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Presley Keʻalaanuhea Ah Mook Sang


Presley Keʻalaanuhea Ah Mook Sang was raised in Papakōlea, Oʻahu. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language and her Master’s degree in Hawaiian from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her Master’s thesis focused on ʻōlelo nane which extends to her current work that concentrates on incorporating various aspects of ʻōlelo into curriculum.

Christopher Kaliko Baker

Assistant Professor

Dr. C.M. Kaliko Baker’s teaching focus is on Hawaiian grammar and worldview. His dissertation analyzed a- and o- class selection in grammatical subjects of events, i.e., as subjects of nominalizations and relative clauses primarily. His analytical methodology in his research is based in discourse grammar and pragmatics. Generally speaking, by using corpora he draws generalizations about specific structures and patterns in Hawaiian. Dr. Baker also has international research interests as well. He is part of Te Mauria Whiritoi, a Waikato, Aotearoa, based project studying the sky as a cultural resource- Maori astronomy, ritual and ecological knowledge and was funded in 2014 by the Marsden Fund: Te Pūtea Rangahau a Marsden. He is one of 8 scholars on the project researching relevant phenomena through an indigenous lens bringing an international perspective to Te Mauria Whiritoi. As President of Haleleʻa Arts Foundation, a 501(c)3, Dr. Baker works at supporting, promoting, and publishing Hawaiian medium media, for example, hankeaka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi such as Kaluaikoʻolau, Māuiakamalo, Kamapuaʻa, and most recently Lāʻieikawai. Within hanakeaka as a process, he serves as researcher, writer, editor, and dramaturge.

Dr. Baker has been a member of the Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) since 1993. His major contribution to the PKO has been leading the makahiki ceremonies since 2003 and as a kōkua with all media endeavors. He also represents the PKO on the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission heading all things pertaining to culture. Recently, he has been leading huakaʻi ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi under the PKO to Kahoʻolawe during UH’s Spring Break during which the UH Mānoa and Hilo campuses connect and work on Kahoʻolawe using ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi as their means of communication.

As a life-long resident of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu-a-Lua, Dr. Baker keeps his hands in his community by taking his students to Ke Kula ʻo S.M. Kamakau in Haʻikū and volunteering at Ka Loko Iʻa o Heʻeia, amongst other things.

J.J. Kaimana Chock

Academic Advisor

Contact Info:

Phone: (808) 956-7637


Jeffrey Kainehe Chun-Lum

Educational Specialist

Jeffrey Kaineheikaʻiliʻili Chun-Lum is a native of Hālawa, Oʻahu. He has served as Kawaihuelani’s Educational Specialist since 2016. Currently, Kainehe is working towards his MA in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi which involves researching methods of Hawaiian net making; specifically those of the Niʻihau people.

Phone: (808) 956-4321


Frank E. Kaiuokalani Damas


Frank E. Kaʻiuokalani Damas is from Waiʻanae, Oʻahu. He received his BA and MA degrees in Hawaiian Language from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His MA work and continued study deals with hoʻopāpā, literature, mele, and hula. He currently teaches Hawaiian 101-102.

Kahikina de Silva

Assistant Professor

Kahikina is a kupa of Ka‘ōhao, a practicing kumu hula, and an Instructor of Hawaiian language under Kawaihuelani, where she focuses her teaching on comprehension of and creativity in various forms of Hawaiian composition and performance.  Her projects at the University include editing and publishing a Hawaiian language newsletter, Ka Ulu Hoi; consultation for the KTUH Hawaiian language radio program Kīpuka Leo, and a continued effort to connect Kawaihuelani’s students with other Hawaiian language speakers in our community. She earned her undergraduate degree in Hawaiian language and her Master’s degree in English, with a focus on Asia Pacific Literature, both from UH Mānoa. She is commencing research and theorization of mele in the politics of struggle, and seeking a doctorate in the Indigenous Politics program at UH Mānoa.

Ralph Lalepa Koga


Ralph Lalepa Koga’s teaching focus is on Hawaiian language, culture, poetry, geography, history, and the Hawaiian “civil war” era of 1782-1825. He uses primary and secondary sources exclusively in Hawaiian and English from printed, handwritten, and audio collections in archives, libraries, and audio collections to develop a curriculum that is relevant to students’ academic and community obligations. He continues to teach Hawaiian to community members unable to attend university, online, or adult education courses. He mentors former students who are non-teachers or students working for advanced degrees. He also works as a cultural consultant for literary, musical, and community projects, including local and international film and book projects.

Jessica Kahealani Lono


Kahealani Lono was born in Frankfurt, Germany, but raised in Kāneʻohe, Koʻolau Poko, Oʻahu. She earned a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Hawaiian language at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her master’s thesis titled, “He Mana Ko Ka ʻŌlelo Makuahine” speaks about kūpuna who wrote articles to the Hawaiian language newspaper expressing their concerns about the decline of Hawaiian language and the importance to resist this language shift. While analyzing these articles, it became clear that kānaka maoli came from a genealogy rooted in aloha and the continuance of native identity. Kahealani teaches Hawaiian 101 – 202 and also enjoys teaching the Hawaiian 100 FGB where she meets students from all over the world who are fluent in their mother language. She has recently learned to teach the Haw 100 FGB online and has been an invited instructor for the Summer Bridge Athletics Program.


