Project Description

The Aloha ‘Āina Leader Awards honor the future of our lāhui by recognizing haumāna for their growing commitments to aloha ‘āina.

ʻO ke aloha ʻāina, ʻo ia ka ʻume mākēneki i loko o ka puʻuwai o ka Lāhui.

–Joseph Nāwahī

The Aloha ‘Āina Leader Awards honor the future of our lāhui by recognizing haumāna for their growing commitments to aloha ‘āina. These up and coming haumāna have accepted the kuleana to work for the benefit of all our communities. Aloha ‘āina has always been a traditional value passed down from older generation to younger, but it has become even more vital in this era of change. The Aloha ‘Āina Leader Awards affirm not only the importance of our cultural values in today’s society, but also recognize the work of the many kumu and mākua who have supported these haumāna throughout the years.

Class of 2020

2020 Poster

Kukamaehumakakoaokalani Inaba

Kona, Hawai‘i
Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

“ʻAuamo Kuleana, Holomua ka Lāhui. Aloha ʻāina ʻoiaʻiʻo.”

Loea Kaulia-Alani

Kona Hema, Hawaiʻi
Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino

“ʻAuamo ʻo Loea i nā kuleana me ka wiwo ʻole.”

Kahiwa Vendiola

Wailuku, Maui
Kamehameha Schools Maui

“His commitment to aloha ‘āina is unwavering, and steadfast. We mahalo Kahiwa for his leadership.”

Nino Jairo Pelton

Pahoa, Hawai‘iKua O Ka La NCPCS

“I love working the ‘āina.”

Ury Mokihana Jumawan-Carvalho

Hanapēpē, Kaua‘i
Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha

“Ury embodies kuleana to malama aina.”

Hoʻouka Asquith

Kapa‘a, Kaua‘i
Kawaikini

“He aliʻi ka ʻāina, he kauā ke kanaka.”

Pueo Akina-Surminap

Ho‘olehua, Molokai
O Hina i ka Malama Molokai

“Mai ka piko o Kamakou i ke kaipooloolou o na kona he aloha aina oiaio.”

Keonaona Keo

Hau'ula, O‘ahuKula Kaiapuni ‘o Kahuku Academy

“Influences others through her quiet leadership.”

Nai'a Knowlton

Keaukaha, Hawai‘i
Ke Ana La'ahana

“He wahine aloha ‘aina.”

Makana Kohara

Waiakea, Hawai‘i
Kamehameha Schools, Kea‘au

“We are our Kūpuna, No mākou ka mana!”

Leialiʻi Makekau-Whittaker

Kaʻūmana, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu

“He alakaʻi ʻo Leialiʻi ma kona ʻano he haumāna, he ʻelele ʻohana a he kupa no ka lāhui Hawaiʻi e hāpai mau ana i ka pono o ka nui ma kāna ʻōlelo a me kāna mau hana.”

Inana Lowry

Wailua, Kaua‘i
Kanuikapono

“Planting mea kanu for the future haumāna.”

Kaiini Niau

Kekaha, Kaua‘i
Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha

“He haumana tupaa i te aloha kula, ohana, olelo.”

Kuʻuleimakamae AhQuin

Wahiawā, O‘ahu
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ʻo Ānuenue

“She exemplifies values of aloha ‘āina!”

Jaesha Puha

Wai'anae, O‘ahu
Kamaile Academy

“She represents the lāhui with grace.”

Meherio M. K. Krainer

Waimānalo, O‘ahu
Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau

“He kanaka lokomaika‘i ‘oia.”

Waimea Case

Waimea, Hawai‘i
Kanu o ka ‘Āina

“Waimea has a strong relationship with the ‘āina where he is from.”

Shane Nahoi

Nānākuli, O‘ahu
Hakipu‘u Academy

“Ma ka hana ka ‘ike.”

