Volunteer and Internship Program

Thank you for your interest in the Kahua Institute’s volunteer program! Ours is one of the oldest programs on Maui, created and hosted by Kutira and Raphael since 1997.  Over that time, more than 300 people from the age of 20 to 65 years young have volunteered with us here.  In Hawaiian, “kahua” means to empower the wisdom from within.  This is what our volunteer program hopes to inspire in its participants – learning the art of sustainable living and empowerment through the wisdom within.

The Kahua Institute has been a safe haven for people from all walks of life.  Our volunteers come here to deepen their awareness of living ecologically and responsibly with Mother Nature. It can also be a time for deepening awareness of the self, awakening and developing the Eco-Soul.

In addition to our commitment to sustainable living, the Kahua Institute is also an artistic-spiritual community and we take care to cultivate this aspect of our lives as well. In other words, it’s fun and heart-full to be here!

The Property

Our intentional community lives ecologically and responsibly on 15 acres of land, located on the beautifully pristine north shore of Maui. We have been named “the greenest spot on Maui” and are surrounded by 18 acres of cliffs and oceanfront. Our hiking trails lead to fresh water pools and a swimmable 180-foot tall waterfall.  Our land was declared a “resting place of mature souls” by the ancient Hawaiians.

We feel that our location offers the best of both worlds – we are “off the beaten path” and yet have easy access to our nearby communities.  Our property is only a 30 minute drive to the quaint town and beaches of Paia and 15 minutes from Ho’okipa Beach, the surfing capital of the world.

We are on agricultural land and yet our ‘main crop’ is inspiration, and we focus on educating our short and long-term visitors how to live sustainably.  Our land was built and designed with ecologically friendly concepts in mind. We are firm believers in living harmoniously with higher beliefs and using the best, cleanest technologies available today.  Our structures are built with bamboo, a natural and renewable lumber.  With solar power we pump our own well with the sweetest water. The rain fills our ponds. The vermiculture (worm station) and the chicken coup nurture our earth, the bees drink from our flowers, and we create organic food gardens.

After more than twenty years and with great vision, perseverance and many volunteers, we have created a place that brings its visitors happiness and joy, and awakens a much needed awareness of cultivating sustainability.

Our goals for 2014/2015:

Creating more sacred places for meditation and a small gathering deck. Carpenters are especially welcome! Keeping up the beautiful look of all our buildings. Re-painting, touch- ups and more beauty that enchants the eye.

We enjoy expanding our food garden and creating more permaculture designs. This spring we just finished implementing a micro-irrigation system from a 20,000 gallon water tank to provide constant water flow to our expanding food gardens. We also erected another 10,000 gallon water tank where we now can build a small structure with a roof for more solar panels that can fuel our future electric cars. We relocated our worm station closer to the food garden and built a new seed station. This fall we are planning to rebuild the old mulching station.

For those who are interested in raw food preparation from Kutira’s book sometimes can assist her in her kitchen. We have many coconut trees and we create great treats including coconut kiefer. All the fruits and herbs of the land are shared. Kutira is a certified Permaculture designer and offers with her husband many different Embodied Spirituality and Sustainability teachings.

The Kahua Institute provides…

We provide you with sleeping accommodations of our choice. You may stay in a room located in the main house, in a bamboo structure, or in other shared accommodations. Bedding and linens are provided.

Some other amenities we will provide are:

*hot water showers
*phone (we have a phone for occasional calls for those who do not have a phone)
*wireless internet access for your own computer
*laundry service
*communal kitchen in a bamboo hut with a great spiritual library
*beautiful meditation temples to practice your awareness

Yoga and Embodied Spirituality classes are available during your stay.

You agree to…

The volunteer program is based on 30 hours of work per week. Many skills are needed in order to maintain and run our place ranging from cleaning, repairs, maintenance, landscaping, gardening and special projects. We are an artistic community and always find great projects to beautify the land.  We do not expect you to do work for which you are unsuited, and before you come we will make sure you understand the jobs you will be doing. We do expect good communication skills and openness to improve. Your hours are mostly 9am to 3pm, but can be flexible as long as 30 hours are completed each calendar week. Some jobs, like feeding chickens, might need daily attention. The work can be demanding and when your work is done the time is yours to learn, play or focus on what nourishes your spirit.

We mostly work in teams and designate the different chores in our weekly group meetings. We are always open for improvement and if you have a special skill you would like to contribute we are open to explore with you. We have hosted cooks, artists, computer wizards, green thumbs, and many other talented people.

Living off the grid and being totally supported by Mother Nature requires awareness. Please turn off lights when not needed and take short showers. It is an incredible experience to feel free of thought pollution and of power lines. We are sure it will be very beneficial for your soul, mind and body.


If you would like to apply to our volunteer program please let us know specifically what work you choose with your skills and interests in heart and mind.

Work possibilities can include supporting Maui Retreat with housekeeping, maintenance – if you are skilled for small repairs, office help, computer skills, anything that makes a place like ours run smoothly, we would love it. Other possible work includes helping with our organic community gardens, with the seed station, composting, chicken and bee care, and help with trail maintenance to the ocean and waterfall. We also need help caring for the ponds, landscaping and maybe learning how to trim our coconut trees.

If you have any special skills that you might think we could benefit from, please share them with us in your application.

Whatever skills you can offer, it supports our vision in creating an environment we all can enjoy, learn and sustain according to Mother Nature’s needs. We encourage you to watch our movie “The Dance of Earth and Spirit”- the story of our Kahua Institute and a blueprint for the next generation to embody sustainability.

If you were considering spending some time with us, please request an application by sending an email to “volunteering@kahuainstitute.com” with the subject line “Volunteer/Internship” and your name. After your application is received and reviewed, we will contact you and coordinate a time for a Skype interview (visit skype.com to create an account if you don’t have one already). It is important for us to choose the right person, as we are a small community/family with visiting retreat guests from all over the world. We want to make sure that we invite the right people to harmonize with our center. If you get accepted to be one of our next volunteers, we will be entering into an agreement to be held with the best intentions and integrity. The time period we have mutually accepted is to be honored and is not subject to change.

If you have further questions please send us an email. Please remember the time difference in Hawaii (HST, GMT -10) BEFORE you call us. 

Peace and blessings,
Kutira, Raphael and the Kahua Staff