Homestead association opens outdoor marketplace on Kauai

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ANAHOLA, Kauai – The nonprofit Anahola Hawaiian Homes Association opened its outdoor marketplace April 30 at the entrance to Anahola, on Kuhio Highway, the largest Hawaiian Homestead community on Kauai, with regular operating hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., daily, Wednesday through Sunday.

“The opening of this marketplace is a dream come true for AHHA, because we know it helps local people,” said Amanda Kaleiohi, a longtime AHHA board member.

Opening day included colorful vendor tents, with plenty of parking. Vendors include lei makers, a shave ice stand, a flower stand, and small business owners selling crafts and other products, even a Hawaiian sovereignty group selling delicious huli chicken with their own secret recipe.

“We have been the recipient of technical assistance from the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement over the last six years,” said Lorraine Rapozo, AHHA president. “CNHA has helped us every step of the way, providing help with planning, finding grants and helping us to improve how we function as a small all-volunteer association. The marketplace has been a great collaboration, not just for us and CNHA, but the East Kauai community, as a whole.”

The accomplishments of AHHA are attributed to many partners and volunteers. It received its initial funding to launch its first project from American Savings Bank, followed by equipment support from the United States Department of Agriculture, and capital funds for the Anahola Resource Center from former Mayor Bryan Baptiste of the County of Kauai. Hawaiian Homestead Technology, a social enterprise employing local residents opened in 2003 at the AHHA site, and Hawaiian Community Assets, a financial education nonprofit joined the resource center in 2007. This year, with the help of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Kauai Community College, AHHA will open its certified kitchen, serving the east side of Kauai.

“It’s been an incredible journey,” Rapozo said. “The State Department of Hawaiian Homelands provided land for the marketplace, as well as grants to retrofit our resource center to provide foreclosure prevention services in the community. We are really grateful to all of our partners that believed in AHHA and our strategic plan. We hope many, many vendors will come sell their products and engage the community at our marketplace.”

AHHA is a homestead association of residents in Anahola, Kauai, and is a member of the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homeland Assembly. Founded in 1957, AHHA unifies its homestead resident members to improve the quality of life of the Anahola area. An association of homesteaders living on Hawaiian Homelands, AHHA owns and operates a resource center adjacent to the marketplace. The marketplace is part of an overall strategic plan that includes a certified community kitchen scheduled to open in September and a youth summer camp opening in 2011.

For more information, visit the Web site, or contact the AHHA office at (808) 820-8029.