Alex Kelika Barbieto

O‘ahu-a-Lua
Hālau Kū Māna

Class of 2019

Ka‘ea Alapa‘i

Kona, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino

“To me, an aloha ‘āina leader is someone who lives the Hawaiian culture, speaks the language, and gives back to their community.”

Ku‘unahenani Tachera

Pu‘uanahulu, Hawai‘i
Kanu o ka ‘Āina

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader is being] someone who will help the land and the people that we all belong to.”

Haliaka M. Bird

Puna, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Laboratory PCS

“This helps me expand my knowledge of becoming a leader … for the future generations.”

Kaley Kalehuakeahika‘alani Hana Kelling

‘Ioleka‘a, O‘ahu
Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau PCS

“I have a kuleana to [the] lāhui and the ‘āina that has nourished our souls. Being an aloha ‘āina leader is an honor that I will carry with me for the rest of my life to better our communities for future generations to come.”

Haileigh-Jaeden Kihaapi‘ilani

Hilo, Hawai‘i
Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader] means doing things for the betterment of the lāhui.”

‘Alohikapuamiki‘ala Haia Akina

Puna, Hawai‘i
Kamehameha Schools, Kea‘au

“Aloha ‘āina could literally mean love land. To care and love the land. But it also means patriot; to courageously support your country against all else. Being an aloha ‘āina leader means to be someone who is willing to learn and understand the state of the kingdom and its people. It refers to someone who is willing to stand up for what they believe is good for this country and our people. To strive to perpetuate, innovate, and inspire as well as shed light upon matters of Hawai‘i and Hawaiians.”

Jenna Akemi Makahinahina

Manana, Oahu
Hālau Kū Mana NCPCS

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader] means that you are capable of doing anything you set your mind to. That you are able to accomplish anything that comes your way and that the obstacles that are created are made to help you become a better person and made to help you better the lāhui of Hawai‘i.”

Kauiwai Poepoe Mollena

Ho‘olehua, Molokai
‘O Hina i ka Malama

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader] means guiding the younger generations and showing them the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong for our ‘āina, and our people. ‘I na mālama ‘oe i ka ‘āina, e mālama ka ‘āina iā ‘oe”

Ka‘awaloa Kauaula

Nānākuli, O‘ahu
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue

“Waiwai no hoi keia kulana aole poina o kekahi alakai aloha aina iau no ka mea ua ike kekahi i kou aloha no ka aina a ua makemake lakou e hoolaha i kela i ka lehulehu. Nou o ka manao waiwai a kaona o ka aloha aina o ia no ka hookanaka ana ke kanaka a me ke kukulu ana a i ole hooikaika ana i kela pilina me ka aina a me ke kai. Waiwai ke aloha aina no ka mea hiki no ke ike i ka maemae o ke kanaka ma loko o kona hana ma ka aina a i ole kai, no laila ina aole maemae ke kanaka e Iike ana i loko o kona hana ma ka aina. No laila ma o ke aloha aina hiki no ke ike i ka lawena o ke kanaka a i ole ia oe iho.”

Skyler Kaimana Nelson

Wailuku, Maui
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Kekaulike

“It is a big honor for my kumu to have handed me this kuleana and I thank her and my mākua for this opportunity. Being recognized as an aloha ‘āina leader is such a privilege, from planting native plants, speaking the language, and helping others.”

Keala Kahale

Kekaha, Kaua‘i
Ke Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha

“For me, being an aloha ‘āina leader means to have responsibilities. It doesn’t matter whether its for school, family, friends, whenever and wherever. A leader means to take care of responsibilities.”

Victoria F.N. Pailate

Keaukaha, Hawai’i
Ke Ana La‘ahana

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader means] being a role model for the younger generation. Especially to the younger members of my ‘ohana. Teaching them right from wrong, to show respect for people, for the ‘āina. I want to show them that they can achieve their goals, their dreams, and whatever they set their mind to. That wherever they go, to always know where they come from and they have a home to come back to.”

