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 2022

Hayden Makana Konanui-Tucker

Keonepoko, Pāhoa, Puna, Hawaiʻi
Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i

“To be an effective Aloha ʻĀina Leader, you need to use your ʻāina and lāhui as a foundation as you continue to move forward for the advancement of our people.”

Kahiau Palaualelo Drayer Snyder

Wailuku, Maui
Kamehameha Schools, ʻAʻapueo

I don’t view aloha ʻāina and leadership as two separate values; my style of leadership is directly related to my ʻano aloha ʻāina. I cannot lead without aloha ʻāina, and personally, I cannot aloha ʻāina without doing so as a leader. Ma o kaʻu mau hana ma ka ʻano alakaʻi, hōʻike aku au i koʻu aloha i kuʻu ʻāina a me kuʻu lāhui Hawaiʻi.”

Namakaoka‘āinaokeauhou Kuamu Ross

Heo‘olehua, Moloka‘i
O Hina I Ka Malama Kula Kiekie o Molokai

Being an Aloha ʻĀina leader means being a good role model for the younger classmates and doing all kine things in school like sports and extracurricular classes. I love aloha aina. I’ve been doing it since I was a baby. I’ve been working in the taro patches since I could remember and love to hunt, and I love participating in community ʻāina aloha projects.”

Naleinani Mamo Naone

Honolulu, O‘ahu
Ānuenue School

“Noʻu, he koʻikoʻi ke kuleana o kahi alakaʻi aloha ʻāina. He hoʻohanohano nui kēia noʻu ʻoiai he waiwai ke aloha ʻāina i koʻu ola. Mai ka ʻāina mai nā mea a pau a mākou i loaʻa ai, a he koʻikoʻi ko mākou mālama ʻana i ia wahi no nā hanauna e hiki mai ana.”

David Nohea Aquino

Lahaina, Maui
Kula Kaiapuni o Lahainaluna

“Being an Aloha ʻĀina Leader to me is to “Huli ka lima I lalo-” to take the time and to restore and connect with our ʻāina just as our kūpuna did many years ago.

Tapa Miloli‘i Andrade

Anahola, Kaua‘i
Kanuikapono Public Charter School

To stand in what I believe in and to protect the ʻāina that feeds us.”

Van Marc Kahiauokamakakēhau Medeiros

Kea‘au, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u

ʻO ka mea nui o ke alakaʻi aloha ʻāina iaʻu, ʻo ia hoʻi ke aloha a kōkua aku i ka nui poʻe ke pono. I loko o koʻu ʻano he kanaka, nui koʻu kōkua ʻana aku i ka poʻe me ke aloha. Aia i loko o koʻu noʻonoʻo ʻana a me kaʻu mau hana, koʻu ʻano he kanaka aloha ʻāina.”

Michael Ibanez

Wai‘anae, O‘ahu
Kamaile Academy PCS

Being an Aloha ‘Āina Leader means taking initiative, helping others, and making meaningful connections with my community. As Kanaka, I feel a deep connection with the ‘āina. I am grounded in my culture through cultivating the land and practicing and reflecting on the Kamaile Academy core values: ha’aheo, kuleana, laulima, and hōʻihi.”

Kīwa‘a Hermosura

Honolulu, O‘ahu
Kamehameha Schools, Kapālama

It was never a “passion” of mine to aloha ʻāina, it simply was the expectation. Although being recognized as an Aloha ʻĀina leader, I am far from that title. I have a whole life ahead of me which will be filled with experience, and only after learning from these coming experiences will I accept this title.”

Samuel Manaiakalani Kamakau IV

Hilo, Hawai‘i
Ka ‘Ūmeke Kā‘eo

Aloha ʻĀina is the connection or interaction with ʻāina itself. To not only connect with the land, but to also do the little things in between. Itʻs the way you feed your overall health and feed your community, your lāhui. How will you feed the knowledge of our ancestors to our communities? What you can do to share, to learn, and to continue the traditions of our kūpuna and to perpetuate our culture.”

Jenna Lynn Himeni Ia Lani Honua Sehna

Hilo, Hawai‘i
Ke Ana La‘ahana Public Charter School

I believe it means to make the young generation to become the leaders they are supposed to be. And it’s not only about making us leaders but by teaching us how to overcome all the pressure or teaching us life skills that we will need.”

