Aloha ‘Aina at Hawaii’s Akahiao Nature Institute

TOP IMAGE © Julie Rogers

By Raye Mocioiu

Award-winning Canadian explorer Jeff Fuchs was made for adventure. His father inspired him to be inquisitive, always searching for the stories and histories behind everything that crossed his path. A natural nomad, his grandmother encouraged his adventurous nature, teaching him that getting lost did not have to be bad—it could also be a way to learn.

Fuchs discovered that when you live on the road, you must quickly find out what you need to survive—from equipment to health necessities. He quickly learned that his most important tool was his willingness to blend in and adapt to new settings, environments, and cultures, all of which require openmindedness, intention, and a thirst for knowledge.

His love for people drives his adventurous spirit, honouring those who share their wisdom and experiences with him. In all of his expeditions, Fuchs holds that the art of listening is an essential skill; the great stories of life are found through listening. Wherever his travels take him, he keeps a simple mandate in mind: to always give more than he takes and to never take more than he needs.

Jeff Fuchs, owner of Akahiao © Andrew Gregg
Jeff Fuchs © Andrew Gregg

These simple mottos led him to co-create the Akahiao Nature Institute, a joint venture with his wife and fellow adventurer, Julie. Through Akahiao, the two seek to impart a love of nature and sustainability to the next generation of youth through immersive outdoor experiences, farm-to-table eating, and establishing values that put the earth first.

Akahiao, located in Huehue Ranch on the Western slope of Hualalai on the Big Island of Hawaii, connects the past, present, and future through the beauty of nature. As one of the oldest ranches in Hawaii, established in 1886, the space holds history within its branches and fields. At the same time, the ranch has been reimaged as a lush, biodynamic sanctuary for people and nature to live as one and form connections that cannot be formed anywhere else.

The Institute seeks to impart a simple yet powerful philosophy to all who visit: Aloha ‘Aina, to love and care for the land; ‘Ai Pono, to enjoy the bounty of food from nature; Pilina, to stick together and develop authentic bonds; and No na mamo, to do it all for the love and wellbeing of our children, the future generation.

Through Akahiao’s immersive programs, guests will rediscover their connection to nature by living off—and with—the land, integrating unique learning experiences with meditation practices, regenerative cooking and crafting techniques, and outdoor activities that foster leadership, laughter, and restoration. In every program, the team incorporates “tea time,” inspired by Fuch’s years living in Asia, where groups come together to share and enjoy the sacred practice of “taking time to take time.”

Here, the wisdom of the past and the creativity of the future come together, offering a chance for innovation and purpose. With every program hosted at Akahiao, the vision is to create a world where life, learning, and a sense of meaning combine and follow each visitor throughout the rest of their lives. We are all stewards of the land, and to care for the world around us is to celebrate it.

As Fuchs says, “If we don’t engage youth, how then can we expect them to care?”

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