Kalihi Valley is known in Hawaiian cosmology as the home of Papahānaumoku, Earth Mother and ancestor to all Hawaiian people. Her home in Kilohana, Kalihi's highest mountain peak, has been a place of pilgrimage for Hawaiians for generations, and today Kalihi's youth still honor Kilohana in chants, song, and stories about this valley.
From the arrival of early diasporas from China, Japan and Korea, to the 1950 and 60s, when pig farms were replaced with the state’s two largest public housing developments, this land has been a first home to many of Hawai'i’s newest arrivals including families from Laos, Samoa, the Philippines, the Marshall Islands, and Chuuk. And since 1972, KKV has channeled Papahānaumoku’s nurturing energy, welcoming and providing vital support to each successive wave of new immigrants, who in turn learn to give back to their adopted land and their host communities.
Over one-third (38%) of Kalihi Valley residents come from countries outside of Hawai'i, bringing with them rich heritage and traditions. This diversity makes Kalihi a place where we come together to celebrate culture. At KKV, 98% of patients are of Asian/Pacific Island descent: 31% are Filipino, 24% are Micronesian, 20% are Samoan, 8% are other Asian, and 7% are Native Hawaiian. Honoring these roots, over half of our staff are bilingual and trained to interpret in more than 20 spoken languages and dialects—with 55% of patients speaking a language other than English at home, interpretation and translation is a vital service. Following our intention to maintain deep roots in the community and uplift the talents of Kalihi Valley residents, many of our employees and volunteers come directly from the community we serve. KKV does not only serve the community—we are the community.
We are a community rich with history, culture, and diversity. While we are now part of an urban Honolulu community, we still share food, recipes, stories, laughter, and sometimes tears. Even in our stores and restaurants, you can hear our youth say to cashiers and waitresses, "Yes, Aunty! Thank you, Aunty!" Kalihi is a community where love and respect still live.