Small Town and Rural Economic Development: A Case Studies Approach

By Peter V. Schaeffer; Scott Loveridge | Go to book overview

enable the collaborators to facilitate a community-wide vision for tourism, to further develop the business center, and to provide for an ongoing community- based evaluation of these efforts. The grant from the Hitachi Foundation will help further the goals of the business center by providing a more comprehensive program to assist community members and local businesses, to collaborate with the local schools, and to develop the capacity of local leaders.

The members of the WCC are cognizant that the well-being of the community and thus the success of any project requires full participation and contribution from all sectors of the community's citizenry. The 1993 Wai'anae Coast summit focused on community governance issues and recommended increasing community control over the destiny of the Wai'anae Coast using the ahupua'a model. The Ua Mau planning group has representation from each council and assisted the councils in various ways.

An evaluation of the 1997 Ua Mau found that the planners agreed that the festival was a success and that the councils were stronger as a result of working together. Some events overlapped because planning had emphasized a decentralized approach, which resulted in capacity building at the ahupua'a level, but also created tensions between the ahupua'a councils. The group concluded that (1) future events should be scheduled with no overlap so that cooperation along the coast can occur, and (2) that efforts to develop the ahupua'a councils need to continue to enable the planning committee to focus more on marketing the entire festival.

The WCC has also articulated the importance of extending the social networks to include youth. A variety of Ua Mau activities, including the annual community health summit, the ahupua'a councils, other community groups, and the emerging cultural tourism industry, encouraged youth involvement. Although the summit usually takes place during a school day, students are encouraged by their schools to attend and participate. They are delegates with voting and decision-making power, and many have been chosen to present their ahupua'a's decisions and action plans in plenary sessions. Some students have multiple roles and also assist summit organizers with group facilitation and recording, and asset mapping, while others provide entertainment such as traditional chanting and hula dancing.

The future vision involves young people in planning the summit, and the development of a youth summit as a preconference activity. Each of the community ahupua'a councils has established an 'opio (youth) delegate position, with voting rights, on their executive committees. Each 'opio is asked to assist in activities designed to promote intergenerational cultural exchanges, specifically between young and old. In addition, the youth delegate insures that some facet of cultural activities, including events staged as a part of Ua Mau, have a component that is attractive to the young generation.


CONCLUSION

The Ua Mau project has given Wai'anae Coast residents a project that helped bring them together to build community cohesion and celebration, while

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