Keli'ikoa ohana moves in

HILO, Hawaii:  The community gathered to celebrate a new beginning for a local family in Hilo; the 45th new beginning under an inspiring program.

On Thursday, a home built by students in the Hawaii Community College Model Home Program was dedicated in the Hawaiian homestead community of Keaukaha.

Hawaiian Home Lands beneficiary Denice Keli’ikoa is the prospective homeowner for the home. She has been on the Hawaiian homes waiting list since January 1986. The keys were handed over to the ohana during today’s ceremony.

The three-bedroom, two-bath home was built at a cost to the future homeowner of $199,935.

A traditional Hawaiian blessing called moku ka piko, meaning the cutting of the umbilical cord, was performed to initiate the new home. The symbolic piko was made of plant materials gathered by the HawCC students and woven together, with each plant possessing a specific reason for its use in the piko.

The Pakele Lane home utilizes energy-efficient technology including a solar water heater system, a 4 KW Photovolatic system, and Energy Star qualified appliances. The home also includes custom-built cabinets, doors, and windows.

The Model Home program at Hawaii Community College provides instruction in drafting, welding, carpentry, electrical, and landscaping. The college coordinates the painting, plumbing, carpeting, and drywall subcontracting work. The residential dwelling was the 45th home to be built under the partnership between Hawaiian Homelands and Hawaii Community College.

Although he was unable to attend, the DHHL chairman and Hilo native issued this statement via a media release:

“Today we celebrate the completion of a custom-built home, and the beginning of a new life of homeownership for a Hawaiian home lands beneficiary,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman Alapaki Nahale-a. “This collaboration helps us fulfil our mission of returning Native Hawaiians to the land, while providing real-world experience to our community college students.”

Under the agreement, the DHHL provided space and funding which allowed the students to acquire on-the-job skills in home construction, while also helping the DHHL fulfill its mission of returning native Hawaiians to the land. Since the Model Home program’s inception in 1965, over 3,640 drafting, welding, carpentry, electrical and agricultural students have participated in the program.