Ethan Ramos

Ahupua‘a o Kapa‘a, Moku o Puna, Kaua‘i
Kanuikapono

“Being a aloha ‘āina leader means that I have a kuleana to myself and my community to help ‘āina and the Lāhui of Hawai‘i. It also means that I am more connected with the land and myself.”

Abigail Maluhia Wright

Ka‘alaea, O‘ahu
Hakipu’u Learning Center

“To me, being an aloha ‘āina leader is being steadfast and strong in the love and passion I have for ‘āina. Being passionate about water rights in my senior project rubbed off on people and I was able to make my classmates more aware of what’s happening across our pae ‘āina. I think we should inspire other people our age to be more aloha ‘āina leaders.”

Kaiulani Kaniaupio

Wai‘ehu, MauiKamehameha School, ‘A‘apueo

“Being an aloha ‘āina leader is not a one time thing. [It’s] a continuous act of mālama to one’s ‘āina, lāhui, kūpuna, ‘ohana, and ea. Standing for what you believe in, making your voice heard through whatever vessel guides you, feeling deep aloha for your Hawai‘i, and passing mo‘olelo down to the next generation, that is what being an aloha ‘āina leader means to me.”

Colt Kūpa‘akekeikiikealapono Pawn Aki

Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Kamaile Academy

“I believe an aloha ‘āina leader is someone who cares for both the land and the people. I think they would also try to teach others to do the same.”

Class of 2018

Kawai‘ula‘iliahi Ruedy

La‘aloa, Kona, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino

“[I am] proud of where I come from. I have a responsibility to keep the Hawaiian culture moving forward.”

Johnna Kaliho Wainohia Marsh

Waimea, Hawai’i
Kanu o ka ‘Āina NCPCS

“To me [being an aloha ‘āina leader] means living as a leader based off what the land teaches you. Taking what you see from the environment and using it for good to help people. It is also taking what you learn from the culture and sharing it not just keeping the knowledge for yourself.”

Lia Ku‘uleimomi Wengler

Wailupe, Kona, O‘ahu
Kamehameha Schools - Hawai‘i

“To me, being an aloha ‘āina leader means giving back to our lāhui. I’ve been so blessed to be raised on these beautiful islands that hold so much aloha. I get to serve the community and ‘āina that made me the person I am today. This also means that I have the kuleana to make a difference in our lāhui.”

Kameron Marquez

Keonepokoiki, Puna, Hawai‘i
Kua o ka Lā PCS

“To me it’s the beginning of a being a pillar in the community of Hawai‘i.”

Samantha Makanahele Emmsley

Nā Wai ‘Ehā, Maui
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Kekaulike

“To me [being an aloha ‘āina leader] means to be conscious about the native environment while making proactive decisions and taking action in the community to preserve our precious natural resources. It is realizing the connection between every living thing, being passionate and leading by example.”

Kalama Kala‘i-Morales

Hilo, Hawai‘iKe Kula ‘o Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u Laboratory PCS

“It means that I have a responsibility to ensure the growth of the Hawaiian Language and culture. I also have a kuleana to pass on the ‘ike of our kūpuna to the next generation.”

Lily Kukui Gavagan

Kula, Maui
Kamehameha Schools - Maui

“Being able to receive this honor is a true blessing. To me being a leader in this field means striving to protect the resources society depends on and giving back to it. Reflecting on what you have been given and thinking about how you can give back is also a huge part of being a leader. Teaching what you have been taught will allow more people to take part in protecting what we value.”

Lawrence Vento-Rowe

Moku o Keawe - Hawai’i
Ke Ana La‘ahana PCS

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader] means respecting the ‘āina or helping someone when help is needed.”

Ku‘uleinani Kaneakua

Lualualei, Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue

“I hope to pass down what I have learned to my keiki, my friends, and my ‘ohana.”

