m. kalani souza


Rev. M. Kalani Souza

Kalani is a gifted storyteller, singer, songwriter, musician, performer, poet, philosopher, priest, political satirist, and peacemaker. A Hawaiian practitioner and cross-cultural facilitator, he has experience in promoting social justice through conflict resolution. His workshops and lectures inspire, challenge and entertain the listener while calling all to be their greater selves.

His native roots allow him a unique perspective of the collision of two worlds: one steeped in traditional culture and the other a juggernaut of new morality and changing economic and political persuasion. He is a messenger of integration and collaboration in a world normally rife with exclusion, oppression and hopelessness. His work in behavior modification research, leadership, teambuilding and political strategy gives him generous insights into group dynamics and systems of governance.

Kalani is the Founding and current Director of the Olohana Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit based on Hawaii’s Big Island since 2008. Olohana focuses on building community capacity, cohesiveness, resilience, and emergency preparedness around food, energy, water, and knowledge systems.

Kalani is also a Coastal Community Resilience Trainer with FEMA Consortium member, the National Disaster Preparedness Training Center at the University of Hawaii, in Honolulu, Hawaii. He serves as a cultural competency consultant for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Services Center of the U.S. Department of Commerce and is regularly called to lead and participate in workshops and webinars on topics including disaster preparedness, community, relationships, knowledge systems sharing, indigenous environmental stewardship, and climate change adaptation. He also serves as a mentor with the Hawaii non-killing effort out of the Spark Matsunaga Center for Peace and as a board member for the Ala Kahakai Trail Association, part of the National Park Services Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail.

Previously, Kalani taught Conflict Resolution at University of Hawaii at Manoa in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. He served as the chairman of the Indigenous Knowledge & Education (IKE) Hui of the Pacific Risk Management Ohana (PRiMO), a collection of federal, state, county and non-governmental agencies that work primarily to mitigate and respond to disasters in the greater Pacific region; and recently consulted with the Presidents Ocean Policy Task Force around the indigenous knowledge and science integration perspective in Washington D.C.

Kalani was on the Committee for Intense Public Conflict of the Association for Conflict Resolution (ACR), a body of 6,000 international professional peacemakers; and served as one of two Hawaiians in the Native Network, a group of 450 peacemakers on the Department of the Interior (DOI) out of the Morris Udall Center for Peace in Tucson, Arizona.

Kalani engaged in a musical and media project, the Big Blue O, that produced an album in 2011. The project  is also working on a film highlighting issues of community and cultural capacity through the lens of our relationships to one another and to water.

13 thoughts on “m. kalani souza

  1. Nicolae Tanase

    Dear M. Kalani Souza,

    I’m Nicolae Tanase, founder of the largest “Meaning of Life” e-publication — http://www.ExcellenceReporter.com
    and editor of the recently published book “What is the Meaning of Life?” that is a result of two years of investigation.

    I am partnering with Marilyn Turkovich (Director of the Charter for Compassion International) and Dr. Lesa Walker (Founder of the Compassionate Austin movement) on a new initiative: “What makes a Compassionate City?”

    Would you be willing to contribute your thoughts to the Compassionate City Project? The process is very simple.

    Write down your insight on the following questions:

    1) What makes a compassionate city/community?;

    2) How do you measure compassion?; and,

    3) What do you do to contribute to creating a more compassionate community and world?

    Then, email your response back to me along with your consent. Also, send a large quality photo of you, a short bio, and the name (location) of your city/community, e.g. Austin, Texas, USA.

    I will publish your response online at Excellence Reporter. Also, we plan to publish a book of the responses in the future.

    I’d be grateful to have you interconnected in the Compassionate City Network. The world needs your wit and help on “What makes a Compassionate City?”

    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

    Nicolae Tanase

    P.S. I prefer min. 250 words and max. 900.
    PP.S. Please send it along with a high-resolution photo, a short bio, and the name (location) of your city/community, e.g. Austin, Texas, USA.

  2. Eddie Mersereau

    Aloha Rev. Souza,
    I was very inspired by your speech at the opening of the DPH convention yesterday in Waikaloa. Is there any way you might have a recording of it? Or if not, would it be possible to have a transcript? There were so many parts that resounded with my mind and spirit and I wanted to be able to contemplate the lessons further.

  3. Michelle Ross


    It was a privilege to have you on board our flight. After leaving LAX, meeting you again downstairs with your wife and friend was even more special.

    I had an opportunity in reading what you do, I can see the mana in the whole thing. Mahalo for being there for those who need resolution, bringing the “Old Techniques” into this modern world that is so fast paced and not able to really see things through. Mahalo for you, Ms. Takamine-Holt and others in speaking up for those who are “never heard” to those who are “barely heard.”

    My family and I will hope to see you soon either on Big Island or one of the meetings or even genealogy search.

    Hoping to see you and all others on my plane very soon.

    Mahalo nui loa,

    Michelle Ross

  4. Thorne Abbott

    Aloha Kalani
    It was great to run into you at Manago Hotel in December. I hope all is well with you and we think of you often. Keep up the good fight my friend! Thanks for teaching us and sharing your aloha.

  5. Chuck Spence

    Mahalo nui loa to Kahu Kalani Souza for a wonderful Renewal Conference speech and breakout session at the Episcopal Diocese of Hawaii conference. What a gift to hear you speak and hear your prayer song.

  6. Bella

    Aloha, I am Bella, one of the children you spoke to today. you have truly inspired me today. I appreciate listening to your wisdom and reconsidering everything I ever knew. I will always remember the knowledge you shared with me and I am ever grateful I was able to meet you and your beautiful wife. I would love to speak to you again. I agree with everything you said. I one day wish to move to Hawaii and live off my days in this paradise, where the people are more open minded and united. I wish you guys the best, mahalo wise one.

  7. Sam Preer


    It was great to meet and learn from you today. Your mana is powerful. And you speak the truth. Both community values and environmental justices, in the wake of climate and social change, are better served with your inspiration.


  8. David Kennard

    It was great to see you at the PRiMO Conference last week! Good to see good people doing good things. Warmest Aloha

  9. Mohammed lotfy

    السلام عليكم
    يعطيك العافيه على جهودك
    وإن شاء الله في ميزان حسناتك
    عندي ابو مرتي!!! ابو المدام جالو شلل نصفي الجه اليسرى كامل وطبعاً انت عارف مصاريف المستشفيات ماراح تخلص ممكن تفيدني
    وشكرا لك

  10. Andres Quiroga

    Hello Mr. Souza, I am a student at New York University conducting and designing a research project regarding the climate crisis in Hawaii. I would love to get the opportunity to interview you for the audio component of my website. I think you would provide great insight on the urgency of the climate situation, what it means to the Native population in Hawaii, and what the steps necessary are to preserving the islands’ culture and resources. I would appreciate any time you have! Thank you so much,

    Andrés Quiroga


Leave a Reply to David Kennard Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

4 + three =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>