HONOLULU (KHON2) — After two years of going virtual the Native Hawaiian Convention is back in person and it returns with important topics to Native Hawaiians and Hawaii residents including the housing needs, the water contamination crisis and tourism.

Kuhio Lewis said, “We are going to get to hear from all four county mayors about their vision for reimagining regenerative tourism model, I think it is an important conversation for us collectively to have tourism is an important economic driver of Hawaii.”

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This year’s convention theme is “Hulihia” which speaks to an overturning that serves as a catalyst for deep transformative change. Fitting as we all try to move past the effects of COVID-19.

“Entertainers were hit so hard during the pandemic there was basically nowhere to play except in their backyards, so it is just nice to be amongst our fellow entertainers,” said Amy Hanaialii.

The convention being back in person means you could see, feel and even taste some of the local products.

The pop-up makeke inside the convention hosted over 100 local vendors

Kehaulani Nielson, Kahulalea owner said, “We started at market places like this, you know we built our brand on pop-ups and market places so mahalo to CNHA for providing a space for local vendors to showcase their items.”

The Native Hawaiian Convention is also serving as a space to highlight the resiliency many people showed during the past two years– as well as honor those lost along the way.

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“Unfortunately we have lost some of our kupuna that have been a part of our convention over the years so this year we get to honor them, their life but also in their spirit plan for course forward,” Lewis said.