Hawai’i leaders are engaging in leadership practices to preserve and pass on their culture and knowledge to future generations. However, due to colonization, capitalism, and hegemonic forces present in Hawai’i this has resulted in challenges faced by leaders such as resistance, competition, and bureaucracy. Hawai’i leaders have been involved in legal controversies to protect the sacred places, people, and resources that connect them to ancestors, culture, and identity. Indigenous and Native Hawaiian epistemology have been missing within academia. The purpose of this study is to expand the growing body of knowledge within Hawai’i leadership. This qualitative research study will explore the successful strategies Hawai’i leadership employ within their organization. A phenomenological approach was used to understand the lived experiences of leaders in Hawai’i. Qualitative data was collected and analyzed using semi-structured interviews. Leaders were asked to identify the successful strategies, characteristics, and challenges in their practice. Leaders were also asked to describe the definition of success and how it is measured and tracked in their organization. Furthermore, advice was provided to future leaders of Hawai’i. As a result of this study, findings were discovered to build upon indigenous scholarship and leadership practice within Hawai’i. The major findings include the importance of collectivism instead of individualism and the ability to grow and transform into successful leaders. Success was defined as elevating others, the ability to execute goals, and happiness which were tracked through moʻolelo, metrics, and growth. A deep sense of aloha and pono serves as the foundation for developing into an effective leader and reaching the highest potential. E kūlia i ka nuʻu, strive for the highest summit.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Hawaiians; Hawaiians--Leadership; Success

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Gabriella Miramontes