Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, the only Forbes Five-Star and AAA Five-Diamond Resort on the Island of Hawai’i, announces the appointment of Kaaiohelo McAfee-Torco as Cultural Manager. In this role, McAfee-Torco will lead and oversee the Resort’s cultural operations and programming to help guests discover Hawai’i’s living traditions and ultimately depart with a deep understanding of the spirit of aloha.
“Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is dedicated to ensuring each guest develops a strong sense of place while they are here by sharing cultural significance about the ‘āina, or ‘land,’ the people, and the richness of life as it once was at Hualālai,” says Charlie Parker, General Manager and Regional Vice President of Four Seasons Resort Hualalai. “We are excited to welcome Ka’ai into our ’ohana to continue to share Hualālai’s fascinating culture and history with both guests and our team.”
Born and raised on O’ahu, McAfee-Torco attended Hawaiian immersion schools and Kamehameha School, which established a foundation for her kuleana, or “responsibility,” to Hawai’i and its people. This eventually led her to pursue a bachelor’s degree in communication from Emerson College and a master’s degree in curriculum studies from University of Hawai’i, before she ultimately began a career teaching on the island. Most recently, McAfee-Torco taught at Punahou School in Honolulu where she supported the ʻŌlelo Hawai’i program by teaching about 400 students.
Fostering her love for hana no’eau, or “traditional Hawaiian practices,” outside of her day job, McAfee-Torco spent her time learning from kūpuna, or “elders,” at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, and connected with her ancestral voyaging and navigating roots by travelling aboard the Hōkūleʻa for three months on a worldwide voyage. This innate passion, in hand with several firsthand experiences at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, drove McAfee-Torco to pursue a career at the Resort where she could share this sentiment with the broader world.
“I am thrilled to continue my journey of teaching Hawaiian culture at Four Seasons Resort Hualalai,” states McAfee-Torco. “I look forward to building upon and strengthening the Resort’s cultural programming with the help of our mea ho‘okipa, or ‘hospitality ambassadors’ at Ka‘ūpulehu Cultural Center to allow our guests to leave Four Seasons Resort Hualalai remembering that everything is connected.”
McAfee-Torco’s main responsibility will be the oversight and continuation of the Resort’s beloved Ka’ūpulehu Cultural Center. The centre offers interactive exhibits that introduce guests to Hawai’i’s history and allows culture to come alive through hands-on activities that range from lei making and hula dancing to introductions to the Hawaiian language and ukulele lessons. It is also the place where elders or kūpuna, share the traditional passing of mo’olelo or stories from one generation to the next. Building on the Resort’s history as a former fishing village, guests also have access to ocean adventures led by the Alaka’i Nalu, or “leaders of the waves,” who share their skills in water sports as well as their love and knowledge of Hawaiian culture.