Kanilehua Framework

Native Hawaiian Cultural Intervention Training

Native Hawaiian Cultural Intervention Training

The series adapts the Kanilehua Framework to provide technical assistance and training to the Hawaiʻi Opioid Initiative as well as build a middle & high school curriculum for primary prevention. The training approach includes an opening ceremony, sharing of ʻike Hawaiʻi through the ʻai me ka iʻa (fish and poi, salt and starch) concept, academic research, continuing education units, resource toolkits and culturally safe virtual learning space.

This live series was hosted on Zoom by the Māpuna Lab at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa, Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health. The series presents opportunities for providers to connect with Hawaiian and Pacific Islander values and perspectives on Mauli Ola, optimal health, values that are shared across all cultures.

The Kanilehua Framework

Kanilehua Framework Graphic

ʻAi me ka iʻa

The ʻai me ka iʻa concept comes from an ʻōlelo noʻeau similar to “i komo ka ʻai i ka paʻakai” which translates to “it is the salt that makes the poi go in. “Poi tastes much better with salted meats. If there is no meat, one can make a meal of poi and salt.” (Pukui).

The ʻAi

The ʻai me ka iʻa concept provides a pathway to address, improve, and/or supplement any work that is already being done. In this case, the ʻai represents each HOI Workgroup and the work they are already doing

The Iʻa

While the iʻa represents the cultural sustenance provided by the Kanilehua Framework.

Opening Ceremony

Each webinar begins with purposefully selected music as participants enter the zoom, promptly followed with pule – a Hawaiian chant/prayer that sets the tone for the webinar topic. Participants were be guided through the recitation process. Each participant received access to a corresponding mp3 file along with lyrics in PDF format, and English translations as part of the webinar toolkit disseminated after the training.

The Kanilehua Curriculum centers on a cultural and linguistic framework that teaches us to understand public health as a relational process and that everyone involved has a very important role. In the Kanilehua Framework cycle, the Kanilehua rain, named for a rain that falls in Hilo on Hawaiʻi Island, falls from the sky toward the earth. Over time this rain water percolates through hard rock into the pahu moanaliha or underground aquifer. 


(c. 1540-1634)

Kākuhihewa is the 15th aliʻi ‘aimoku (ruling chief) of O‘ahu famously named in the mele “Kaulana Nā Pua.” Kākuhihewa was a kind and friendly chief who was born in Kūkaniloko and raised in the ‘Ewa moku. His primary endeavor was farming, and it is said that his abundant harvests on O‘ahu could be smelled from Kaua‘i.

Today, there is a state office building named after him in Kapolei.