Under the challenges of a global pandemic, people across Hawaiʻi have taken the opportunity to turn our focus toward building more conscious and sustainable communities. The KIPA certification program was created to help visitor industry service providers (VISPs) deliver rich experiences that honor the culture, environment, and history of our home. Acknowledging the harm that unregulated tourism has caused to our lands and communities, the KIPA certification is a commitment by companies to engage in informed, respectful, and reciprocal interactions with both the people and places of Hawaiʻi. A KIPA certification will be given to VISPs who complete the training and performance-based assessment and form lasting relationships with our Hawaiʻi practitioners and places.


The KIPA curriculum will challenge participants (both individuals and businesses) to learn the deep connections the people of Hawaiʻishare with their landscape, understand the origins of those connections, and begin to form connections of their own.

PAPAKŪ MAKAWALU is the study and application of kūpuna-methodologies to the observation, understanding, and organization of our environment. This practice is grounded in the geography and phenomena of Hawaiʻi, laying the foundation on which KIPA is built.

WAHI PANA are all places throughout the paeʻāina that have kept people physically and spiritually attuned to the nature and genealogy of this land. As such, these places demand an appropriate approach by visitors and kamaʻāina alike.

KIPA In Detail

To obtain a KIPA certification, participants will train in the four pillars of kupaʻāina practice, learning how to enact respectful engagement with our wahi pana and communities.

KIPA I NĀ WAHI PANA: Educate our visitors to recognize and be conscious of wahi pana and approach it with appropriate protocol and reverence.

KIPA IĀ KUAULI: Welcome visitors to participate in huakaʻi with purposeful intent toward a healthy and vibrant ʻāina.

KIPA I KE KAMA: Help visitors demonstrate respectful regard for kamaʻāina and be attentive to interactions with the host culture, language, and way of life.

KIPA KŪNIHI: Engage visitors to participate safely here on Hawaiʻi Moku and return home with a healthy respect for island culture and natural resources.

Standards for engagement were developed in collaboration with place-based stewards from across Hawaiʻi Moku. Trainings consist of 4 6-8 hour sessions.

If you would like to receive notices regarding KIPA training, please send a request to be added to our email list to