SAN FRANCISCO – Tammy Duchesne has been selected as the new superintendent of Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historic Park and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park on the west coast of Hawai’i. She replaces Kathy Billings who was recently selected as superintendent of Death Valley National Park.
“Tammy has a great deal of experience working with park staffs, neighboring communities, and other agencies to create shared visions and solve problems in the Pacific,” said Pacific West Regional Director Chris Lehnertz. “Her enthusiasm and deep professional and personal commitment to the Pacific Islands makes her a great fit for this opportunity.”
Duchesne is currently the superintendent at Women’s Rights National Historical Park in New York. Prior to that, Duchesne was the management assistant to the National Park Service Northeast Regional Director where she served as a liaison between 76 parks and the Regional Office, helping to provide park management guidance and assistance to the field. While Duchesne has spent years on the east coast, she has extensive experience working in Pacific Island parks and working to help tell a more comprehensive story of the Pacific Islander experience.
Duchesne served as curator and chief of cultural resources for both War in the Pacific and American Memorial Park for more than six years. During that time she was instrumental in creating an “on-line virtual museum,” helping to open the American Memorial Park Visitor Center in Saipan and assisting in the creation of new and more inclusive exhibits at the park. During her tenure in Micronesia, Duchesne established a digital image exchange partnership with the Micronesian Seminar in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, which enabled both institutions to better tell the story of how World War II affected Pacific islanders. She also collaborated with the anthropology faculty at the University of Hawai’i to shed light on how World War II songs and chants captured the essence of the war experience for Micronesians.
“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to lead the parks, share and learn about the richness and diversity of the resources at Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau and Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Parks and engage with the native Hawaiian community, the park staff, and our partners to protect, manage and interpret traditional sites, landscapes, and culture. I look forward to the new challenges and opportunities and am excited to make Hawai’i home.”
Duchesne holds a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and anthropology from Tulane University, New Orleans, a master’s degree in teaching from Elms College, Chicopee, Massachusetts, a master’s degree in Micronesian Studies from the University of Guam, and a graduate certificate in museum studies from George Washington University.
Duchesne enjoys travel and learning about other cultures. She looks forward to resuming old hobbies like long distance ocean swimming, snorkeling, outrigger paddling, and stand-up paddle boarding. Duchesne will begin her new assignment in June, 2013.
Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historic Park (www.nps.gov/kaho) is located at the base of the Hualālai volcano, along the Kona coast on the island of Hawai’i. The 1,160 acre park was established in 1978 for the preservation, protection and interpretation of traditional native Hawaiian culture. The park features a number of historical and cultural resources of great significance, including an ancient Hawaiian settlement and aquaculture site, ‘Aimakapa Fishpond, where fish were trapped in the massive lava walls during high tide and farmed to feed the villagers. The park is also home to the Hawaiian black-neck stilt and the Hawaiian coot, both endangered native water birds, as well as the endangered green sea turtle.
Established in 1961, Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historic Park (www.nps.gov/puho) is a 182 acre park located on the west coast of the island of Hawai’i. The park contains a complex of important archeological sites including ancient coastal villages, royal fishponds, and Hale O Keawe temple. For several centuries the site was home to royals and warriors. An adjacent area enclosed by the Great Wall served as a sanctuary for surrounding island villagers seeking forgiveness for breaking sacred laws.