Nomination: John K.S. Aeto – 2020 Kalaniana‘ole Award

The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs

2020 Kalaniana‘ole Award

Outstanding Hawaiian Civic Club Member
for Service to the Community At-Large


Nominee’s Name:  John K. S. Aeto

Nominee is a registered member of:  Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club

Has this nominee received this award within the last five (5) years? No

Nominating Hawaiian Civic Club/Civic Club member name:   Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club /John Aeto

Contact person’s name:  Juanita Kawamoto, President, Kalihi Palama HCC, phone: 343-6921; email:

List three (3) best examples of the volunteer service the nominee has performed to/for the community at-large throughout calendar year 2019; include examples of leadership position(s) held, planning, organizational skills etc.

  1. Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association: Tourism is Hawaii’s #1 industry and the impact of this industry on Native Hawaiians cannot be overstated.  John serves as volunteer Chairman of the Board for the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association. Their mission is to promote Hawaiian culture, values and traditions in the workplace through consultation and education, and to provide opportunities for the Native Hawaiian community to shape the future of tourism.  Under his leadership, in 2019, NaHHA released its new strategic plan recognizing the intersection of Hawaiian tradition and innovation.  Directly thereafter they engaged tourism and business professionals, as well as members of the general public, in the hopes that they will be surprised and inspired by the impact that Hawaiian cultural values and traditional practices are having on tourism-related experiences for residents and visitor alike.  Additionally, NaHHA conducted a 2-hour class to foster a sense of belonging, encourage personal initiatives, and building a collective knowledge of the history of Hawai‘i for workers in the Tourism industry.  In Fiscal Year 2019 (July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019) they did 43 trainings; a total of 100 education hours with a total of 1222 participants in attendance.  In Fiscal Year 2020 (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020) they did 54 trainings, a total of 158 education hours with a total of 1372 participants in attendance.
  2. Ka Leo O Hawai‘i Media: In 2017, the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs supported  the establishment of a Native Hawaiian Radio Program and global radio network.  Through John’s leadership , that objective was met.  In early 2019, AM 940  KKNE was launched.  It is a full-time radio station where all content is conducted in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.  It is the world’s only Hawaiian language radio station streaming on line over the internet for the whole world.   John serves as its volunteer Executive Director.
  3. Waikiki Youth Outreach: John and his wife’s favorite non-profit is the Waikiki youth outreach for runaway teens. Each month on the 3rd Monday.  they cook a meal and serve over 25 teens who are homeless in Waikiki. They also donate Christmas boxes and stuff throughout the year. Some of these children are  as young as 10.   

List three (3) best examples of active involvement and participation in Hawaiian Civic Club activities throughout calendar year 2019.  

  1. Delegate to the Association of Hawaiian Civic Club Convention. Lead spokesman for the Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club on resolutions heard in the Economic Development     As a business owner, John’s input is invaluable when examining the merits of resolutions heard in this committee.  A caring member, at the 2019 convention, John would greet his fellow members with, “Eh, everybody ok?  You guys all had lunch?” and next thing you know there would be pizzas and drinks delivered.  He also supported the AHCC  by purchasing a sponsorship package.  His generosity is year round; for us, in 2019, ending with  a large donation to support the club’s annual holiday party.
  2. Recognizing the underrepresentation of Native Hawaiians in past U.S. census, John educated the members of the Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club on the pressing, critical need for Native Hawaiians to participate in the U.S. Census. As a result, the club introduced resolution 2019-61, Supporting Participation in the U.S. Census at the 2019 annual Association of Hawaiian Civic Club Convention, at which the resolution was adopted.
  3. Under the leadership of John, the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association funds one of its employees to attend the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs convention. Following the convention, the employee, who is also a member of a civic club, prepares a report on the resolutions and their relevance to NaHHA’s work.  The Board and staff are briefed and they take into consideration the adopted resolutions in their decisions.

List three (3) best examples of how the nominee reflects Hawaiian values.

  1. Ho‘ohana (To work with heartfelt purpose): All that John does is with the heartfelt purpose of enhancing the Native Hawaiian, whether it be his own family, his office family, or the community.  As a communications media specialist, John has used his talents and skills to feature Native Hawaiians in all aspects of communications, whether it be radio, TV, and digital media.  By featuring Native Hawaiians, he enables their voices to be heard on important issues in our community.
  2. Kuleana (A personal sense of responsibility):  A native son of Kalihi and a graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, John understands kuleana to his family, his business, and to his community, especially his civic club.   Even as busy as John is, he always takes time to check on the people in his life and to make sure they are cared for and in many cases donating money to friends and family in times of need.
  3. Kokua (To help): When the Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club calls for assistance, John is always the first to say “yes.”  He will donate money and time toward our fundraisers, programs and gatherings.  Empowering, John uses his business to promote Native Hawaiians.  He is also a member of several nonprofit organizations, i.e., Chair of the Board of Directors, Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association; Executive Director of Kaleo O Hawai‘i Media;  Board member, Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl; Capital Campaign Advisor of the Kidney Foundation of Hawai‘i; President of Hiki No Records.  He is also a former board member of the Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Hale Kipa, March of Dues, Abilities Unlimited and the Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts.

List any award(s) and/or public recognition the nominee received from the greater community in calendar year 2019.

  1. ABC Affiliate WJLA News Station Recognizes John’s kindness and generosity: In July, after seeing a news report on ABC affiliate WJLA about a bride who ordered a dress from China and found it was eight sizes too big upon arrival just before the wedding, John stepped up and donated money to the bride. The news station acknowledged John’s generosity in a subsequent report.
  2. The Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association, of which John Aeto is the volunteer Chair of the Board of Directors, received the Distinguished Service Award from the School of Travel Industry Management at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa in April 2019, noting that, “Your commitment to perpetuating the Hawaiian culture is commendable and your hard work and dedication enrich our lives and improve our communities in the State of Hawai’i.” Governor Ige followed up with a mahalo “for making Hawai‘i a special place where future generations can choose to call home and sharing aloha with our visitors.”
  3. In November, Honolulu Civil Beat featured an editorial penned by John regarding the importance of the 2020 Census.  In December, the U.S. Census Bureau formally recognized the completed work put forth by John Aeto toward the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community for the 2020 Census.