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Native Hawaiian Speaker Series end talks with a call for kuleana

    By Joanna Georgiev. March 19, 2013 - 2:24 pm


At 70 years old, VerlieAnn Malina-Wright continues on her quest to spread the message of kuleana (respect). She is in harmony with her spirit, sensitive and attuned to her surroundings and breathes and lives aloha.

Wright’s passion and purpose in the past 40 years has been ensuring that the native language, cultures and traditions of Hawaii are preserved and shared.

Wright, is among the 1 percent of Native Hawaiians who has received a PhD. Unlike a regimented speech, Wright talked story with students at the last Native Hawaiian Speaker Series event this year.

Wright stressed three important and core values to her audience: ohana (family), Education and Spirituality.

Having retired from serving as an adjunct faculty member at UH, Wright reminded students of the importance of higher-level education.

Go for your PhD she noted several times in her talk, “You can never stop learning.”

“I am a fond believer in education and have wrote grants to promote service learning and scholarships for students who want to deepen their awareness about themselves and the world around them,” she added.

Wright also supports the causes she loves and invests her energy, knowledge and skills to various non-profits.

Her impact has been felt across the waters as she has worked on projects internationally and nationally and her philanthropic efforts are felt here locally.

Currently, Wright is working to control the deer population on the

Molokai by implementing a deer processing center, which would help control the species, provide food, and not to mention provide nearly 100 jobs to those on the island.

She is also the chairman of The Waikalua Loko Fishpond Preservation Society (WLFPS) whose mission is manage, preserve, and educate the Windward community about ancient Hawaiian and modern Hawaiian Fishpond practices.

The fishpond is a sustainable ecosystem in which taro can be grown and fish and other animals can thrive.

Wright left students inspired to do whatever they do with vigor and passion, and to consciously think and try and understand and appreciate the world around them with curious eyes and a compassionate heart.