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ʻŌpio Spotlight: February Issue

Updated: 7 days ago

In 2023, ʻOAKA released an article addressing the deficit narrative that proclaims, 'The best and brightest of Hawaiʻi are all leaving.' Through our new series of ʻōpio spotlights, we hope to highlight some of Hawaiʻi Island's strengths and redefine success, proving that the best and brightest aren't leaving—they're contributing, leading, and making a significant impact in our communities.

Laʻakea Peleiholani, 23, was born in Waimea and raised in Puʻukapu and Kalapana on Hawaiʻi Island. She graduated from Honokaʻa High School in 2018 and is a self-made entrepreneur committed to serving our local and Native Hawaiian communities.

Together, Laʻakea and her partner, Makanaohaililani Waikiki, launched Puʻukapu Processing in 2023, a Native Hawaiian women-owned ranch and processing company, to provide their community with sustainable, responsibly and ethically sourced, traceable food. "This is about fueling LIFE into our communities instead of illness."

"It’s so much more than just money. It’s creating opportunities in my community for organic food to be an option for ‘ohanas. It’s about connecting with other people who share the same vision for a sustainable Hawai’i. It’s showing my siblings that a 9-5 isn’t their only option and being passionate about your work is achievable."

"We are still small, we are still learning, and we are still finding our footing. But, life used to look a lot different for us. We used to be unsure of ourselves. We didn’t know how to make the dream turn into a reality. We were dependent on people who didn’t share our values. We pour so much of ourselves into Pu’ukapu Processing. Every purchase is one step closer to our goal, one more ʻohana with improved food security, and one more opportunity to connect and grow within our community."




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