For the past 7 years, The Kokua Wellness Center and Spa has been known as one of the world’s premiere destinations for mindful relaxation and facilitated personal growth. Despite its reputation as a peaceful sanctuary for many of Lahaina’s elite, the center has been in turmoil recently. Many of the spa’s most popular instructors walked out in protest last Wednesday and say they have no plans on returning until their concerns are addressed.
Kokua is one of less than 50 facilities world-wide authorized to provide the wildly popular rejuvenating Nuuskin treatments. The beauty treatments became an important part of the center’s business and integrated well with the spa’s other programs and offerings. Employees say, that balance was upset at the beginning of this year when Vereserum, Nuuskin’s parent company, sold the business to longtime rival Reparre Biologic.
According to the disgruntled instructors, Nuuskin threatened to pull its machines from the facility unless Kokua devoted more space and promotional money to the Nuuskin line of treatments. They say that many popular programs were curtailed or discontinued altogether, with the time and space filled by Nuuskin products. For many, replacing the long time manager Ascended Pali-ites Master Autumn with Notsuko, the Nuuskin objective transformation intelligence network, was the last straw.
“The Kokua that I loved and helped grow is not reflected in the contents or conscience of the people inside that building. Together, we manifested the world’s greatest holistic healing center. A place where you could learn about spiritual nutrition, alternative wellness, and have your chakras aligned through deliberate stretching techniques. However, we’ve become a glorified chop-shop where you can come in and get your outside stripped down and replaced, with little thought to cultivating any form of inner beauty or strength. I was alarmed when our Barraloha classes were cancelled but I was horrified when I was introduced to their AI program, Notsuko. I was informed that it would be taking over spa operations and that effectively immediately, we were going to end our astrological based billing and institute a predetermined pricing structure. When I asked Notsuko if it seriously thought that spiritually cleansing someone born under a fire sign was as easy as cleansing someone with a water sign, it said, “Yes”. I knew then that the inmates were running the asylum. If they think we are going to give up without a fight however, they are sadly mistaken. I think all of us are committed to fighting and focusing our energies on a better Kokua.”
Kokua management had no comment on the strike but people familiar with the issue say that they are considering all options. While not directly involved in the dispute at the wellness center, Reparre’s President Shawn Hastings has offered the use of Notsuko to all facilities providing Nuuskin treatments. “While completely safe and reliable, the Nuuskin process is incredibly complex, and in our opinion, best managed by our Notsuko technology. Look, the age of AI is here. In the past decade we’ve seen many corporations use AI to streamline their business. All of Phxicom’s networks are overseen by Phxie, SSHAM’s customer service operations are handled by Shawn, and Veilcorp’s Valarie keeps operations running smoothly. Frankly, we are a little late to the party with the introduction of Notsuko. I understand that some may see it as a threat, but I assure you that our intentions are good. We only want to help support businesses offering Nuuskin treatments, not push anybody out.”
According to Chef Craig Hoomaau nothing could be further from the truth.
“Despite what those wielding false power have said, I can vouch for the veracity of Autumn’s story. I’ve been teaching mindful chewing and purposeful swallowing strategies for over 15 years now. I developed one of the best transpersonal plating curriculums in the world and taught thousands to enjoy their meals beyond the limits of their five senses, but all of that didn’t matter to Kokua management and Notsuko. I was informed that my program was responsible for less than 3% of total revenue and was in danger of being cancelled. On top of that, they removed our kitchenette and spacious reflection area with vending machines and a small break area to make room for more Nuuskin beds. Our kombucha dispenser is gone and I can no longer feed my fellow life guides nutritious organic, gluten-free, vegan delights. Instead, to save money, we have a machine filled with Manimal, chips, SSham bites, and other processed horrors. I don’t know when people decided that running a business was all about money, but we’re taking a stand at Kokua. We’ll show them that there’s more to living than the veil of modern life. We won’t be bullied into their malignant thinking and we will withhold our vital services until they start respecting the Aloha spirit and soul again.”