and Social Values in Business.”

“Tourism continues to be the driving force behind Hawaii’s economy, and the recent series of tropical storms remind us that climate change is a very real threat to our future as one of the world’s top destinations,” said MNHCoC President Doreen “Pua” Canto.

“Our ancestors understood that balance between environment and economy was necessary to ensure a prosperous future. This Biz Fest will encourage discussion about how this cultural value is expressed in the 21st century.”

To honor both Mother Earth and female leadership, sunrise protocol on Wailea Beach will feature wahine cultural practitioners arriving in double-hulled canoes powered by all-female paddlers. The women will offer ho’okupu (gifts of nature) to representatives of the ahupua’a of Pae’ahu before proceeding to the Haleakala Ballroom for a light breakfast and conference opening ceremonies.


When the program begins at 7:45 a.m., guests will enjoy a special hula performance by Halau Ke’alaokamaile and Kumu Hula Keali’i Reichel, followed by words of welcome from Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey and MNHCoC President Canto. Chamber Past President Kai Pelayo will serve as emcee for the day.

Chipper Wichman, president and CEO of the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai, is the opening keynote speaker. He led the successful effort to entice the International Union for Conservation of Nature World Conservation Congress to convene in Hawaii in September 2016. His session will be followed by the panel discussion “Why Conservation is Good for Business,” featuring business and conservation professionals Rob Parsons, Penny Levin, John DeFries and Wes Crile. Ramsay Taum will serve as the moderator.

The lunch keynote speaker is ‘Aulani Wilhelm, founder of the company Island Water, director of the Ocean Initiatives Program for the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and a Social Innovation Fellow of Stanford University. She will speak on balance between commerce, culture, conservation and community.

In between sessions, attendees are encouraged to visit the Biz Fest Exhibit Area featuring displays by MNHCoC members spanning health and wellness, community and social services, cultural practitioners, business consultants, designers, artists, restaurants, retail and more.

Ramsay Taum, the closing speaker, will summarize the day’s learning with his talk on “Hawaiian Values in the Workplace.” The Business Fest will end around 3:30 p.m. with a Pau Hana Reception featuring the music of the Na Hoku Hanohano Award-winning band Ikaika Blackburn and Friends.


As part of the chamber’s commitment to the next generation of business leaders, 50 students from Kamehameha Schools Maui and King Kekaulike High School will receive scholarships to attend this event.

Event sponsors enable free admission to all Business Fest sessions except for the Keynote Luncheon (registration has closed for the luncheon). For more information, visit www.mnhcoc.org/Business-Fest/2015.