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A Day in the Life

I’ve always felt this ancestral connection to ʻāina, and it was strengthened through working the land while growing up.

Mana Purdy

Natural Assets and Operations Director, Kīpuka Kona

How long have you been working at LT?

About nine years.

What does your work involve?

I have the honor and privilege of stewarding the Queen’s unencumbered lands on Hawaiʻi Island. Our team cares for the natural and cultural resources of Keahuolū, while leveraging its gifts and our stewardship practices to benefit our kamali’i, the community, and development efforts. I view my role as someone who serves the ‘āina, our team, and communities in a manner aligned with our perpetual mission.

The Kona ʻĀina Team is one of LT’s largest departments with a diversity of job roles. Who are the teams that make up this area?

  • The Natural Resources Team who work toward restoring native ecosystem health and cultural practices in three of Keahuolūʻs major ecological zones;
  • The Maintenance Team who care for 12+ facilities and surrounding grounds along with small renovations and commercial property repairs;
  • The Security Team who ensure the safety of all teammates and beneficiaries on property and secures the land and property of Keahuolū including vacant and developed areas, and associated facilities; and
  • The Natural Assets & Operations Assistant who handles the operations of our Kona assets, Keahuolū Camping Program, and provides all-around team support.

Why do you like working at LT and what do you enjoy the most?

A wise woman once told me, “People don’t usually leave a job because of the work, they leave because of the people they work with.” I’ve been very fortunate to have both, and more. I believe in the mission, I believe in our collective work, I’m passionate about mālama ‘āina, I’m proud to serve our Queen, and I also have great relationships with the team and those who we work with indirectly. The “and more” component speaks to the Trust’s culture of providing continual learning and growth as well as opportunities for flexible schedules to allow for work-life balance.

Your family has deep roots on this island, and you're passionate about your connection to the land and culture. How does this influence your work at LT?

I believe strongly that the places we’re raised shape the person we become. Waimea is an inherent part of who I am.

My ‘ohana come from a long line of hard-working Waimea paniolo that were extremely connected to the land, the elements, and the animals that benefited from those lands. To be connected was a necessity for survival and success, but in doing so day in and day out, a devotion and love for the land was established.

I’ve always felt this ancestral connection to ʻāina, and it was strengthened through working the land while growing up. It wasn’t until I left home that I understood that I needed to go back to reciprocate the care and love the land had provided to me all my life. The opportunity to do this as a career, for the Queen’s land, was more than I could have imagined and was an easy decision to make.

How do LT's benefits help you and your team to achieve work-life balance?

Many roles are structured so teammates can adjust their work schedule to sync with their requirements at home.

The Trust has empowered teammates to have the conversations with their supervisors to allow for various work styles and schedules via flex hours. We're provided with health and wellness time, parental leave, work-from-home equipment, and professional development platforms. The idea is that if you accomplish your tasks/projects, then come and go as you need to.

Just this morning I was able to do some ranch work before coming into the office, and later today I’ll leave to take over keiki duties at home. The benefits that we receive have noticeably changed teammate’s energy levels and work efficiency, including for me.