Kalani Souza: Ambassador of Hawai’i
[one_half last=”yes”]E’komo mai!
In order to reach more people and give more fans of Hawai’i a genuine Hawaiian experience while they’re here, I’ve now launched my own Hawaiian tour company, Best of Hawaii by Kalani.
Through my Hawaii audio tours and website, I will be sharing all I know with everyone who wants to know more about Hawaii.
E’komo mai (Welcome). I can’t wait to share my stories with you.
Big Island Born and Raised
I was born on the Big Island of Hawai’i in a small city called Hilo. My dad grew up on the Hamakua coast (Papa’ikou), worked in a sugar plantation and also owned a farm. Through hard work, he provided fresh Hawaiian produce directly from the soil: fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables were on our table daily, along with home cooked Lau Lau, Kalua pig, A’ama crabs, Lomi salmon, Poi, many different types of reef fish we caught ourselves, and many more ono (delicious) Hawaiian foods.
My mom’s native Hawaiian heritage goes back more than 300 years on the island of Hawaii, and her side of our family is literally spread out on the entire island. Growing up in this family, I learned how to fish, hunt, spear dive, cook a pig in an Imu (underground oven), Hula, play the ukulele, and weave hala bracelets and baskets.
Sharing the Hawaiian Culture
I could have stayed on Big Island forever enjoying that lifestyle, but the sugar industry slowly collapsed and by 1992 the last sugar mill on the island closed its doors. After weighing the few options available locally, I decided to go after a career in tourism. I left Hilo in 1992 and moved to Oahu to become a taxi driver. Right away I started sharing my stories with everyone who joined me for a ride, explaining the old Hawaiian traditions, history, and secrets of the islands that tourists never hear about. My career choice was right! The excitement in their eyes after they hear the stories of the old Hawaiian days always gets me going and makes me want to share more and more. For 20 years now I’ve worked in the tourism industry and have acted as the ambassador of Hawai’i, introducing my customers to a deeper understanding of our unique culture and history than they can get anywhere else.