Kia’i Lee is a graduate of Leeward Community College. He grew up in Waiʻanae and is currently a student at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa studying to be a social worker. Kiaʻi is dedicated to serving Native Hawaiian families and works as a counselor at Partners in Development Foundation, which provides social services, education, and Hawaiian language and culture programs.
Ke Ala I Maunakea is an original mele Kiaʻi wrote to mark a special time in his then pre-teen daughterʻs life. Here is the manaʻo behind his mele:
In March of 2010, my daughter and I visited Mauna Kea. It was a time to relax, bond with each other, the ‘āina and Ke Akua. Despite the controversy surrounding that sacred place, we were able to connect with the peach and serenity it offers. This mele reflects our continuing journey together. Such comparison can be made to life’s daily struggles and unforeseen turns. Together we can overcome adversity and accomplish our goals as we remain focused on that vision of success while striving toward excellence.
Credits: Videos by Robert Delim and Kat Kamit; feature photo courtesy of Kahoʻolemana Naone, Makawalu Photography