Mahinakapuokekai Young

Hawai‘i
Kanu o Ka ‘Āina NCPCS

Becoming a leader is being an example for my school and that the Keiki would recognize me as someone who could help them with troubles in their social or natural environment. This further shows how much I am greatly appreciated to become an Aloha ʻĀina leader and lead the people around me into making a difference on our Honua. This also helps me be more grounded into the Hawaiian culture that Iʻve practiced all my life.”

Teani Beverly Kieleli‘i Marquez

Honolulu, O‘ahu
Hālau Kū Mana Public Charter School

Aloha ‘Āina has been instilled in me since a young age. It is a way of life. I believe that everyone should have aloha for the ‘āina which you come from. As a kanaka we are ‘Āina.”

Dominic Guzman

O‘ahu
Hakipu‘u Academy

Being our senior class’ aloha aina leader to me means not just out on the aina, but as kanaka we are the aina so also leading the younger ones down a path that they will know love for themselves and respect, if not love their culture. My goal for them is to view Hakipuʻu as a home, not just a school.”

Kamanaʻo Sarsona

Waimānalo, Oʻahu
Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau

“An aloha ʻāina leader is a leader who understands the importance of ʻāina to the well being of the kānaka who live off of it. Another trait is being very in touch with their surrounding environment. The reciprocation of mālama between the kānaka and ʻāina is what’s missing now and that is why aloha ʻāina leaders are essential to not just Hawai’i but the world.”

Xandria Leilani Reyes

Kekaha, Kaua‘i
Kula Aupuni Niihau A Kahelelani Aloha

Being an Aloha ʻAina leader means to help perpetuate Hawaiian culture and language. To perpetuate the keiki, the Hawaiian culture and language.  Then teach them how to perpetuate what they learned to those who come after them.”

Maui Iokepa-Guerrero

Honolulu, O‘ahu
Saint Louis School

ʻO ke aloha ʻāina ʻoia ke ola o ke kānaka. An aloha ʻāina leader is someone who lives aloha ʻāina. He understands his kuleana to the land, to the ocean, to his people. Aloha ʻāina leaders ʻauamo that kuleana, they take on that responsibility to pass on the torch for the hānauna hou.”

Emalani Koleamoku Kekauoha-Schultz

Waiʻehu, Wailuku, Maui Komohana
Ke Kula Kaiapuni o Kekaulike

He kuleana ko ka poʻe i aloha ʻāina. He kuleana ia e hōʻola, hoʻoikaika, a hoʻomau ai i ka pono o ka pae ʻāina o Hawaiʻi. Aia ka pono o ka ʻāina i loko ʻiʻo o ke kuanaʻike Hawaiʻi. ʻIke ka poʻe i aloha ʻāina i ke ea a kūʻokoʻa ʻoiaʻiʻo o Hawaiʻi nei. Hoʻomākaukau ka poʻe i aloha ʻāina i nā hanauna e hiki mai ana.”

Malia Cagampang

Waikoloa, Hawaiʻi
Ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino

To me, an Aloha ‘Āina Leader is a person who knows who they are and uses their ‘ike (knowledge) to give back to the community. It’s someone who puts others’ needs before their own and never expects anything in return. And this is what an Aloha ‘Āina Leader means to me.”

Lindsey Megan Kaohu Kelley

Kekaha, Kaua‘i
Ke Kula Niihau O Kekaha

Aloha Aina, Love of the land. Being an Aloha Aina Leader, reminds me that my Kupuna sacrificed everything for me to be here today and that I’m still keeping my Kupuna’s legacy alive. In Ke Kula Niihau we say “Hoohanohano I Na Kupuna O Niihau” and I will live by that.”

Class of 2021

Anastasia Kekona Kahina Kimiko Benbouzid-Hewitt

Hōlualoa, Kona, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘o ‘Ehunuikaimalino

Being an Aloha ʻĀina leader to me means being an agent of change for the community.

Neilen Manaloa Kahoopii

Kāne‘ohe, Ko‘olaupoko, O‘ahu
Ke Kula ‘O Samuel M. Kamakau

Aloha ʻāina to me has everything to do with showing that you care for the ʻāina.

