By David Corrigan
The Native Hawaiian Education Association has named the 2013 Educators of the Year. Two Hawai‘i Community College professors, Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō and Kekuhi Kanae Kanahele Keali‘ikanaka‘oleoHaililani, and a longtime UH Hilo employee – Gail Makuakāne-Lundin – have been awarded the prestigious Hawaiian education honors.
All three will be honored at NHEA’s 14th Annual Convention, which takes place March 21 and 22 at the Hawai‘i Island campus of Kamehameha Schools.
Hawai‘i Community College Chancellor Noreen Yamane said the University of Hawai‘i system is fortunate to have such dedicated educators working at HawCC and UH Hilo.
Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō
Tangarō is an associate professor and the chairman of the humanities department at HawCC. According to the college, he “received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, his Master of Education from Heritage College, and his PhD from Union Institute and University. He is a Kumu Hula, receiving his training from Hālau O Kekuhi, a traditional hula school known for the `aiha`a style of hula — a low-postured, vigorous, bombastic style reflecting the creative forces of the volcano.” Dr. Tangarō is also a member of the University of Hawai`i system’s indigenous-serving institution task force Hawai`i Papa O Ke Ao. He serves as the acting director of Hawai`i Community College’s Kauhale Academic Village and chairperson of Kīpaepae Hawai`i Protocols Committee.
Last summer, he along with 24 members of his hālau hula Unukupukupu of Hawai`i Community College, were part of the 80-member University of Hawai`i delegation to the 2-week Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. While in Washington DC, the hālau was invited to perform at the Library of Congress.
Makuakāne-Lundin is an executive assistant to the chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. Before that, she served as the director of several student support programs at UH Hilo, including the Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, the Hawaiian Leadership Development Program, the Student Support Services Program and the Health Careers Opportunity Program. A HawCC media release says “Aunty Gail” has been with UH Hilo for 29 years, “and is considered a leader in native Hawaiian student services on campus and within the UH system. She holds a Master of Science degree in public health from UH Mānoa, a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from UH Hilo and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.”
The NHEA wites that Aunty Gail led the University of Hawaii systemwide initiative that “added Hawaiian Ancestry to the UH common application in 2005. This has resulted in all UH campuses being federally-designated Hawaiian-serving institutions and an increase in native Hawaiians attending all UH campuses from 13.8% in Fall 2005 to 24% in Fall 2012. She has been the principal investigator and/or project coordinator for U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation and National Institutes of Health grants totaling more than $20 million dollars.”
Kekuhi Kanae Kanahele Keali‘ikanaka‘oleoHaililani
Kekuhi is an assistant professor and coordinator at HawCC’s I Ola Haloa Hawai‘i Life Styles Program. A familiar face to fans of the Merrie Monarch Festival, HawCc says she “has trained in the tradition of Hula ‘Aiha’a for 39 years and has been ritually elevated to the status of Kumu Hula, of Halau o Kekuhi by her mother, Kumu Hula Pualani Kanahele and her Aunt Kumu Hula Nalani Kanaka’ole. Under the direction of her mentors, Kekuhi has co-produced some of Hālau O Kekuhi’s most significant contributions to oral and ritual arts performances.” Kekuhi is the executive director of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation, and she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and a Master of Education from Heritage University. She will be pursuing a doctoral degree.
Kekuhi has also been the Kohala Center’s Scholar in Residence since 2005, and engages with the organization on research projects. The NHEA also detailed her career as a recording artist, “with three audio recordings, “Hahani Mai,” (1996, Punahele Productions), “Kekuhi,” (1999, Mountain Apple Company), and “Honey Boy” (2002, Mountain Apple Company). She and her son, Kaumakaiwa, are currently working on a new project. The first single, “Moloka’i Jam” was released in February 2013. The album will follow by early Summer 2013.”