Big Island - Behind the Scenes | ALOHA Collection

We're taking you behind the scenes of our latest Big Island shoot with our friends Tara Rock and Nani Welch Keliʻihoʻomalu. Tara, also known as Ladyslider, is our go-to photographer on Big Island and is constantly creating magic! Nani, our model, is always bringing good vibes to the crew and her family has been in Kalapana for generations. We love working with them both and couldn't resist letting you in on the fun!

Follow us as Tara and Nani share (some of) their favorite Big Island spots and give you tips and tricks on how they use their favorite ALOHA Collection bags.

Tell us about yourself! Where on Big Island are you from, and how did you get connected to ALOHA?

Nani: Aloha! My name is Nani Welch Keliʻihoʻomalu. I’m a 24-year-old freelance photographer, and I’m from the northern part of the Big Island in Waimea. I’ve bought ALOHA bags for years but I was lucky enough to get connected with them this last year through Tara Rock!

Tara: My name is Tara Rock, I grew up in and around Hilo, and I know about ALOHA because doesn’t every girl from Hawaiʻi know about ALOHA Collection?!

Share with us your three favorite places on the Big Island


1. Kaimū, Kalapana - This area is very close to my heart. It’s where my ʻohana comes from.
2. Kaunaʻoa beach - I used to work at their beach shack during college breaks. Best office ever.
3. Puka Puka Kitchen, Hilo bayfront - My go-to lunch stop in Hilo! I always get the Katsu-don plate, highly recommended!


1. My house, surprisingly
2. Poke Market
3. My home break (but I won’t tell you where that’s a secret.)

What about being from Big Island is so special to you?

Nani: Even though we’re a big island, our communities are small and tight-knit. It’s so special to come from a place where family and community is such an important part of everyday life. No matter if it’s your aunty, cousin, or neighbor, we look out for each other no matter what. If your lychee tree blooms in the summer, you share with everyone. If your neighbor has a boat, you know every time they had a successful day because there’ll be a fresh bag of fish at your door. It’s the little gestures that remind how special our home is.

Tara: It is home and where I feel most grounded. There is an energy and a stillness that you can’t find anywhere else. I love the rain and being surrounded by water whether it's the ocean, a stream, or a waterfall. The weather on the Big Island is also what inspires an aspect of my photography. A quintessential Hilo day—overcast skies that create beautiful diffused light.

Tell us about your favorite ALOHA Collection bags!

Nani: The Mid Kalapana Samudra x ALOHA Pouch. I’ve had this pouch for about four years now and I trust it to hold my memory cards, hard drives, and so much more. I’m also so fond of the print because it’s of a place just down the road from my family's home!

Tara: The mid pouches are my all-around-use-for-everything bag. They are the perfect size and fit a variety of different things. I use them for everything—toiletries, sunscreen, camera equipment, diapers, etc.

Find Tara and Nani on Instagram!

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