Velma hails from an agricultural family in Honolua that devoted its livelihood to the last standing pineapple plantation in the state. As a child, she was actively involved in dancing hula with Napili Kai Foundation, a long-standing youth organization perpetuating the Hawaiian culture. Velma’s love for the ocean flourished when she became a youth paddler for Napili Canoe Club, and she is currently a member of Lae Ula O Kai Canoe Club. During the past three years, she has also served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Maui County Hawaiian Canoe Association.
Velma carries her enthusiasm for sports to the gym where she is a national level competitor in power lifting contests sponsored by World Association for Bench and Dead Lift. During the past two years, she set state records in the open and sub-master women’s divisions, and has her sights set on earning a world record.
Velma attended Lahainaluna High School, Maui Community College, and the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, and earned an undergraduate and graduate degree in Speech. In 2001, she felt life had come full circle as she was able to return to her home island, and give back to the community through a position as the Coordinator and Student Advisor for the University of Hawaii at Manoa Outreach Program, serving Maui students in distance degree programs.