Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is an award-winning journalist and founding member of the ‘Ahahui Haku Moʻolelo (Hawaiian Journalism Association). She was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaiʻi, and was one of the first graduates of the Hawaiian language immersion school Ke Kula ʻo Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu. She went onto study Journalism & Mass Communications at Seattle University, and returned home to work on the Hawaiian language television news program ʻĀhaʻi ʻŌlelo Ola, which aired on Hawaii News Now’s Sunrise morning program.
Her unique skillset of Hawaiian language fluency and journalism were valuable assets in building the Hawaiian news media industry with the launch of ʻŌiwi TV, an on-demand television news station with programming produced by and for native Hawaiians. Her in-depth research and reporting on native Hawaiian water rights earned her and the ʻŌiwi TV team their first international journalism award at the World Indigenous Television Broadcasters’ Network Journalism Awards in 2012. After a brief hiatus working in commications for the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, she returned to journalism as a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has lead her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station, covering issues important to the Native Hawaiian and indigenous communities.