In 2008, Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kānewai was awarded $799,907 in federal grant monies to build a cultural resource center from HUD’s Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian Institutions Assisting Communities (AN/NHIAC) Program. Upon completion, the resource center will have a significant impact on the community by providing a permanent public facility for the active development of cultural learning, creating a sanctuary for the practice of traditional culture and kalo cultivation, and serving as a resource for the statewide implementation of cultural, experiential learning curriculum. The proposed Kanewai Cultural Resource Center will give Native Hawaiians and other low- to moderate-income persons a sanctuary that provides the freedom to experience and practice their heritage in a traditional setting while also having the modern amenities to accommodate all aspects of their learning. Functionally, the resource center will be one of only a few intact resource centers in urban Honolulu available to service the broader Native Hawaiian community and all schools.
Design of the resource center was completed by a group of doctoral candidates in the School of Architecture here at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. This group, the Lo‘i ‘ohana, completed their work under the supervision of Professor Spencer Leineweber and architect of record Wayne Goo. The doctoral students group spent time learning about the history of Kānewai, observed how visitors and staff used the site during day-to-day tours as well as for special functions (e.g., meetings, protocol, community work days), and even spent a night at the lo‘i to observe what happens at night. Inspired by the traditional knowledge and farming methods used at Ka Papa Lo‘i o Kānewai, the group was awarded the Future Leaders of Tomorrow Graduate Award at the CNHA (Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement) conference in 2011. The award was based on professional design and planning practices that met the indigenous and community needs. The project is scheduled for completion in spring 2014.