Kamahina Kaiama-Kanuha

‘Āina ho‘opulapula ‘o Ho‘olehua Pālā‘au, Molokai
‘O Hina i ka Malama

“We are a tight-knit island and it took a village to instill everything I know in me. ‘A‘ole pau ka ‘ike i ka hālau ho‘okahi. I feel my kuleana is to be who I am, inspire others to do the same and to mālama nā mea a pau.”

‘A‘ali‘i Kelling

‘Ioleka‘a, He‘eia, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu
Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau PCS

“[Being an aloha ‘āina leader means] being active in your community, putting your hands to work and getting a bit dirty, fighting for the land that we call home. I will continue to perpetuate the teachings that have been taught for generations.”

Ka‘ena Ke‘ulalei‘i‘iwionākeawe- imauleipono Keawe

Kāne‘ohe, O‘ahu
Kula Kaiapuni Hawai‘i ‘o Kahuku Academy

Mekealohapumehanahemolele Howard

Kalihi, Kona, O‘ahu
Hālau Kū Mana NCPCS

“We are the voices for the ‘āina because the language the land speaks is not always heard by the ears who roam this ‘āina. An aloha ‘āina is someone who makes sure they stand true to their values, and maintains a fair and just community, where people can learn to share, and mālama.”

Elia Kalei‘ohuināpali Akaka

Kea‘ahala, Kāne‘ohe, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu
Kamehameha Schools - Kapālama

“Aia nā alaka‘i he nui ko kākou, nā alaka‘i o nā au i hala aku nei a me nā alaka‘i e ola mau hei i ka ‘āina.”

Hokulani Akamu

Mākaha, Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Kamaile Academy PCS

“Being an aloha ‘āina leader means that I am able to set an example for the up coming generations. I want future students to know that hard work can pay off. When I am a successful business woman I want to come back to my community and give back.”

Keeaakeolahoumai Ishiki Kalahele

Makiki, Honolulu, O‘ahuHakipu‘u Learning Center PCS

” I never intended an award for [aloha ‘āina] or to get recognition for being one, I grew up learning and knowing the responsibilities to take care of and to lead other people. I take those skills everywhere with me and it is just a part of me that’s automatic. Being awarded is just the icing on the cake.”

Silas Kalanakila Pahulehua-Kanahele

Kaua‘i/Ni‘ihau
Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha PCS

“Aloha ‘āina: to give care and love for our land, to mālama kekahi i kekahi to where we kānaka come from.”

Lei‘ohu Chun

Kekaha, Kona, Kaua‘i
Kawaikini NCPCS

“To me an aloha ‘āina leader is someone who cares and has a connection to the ‘āina and is willing to protect it and perpetuate their culture.”

Kekoa Catiggay-Kanahele

Kekaha, Kaua‘iKe Kula Ni‘ihau o Kekaha Learning Center & Lab PCS

“Being an aloha ‘āina leader means to be proud of who you are and where you’re from. Being able to lead and take responsibility without thinking about a prize but knowing that prize is right in front of you, seeing the effect you have on people by just making a move and seeing it rub off on everyone else. Stand for what’s right. Not just for you, but you make a stand for everyone else, your Lāhui, your ‘ohana, ta po‘e kanaka. Ku aku oe no te ola ana o ka lāhui o Hawaii me ke aloha o na po‘e o Hawai‘i nei.”

Takoda Carson

Wailua, Puna, Kaua‘i
Kanuikapono Learning Center PCS

“I always want to push myself to learn more about the Hawaiian culture and the ways [to] take care of the land. In the process I hope [to] inspire others to push themselves and reach their full potential.”

About the Award

Kanaeokana established the Aloha ʻĀina Leader Award in 2018, a unique award for graduating seniors from Hawaiian-focused charter schools, DOE kula kaiapuni, and Kamehameha Schools’ three campuses — schools that are participating in Kanaeokana network activity. Principals, teachers, and staff from each school select their own awardees. Each year, awardees are recognized for their demonstrated aloha ʻāina and community-centered values as defined by their school and community.