The Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) has named Kalani Kaanaana as its new director of Hawaiian Cultural Affairs.
Kaanaana takes over for former director Kelii Wilson.
“Kalani is deeply committed to the Hawaiian culture on a personal, community and educational level,” George Szigeti, the HTA president and CEO, said in a statement. “He brings to HTA a vision and energy that will help guide us in supporting programs and issues that are key to perpetuating our islands’ native culture.”
Born and raised on Oahu’s windward side in Kailua, Kaanaana served as the coordinator of clinical health and community programs in the Native Hawaiian Health Program at the Queen’s Health Systems in Honolulu. He’s also the head coach of the Kailua High School paddling team and dances hula with Halau Mohala Ilima.
“I was drawn to this position because of its significance to the Hawaiian community and to all the people of Hawaii,” Kaanaana said in a statement. “I see the responsibilities as a great opportunity to promote increased dialogue and collaboration, and to elevate our native culture authentically in our largest industry.”