Director, Kupualau Division Kīhei Nahale-a
Kīhei Nahale-a is from Hilo, Hawai‘i. His passion for ʻāina and Hawaiʻi stems from his experience learning ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi at UH-Hilo, Hula from Hālau o Kekuhi, Mālama Iwi from his kumu Halealoha Ayau and the practice of mahiʻai of Hilo and Waipiʻo Valley. Kīhei leads Kupualau by focusing upon the ʻōlelo noʻeau "Hānau ka ʻĀina, Hānau ke Aliʻi, Hānau ke Kanaka." Kīhei's goal is to provide quality experiences and leadership that result in communities building strong connections to themselves, ʻohana and honua.
Engagement Specialist Ana Kon
Ana Kon is a Native Hawaiian Mahiʻai that works as an Engagement Specialist at Papahana Kuaola in Waipao. She has over 30 years experience in various styles of traditional Hawaiian food production and preparation. Her education and knowledge comes from being raised and mentored by respected mahiʻai of Puna, Hilo and Waipiʻo on the island of Hawaiʻi, as well as in the Koʻolau areas of Oʻahu. She is one of the founders of Kukulu Kumuhana O Puna, a program which provided native Hawaiian youth an immersive lifestyle experience in living off the land by following a complete 30 day moon cycle.
Project Coordinator Kehaulani Kapua Racpan
Born and raised on Oʻahu, Kehaulani Kapua Racpan possesses an in-depth knowledge of the island culture and unique challenges that Hawaii faces. Her life-long passions include the Hawaiian language and its culture, including an abiding respect for the land and an enthusiasm for Hawaiian cultural practices.
Kehaulani believes in strong community relationships and helps build the values, education and culture of her family and others. She fosters strong interpersonal relationships and operates with a spirit of loving respect rooted in service, devotion, and wisdom. She tirelessly works with the community in various capacities and helps strengthen numerous public service organizations with her enthusiasm, strong character, and unque skill set.
Kehaulani nurtures personal growth and education of others and shares her experiences, insights, and education. She finds the virtues of Papahana Kuaola very healing towards her own journey as a cancer survivor. As a mother of five and a devoted wife, she seeks a healthy balance between family, community, and work.
Engagement Specialist Leomana Turalde
Leomana Turalde was born on the island of Maui but raised in Hilo, Hawai‘i. His dad, John Turalde, is a master carver and is president of a Hawaiian culture learning center in Keaukaha. During his childhood Leomana was exposed to many cultural practices and events. He had a great interest in Marine Corps special forces and transferred over from the Air Force to beome a recon sniper team leader. Leomana spent time as a camera man for Skydive Hawaii and started dancing hula for kumu hula Chinky Mahoe and Kawailiʻulā. Leomana is a big advocate for mālama ʻāina and Hawaiian cultural practices and has a nine year-old daughter.
Engagement Specialist Ho‘opono Wong
Hoʻopono Wong hails from Kalihi Uka, Oʻahu. He is currently a student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and is majoring in Hawaiian language. Although he grew up in Hawai‘i, Hawaiian culture and identity were not a big part of his life as a child. Now, as an adult, he is able to identify himself as a kanaka and gain cultural understandings of kānaka, ʻāina and akua by surrounding himself daily with these elements, people, and lifestyle. Through this lifestyle, he intends to do all in his capability to ensure that the knowledge that is given to him will be able to help and awaken anyone who needs to connect back to the source.