Our Islands, Our Future
Pua Canto and Teri Freitas Gorman, past and current MNHCoC presidents

Pua Canto, past MNHCoC president, and current president Teri Freitas Gorman

“Navigating Our Future Through Business” was this year’s theme at the 10th Annual Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce (MNHCoC) Business Fest. The MNHCoC created the Annual Business Fest in 2006 as a forum to highlight its mission “to promote and sustain Hawaiian values and culture, and enhance the socio-economic status of native Hawaiians in business and as individuals.” Featured speakers, as well as panels, with different business perspectives discussed the socio-economic status of Native Hawaiians in business and education.

“With the impending closure of HC&S, Maui’s economy is in between what it has been and what it will become,” said MNHCoC President Teri Freitas Gorman. “While tourism continues to drive our economy, we also acknowledge that our fragile island cannot survive unlimited growth. Nearly 30 percent of Maui’s residents have Native Hawaiian ancestry, so it’s important for the generations to work together toward a future that is in alignment with our cultural values.”

“Maui Economic Development Board (MEDB) is a proud supporter of the MNHCoC’s 10th Anniversary Hui Holomua Business Fest,” said Gerry Smith, MEDB Director of Business Development. “It is a fantastic opportunity to network with a wide variety of stakeholders in our business community, learn skills from successful local entrepreneurs and explore issues that are vital to our future economic prosperity.”

Besides sessions, Business Fest attendees visited the Exhibit area featuring displays by MNHCoC members who work in health and wellness, community and social services, food and beverage, as well as cultural practitioners, business consultants, designers, artists, and more.

As part of the MNHCoC’s commitment to the next generation of business leaders, 50 students from Kamehameha School Maui received scholarships to attend the event. “This was a great way for me and my peers to connect with the business world,” said Jasmine Koko Casey, Kamehameha Schools Maui 12th grader. I was inspired to see that our Hawaiian culture and values are an important part of Maui County’s future.”

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, MNHCoC honored its past presidents – Boyd Mossman, Howard Kihune, Jimmy Haynes, Chubby Vicens, Kai Pelayo and Doreen Pua Canto – during an extraordinary dawn protocol on Wailea Beach.

Teri Freitas Gorman, MNHCoC President