HIR Impact Residency

Impact Residency, Community Building

"The technology we need most badly is the technology of community, the knowledge about how to cooperate to get things done." 

One of the themes that has come forward for us, that the pandemic depths remind, is that the economic transformation we collectively seek for Hawaiʻi – just, place-based, and abundant –  requires our sustained investment in advancing the “technology of community.” (McKibben, 2009) We have seen anew our shared critical mandate to see the humanity in one another, create together, and transgress our individual limits to uplift a greater vision of hope. A greater aspiration.

In 2022, HIR is developing its first-ever impact residency as it expands and deepens community-building in its core work. Residencies have been successfully used by companies, organizations and agencies around the globe for catalyzing creativity, co-learning and co-creation, and accessing a greater multiplicity of perspectives, approaches, and tools. Miwa Tamanaha serves as HIR’s first “artist-in-residence,” where she will provide mentorship and co-create community-building practices with the HIR team. 

Together, we will strive to grow community-building as both an art and a praxis in HIR’s vision, strategy, and actions for place-based economic transformation in Hawaiʻi, and the world.

tamanaha headshot

Miwa Tamanaha


Miwa Tamanaha considers herself a “recovering economist” — holding undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from the University of Southern California. Miwa’s ancestors first came to Hawaiʻi from Okinawa in the late 1800s to work sugar plantations; she is the fifth generation of her family to call Hawaiʻi home.

Miwa has studied in facilitation with revered elder Aunty Puanani Burgess, and draws from training in Facilitative Leadership. She also credits Eric Enos, Kamuela Enos, the late Uncle Henry Chang Wo, Jr., Aunty Kekuhi Kealiʻikanakaʻole and Halau ʻŌhiʻa, Aunty Lynette Paglinawan, Kealoha Pisciotta, Dr. Debbie Gowensmith, and Wally Ito (among many, many others!) as important teachers. She is an experienced community organizer, network weaver, and organization builder.

From 2011 – 2021, Miwa served as a co-founder and co-leader of local non-profit Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA). In her time at KUA, Miwa raised millions of dollars in support of grassroots biocultural resource management initiatives, and was instrumental in designing KUA’s foundational program philosophy, program design, and organizational structure. She continues to serve as an advisor, and member of the Limu Hui at KUA, a network of native seaweed practitioners which she helped to establish in 2014.

Prior to her work at KUA, Miwa served as the Policy and Communications Director for the Santa Monica Bay Commission and Executive Director of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, a grassroots advocacy non-profit committed to indigenous land rights and environmental protections. Miwa has worked in environmental policy and environmental justice advocacy in communities and ecologies from artisanal fisheries in Baja California to national parklands in Tanzania. 

Miwa lives in the ahupua’a of Waipiʻo, ‘Ewa Moku, Oʻahu, Hawaiʻi. She is a proud partner, māmā, friend, descendant, and aunty.

Work at KUA:  http://kuahawaii.org/mahalo-miwa/

KAHEA: www.kahea.org

hir triangle aqua

Interested in learning more? Sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and invitations to webinars and events. 
To explore more resources for investors and entrepreneurs, visit our Impact Library.

HIR aggregates resources for investors, social entrepreneurs, and startup founders. As we build this library, please let us know if there is anything you would like to see or learn. Interested in supporting HIR’s work to build capacity, resilience, and create pathways to a better Hawaiʻi economy? We’d love to chat!
Scroll to Top