The University of Hawaiʻi System (UH) aspires to become the world’s foremost indigenous serving university and through its mission, embraces it unique responsibility to the indigenous people of Hawaiʻi and to Hawaiʻi’s language and culture. To fulfill this responsibility, the university ensures active support for the participation of Native Hawaiians at the university and support vigorous programs of study and support for the Hawaiian language, history and culture.

To further support the UH System goal of becoming model indigenous-serving institution, in 2012 UH adopted the Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao (HPOKA) plan that identifies the following characteristics of a model indigenous-serving institution in Hawaiʻi and three thematic goals:

  • Hawaiian enrollment at parity with Hawaiians in the Hawaii state populations and Hawaiian students performing at parity with non-Hawaiians.
  • Qualified Native Hawaiian faculty, are employed in all disciplines at the University.
  • Native Hawaiian values are included in its decision-making and practices.
  • The UH is the foremost authority on Native Hawaiian scholarship.
  • The University is responsive to the needs of the Hawaiian community and, with community input, implements programs to address the needs of Native Hawaiians and other underrepresented groups.
  • The University fosters and promotes Hawaiian culture and language at all its campuses.


Thematic Goals

Leadership Development

Prepare more Native Hawaiians to assume leadership roles within UH and the community.

Community Engagement

Impart a Hawaiian “sense of place” on each of the UH campuses and develop community and public-private partnerships locally and globally that advances UH’s indigenous serving goals and share practices globally.

Hawaiian Culture and Language Parity

Advance the utilization and understanding of the Hawaiian language and culture through the UH System, including through articulated programs of study as well as through informal learning.


Using the UH System HPOKA plan as a framework, the UH Hilo HPOKA plan supports the advancement of the UH Hilo Strategic plan whereby, UH Hilo seeks to reflect Hawaiʻi, its people, history, cultures, and natural environment, and to embody the concept of a “Hawaiian university.”

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