Our Islands, Our Future

Meeting human needs is a priority value expressed by our community through the Focus Maui Nui process, and in the case of Brian Moto, this applies to helping the victims of the recent Japan disasters as well as those in need on Maui. Moto, volunteer Board President of Maui Fukushima Kenjin Kai, the local association of descendants of Fukushima prefecture—devastated by recent events—is working with numerous other groups across the State to raise funds for direct relief efforts.

Closer to home, Moto, formerly the chief legal adviser to the County of Maui, provides pro bono legal work for Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii. The agency counsels low-income individuals and families at neighborhood clinics, providing legal advice to those who could otherwise not afford it on issues such as tenant and consumer rights, contract disputes, and collections. Moto is also an active board member for the Friends of the Children’s Justice Center, which helps neglected and abused children and their families. “My voluntary work is personally very rewarding,” observes Moto. “I am sure I get much more out of working for those in most need than the agencies I serve,” he adds modestly.

In February, Moto became Special Assistant to the Chancellor of University Hawaii Maui College, but the change in appointment has not affected Moto’s dedication to volunteering in the community. Among several other commitments, Moto is a Eucharistic Minister at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Kula, having studied at Yale Divinity School after gaining a law degree. “That experience put everything in a larger perspective for me, especially the importance of giving to others and finding meaning in one’s life and work,” says Moto. “The most important aspect of volunteering my time is to help those who are least able to speak for themselves or get the help they need.”