Mahina Kaomea

He‘eia, O‘ahu
Kamehameha Schools Kapālama

Na kākou e lawe aku ma o ke kākoʻo ʻana i ko ka lāhui kūʻokoʻa, ka mālama ʻana i ka ʻāina a me ke kai, a me ka hoʻoulu ʻana i ka pilina ma waena o kākou.

Kimo Kahae

Lahaina
Kula Kaiapuni o Lahainaluna

ʻO ka manaʻo o ka alakaʻi aloha ʻĀina o iā nō ka hōʻike a me ke aʻo ʻana i nā kamaliʻi, ke kaiaulu a me nā kanaka like ʻole e pili ana i kēia loina Hawaiʻi o ka aloha ʻĀina.

Sela Kauvaka

Moku of Ko‘olau and Ahupua‘a of Anahola
Kanuikapono Public Charter School

Hannah Joy Asquith

Kapa‘a, Puna, Kaua‘i
Kawaikini Public Charter School

We must praise the land and the land will give back to us.

Michael Kuahiwi Glendon

ʻŌla‘a, Puna, Moku o Keawe
Kamehameha Schools Kea‘au, Hawai‘i

To guide a new generation into a better future. That is being an Aloha ʻĀina leader.

Kawaiolaakealii Kapuni

Kula, Maui
Ke Kula Ki‘eki‘e ‘o Kamehameha ma Maui

I believe Aloha ʻĀina to be the solution that will move mountains, to unite our people and their allies to fight for common causes, instilling equality, justice and culture at every step of the way.

Keanu Ouranitsas-Hayes

Puna, Hawai‘i
Ke Kula ‘O Nāwahīokalani‘ōpu‘u

Being an Aloha ʻĀina leader to me is being a person who always tries to do the right thing, a person who is always thinking about the greater good but never forgets about the little guy(s), a person who strives for greatness not only for himself but for his people (lāhui) and his home (ʻāina), a person who stands strong by his beliefs, and whose faith in his community (ʻohana) never falters.

Pūnohu Keahi-Wood

Kalāwahine, O‘ahu
Hālau Kū Māna PCS

Being an Aloha ʻĀina leader means direct actions of aloha in giving of yourself to your ʻohana, your lāhui and to your aloha ʻāina.

Kawenaulaokeaohou Abrigo

Kapolei, O’ahu
Saint Louis School

Nisha Nimoai

Wai‘anae
Kamaile Academy PCS

An Aloha ʻĀina leader means finding compromise and balance. “He alii ka aina a he kaua ke kanaka.”  We must praise the land and the land will give back to us. 

La‘i Bertelmann

Pu‘uanahulu
Kanu o Ka ‘Āina NCPCS

An Aloha ʻĀina leader is someone who has a deep connection with the ʻāina and is also a good leader who teaches others to mālama ʻāina.

Kukiai Kaopio

Kamiloloa, Molokai
O Hina i Ka Malama

Being an Aloha ʻĀina Leader is showing appreciation and dedication towards your culture.

Amberlynn Beverly Kaiewa Leota

Kāne‘ohe
Ke Kula Kaiapuni Hawai‘i ‘o Kahuku Academy

Hi’ilei Kaleonahenaheonalani Kahanaoi-Gravela

Moku o Hawai‘i
Ke Ana Laahana

Kauhimakua Yim

Kaululoa, Pālolo, Waikīkī
Ke Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Ānuenue

The Aloha ʻĀina leader is found where his or her kuleana takes them; they are the first to get there and the last to leave.

Sarah Kuaola Emmsley

Wailuku, Maui
Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Kekaulike no Maui

To me being an Aloha ʻĀina leader is being aware of the ability I have to mālama ʻāina. I want my passion to show through my actions so that I may lead my peers by example.

Kaley-Sue Smith

Kāne‘ohe
Hakipu‘u Academy

Kuuwai Kahokuloa

Kaua‘i
Kula Niihau Kekaha

Aloha to me is being respectful to yourself and your surroundings. ʻĀina to me is foundation, land, and body. The roots of who you are and where you came from.

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.