Robert Keawe Lopes

Director & Associate Professor

Dr. R. Keawe Lopes’ teaching focus is on Hawaiian language, mele, and hula. He leads Ka Waihona A Ke Aloha: Ka Papahana Ho‘oheno Mele, an interactive resource center for the promotion, preservation and perpetuation of mele and mele practitioners. The Center helps to create venues that highlight mele and mele practitioners, provides educational opportunities that support Hawaiian language revitalization and restoration efforts through the learning of mele and the practice thereof. He is a co-kumu hula of Ka Lā ‘Ōnohi Mai o Ha‘eha‘e: A hula school that provides a rich learning environment upholding a legacy of mele hula and mele oli that have been passed down through the generations. He has served as a Hawaiian language, haku mele and music judge for the Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Artists, Wai‘anae Coast Song Composing Contest, World Invitational Hula Competition, Mokihana Festival Song Writing Contest, Moku o Keawe International Hula Festival, and the Malia Craver Hula Competition.

Click here to view Dr. Keawe Lopes Jr.’s Curriculum Vitae

Kathleen Kawehi Lucas


K. Kawehilani Lucas’ focus is on Hawaiian language, Hawaiian art, Hawaiian language teacher training and curriculum development. Her current research strengthens efforts in Hawaiian language revitalization teacher support. Her projects and involvement include: on-going development of curriculum using differentiated instruction strategies for Hawaiian language as a second language and Hawaiian Language Immersion (HLI); multiage education in language arts and mathematics in the primary level of HLI; the development of traditional and online assessment tools for Hawaiian language classes and placement exams; authentic assessment for Hawaiian language; and research in Hawaiian visual arts and working Hawaiian artists of our community.

Ernest Kalikoaloha Martin


Kalikoaloha hails from Waipiʻo and came to ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi through hula. He has been studying hula for over a decade and is a member of the award winning Hālau Nā Kamalei under the direction of Robert Uluwehionāpuaikawēkiuokalani Cazimero. Kaliko completed a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi and an M.A. in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi. His thesis research detailed the anti-annexation rhetorical strategies used by Kanaka Maoli to resist the hegemonic oligarchs. He studies Hawaiian literature, Hawaiian language translation theory, language pedagogy, language advocacy, biopolitcs and post-colonial studies  in relation to Hawaiʻi.

Florence Lolena Nicholas


Lolena Nicholas has served as a Mānaleo Resource for for Kawaihuelani, since 2006. Prior to coming to the University of Hawaiʻi, Lolena worked as a teacher at Hawaiʻis first immersion revitalization program,  Pūnana Leo Preschools from its inception in 1983.  The students in Hawaiian language meet with mānaleo weekly as a class requirement to practice their speaking, pronunciation, reading, and listening skills.  Lolena structures the time she spends with the students in a way that will strengthen their worldview through speaking, listening, and thinking from a Hawaiian perspective.  Even while teaching, Lolena maintains a strong connection to community efforts to revitalize the Hawaiian language.  She has served as a co-host for Ka Leo Hawaiʻi, a Hawaiian language radio talk show for KCCN and is involved with Aʻo Mākua, a distance learning opportunity for parents and children to reconnect with and through the Hawaiian language and culture.

Katrina-Ann Kapā Oliveira


Katrina-Ann R. Kapāʻanaokalāokeola Nākoa Oliveira (Native Hawaiian) serves as a Professor under the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language at Mānoa within Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Research interests

Hawaiian geographies, epistemologies and language acquisition methodologies.


Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Ancestral Places, Kanaka ʻŌiwi Methodologies

Community engagement

Current community engagement efforts primarily target the Maui community. I am working in partnership with Maui Nui Botanical Gardens and the University of Hawaiʻi at Maui College to develop place-based curricula for use by the Maui community, particularly the ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi speaking community.

Ongoing projects


Overview of courses

  • HAW 301 Third-level Hawaiian (3) Continuation of 202. Conducted in Hawaiian. Advanced conversation and reading. Pre: 202 or exam, or consent.
  • HAW 302 Third-level Hawaiian (3) Continuation of 301. Pre: 301 or exam, or consent.
  • HAW 321 Hawaiian Conversation (3) Systematic practice on various topics for control of spoken Hawaiian. Repeatable up to six credit hours. Pre: 202 or consent.
  • HAW 373 Ka Moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi (3) A survey course on the study of traditional Hawaiian culture including origins, the socioeconomic system, land tenure
  • HAW 401 Fourth-level Hawaiian (3) Advanced reading, writing, and discussion in Hawaiian. Transcribing and translating Hawaiian language tapes. Translating English into Hawaiian, and Hawaiian into English. Pre: 302 or exam, and consent.
  • HAW 402 Fourth-level Hawaiian (3) Continuation of 401. Pre: 401 or exam, or consent.
  • HAW 429 Ka Hōʻike Honua (3) Study of Hawaiian land tenure practices through readings and discussions of audiotapes, written primary sources, maps, wind names, rain names, ʻōlelo noʻeau (wise sayings), and mele (poetry). Readings are drawn from 19th and 20th-century Hawaiian newspapers and other primary sources. Pre: 302 (or concurrent) or consent.
  • HAW 430 Ma Ka Hana Ka ʻIke (3) Study of traditional Hawaiian language and cultural practices through hands-on applications and lectures. Pre: 302 (or concurrent) or consent.
  • HAW 604 Haku Palapala Noi Laeoʻo/Writing a Hawaiian Masterʻs Proposal (3) Seminar to select and develop studentsʻ research topic, proposal, and organizational plan for Plan A or B completion. A-F only. Pre: 601 or consent. (Once a year)
  • HAW 605 Ka Hana Noiʻi (Research Methods) (3) Research methodology course utilizing active research in the major repositories of Hawaiian language materials and Hawaiian-related knowledge. A-F only. Pre: graduate standing and acceptance in the Hawaiian MA program, or consent. (Once a year)
  • HAW 625 Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi (3) Intensive study, research, and analysis of Hawaiian history. Repeatable two times with consent of advisor. Pre: 402 or consent.

Click here to view Katrina Ann Kapā Oliveira’s Curriculum Vitae

Alicia Rozet


Alicia Rozet is an Instructor of Hawaiian at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. She was previously a Hawaiian language immersion teacher on the Windward side. Her interests include historical analysis of the Hawaiian archives, in particular the personal letters of the aliʻi.

Maya Kawailana Saffery

Curriculum Specialist

Maya Lindsley Kawailanaokeawaiki Saffery was born and raised in Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu and is an ongoing student of the language and culture of her ancestors. With a Bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Language and a Master’s of Education in Teaching degree from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM), she became the Curriculum Specialist for Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language at UHM in 2005. In this capacity, she is responsible for researching, developing, implementing, and evaluating graduate and undergraduate curricula for use within Kawaihuelani as well as out in the broader community.

The philosophy that guides her work is grounded in her belief in the importance of the kanaka-ʻāina relationship and its fundamental connection to the education of our students. In order to promote Hawaiian as a living language, she is committed to researching, developing, implementing, and evaluating authentic, hands-on language learning experiences that take place within and beyond the classroom walls. She recently led the Hawaiian language development of a newly published curriculum entitled Welina Mānoa where students and families are confronted with acts of erasure that have occurred throughout Mānoa’s (post)colonial history but are also introduced to stories of survivance by ‘ōiwi (natives) of Mānoa who refuse to be silenced and forgotten. Her place-based philosophy is also evident in her research of traditional and contemporary moʻolelo (living narratives that take the form of stories, histories, and literature) for wahi pana (sacred and significant places) of Hawaiʻi.  In 2009, a book published by Kailua Historical Society entitled Kailua: I Ke Oho o ka Malanai was released, featuring four chapters written by Maya that focused on the generations of Hawaiians who established a relationship with the wahi pana of Kailua centuries ago and the subsequent generations of Hawaiians and Kailua residents who are still working to negotiate their own relationships in times of constant change.

Research Interests

My overarching research interests include Hawaiian language and culture revitalization; culturally grounded, Hawaiian place-based, and experiential curriculum and program development; and traditional and contemporary living narratives for sacred and significant places of Hawaiʻi.

My current doctoral research on place-based education and critical pedagogy of place explores what it means to apply these popular educational theories and practices in an indigenous context. Motivated by a lack of clarity and need for further inquiry into this topic, I am developing a working definition of “Hawaiian place-based curriculum” through a critical analysis and evaluation of existing, successful Hawaiian place-based educational programs. Ultimately, it is my hope that my research will better equip educators to assess existing materials they are using or are involved in creating and self-reflect on their individual roles in developing and implementing this kind of curriculum in a Hawaiian context so that students will eventually only be exposed to authentic, rigorous, and thoughtful learning experiences that merit the words “Hawaiian” and “place-based” in their titles and descriptions.

Community Engagement Work

Much of the success at Kawaihuelani is dependent on the success of the Kula Kaiapuni (immersion schools), and their success is greatly multiplied when programs like Kawaihuelani provide support for their growth and advancement. My community engagement work is focused on the development of effective, innovative, and culturally grounded Hawaiian language curricula and programing for kula kaiapuni teachers, students, and families. Most recently, I partnered with Dr. Sam L. Noʻeau Warner in the development and piloting of the first undergraduate course at UHM tailored specifically to kula kaiapuni students. HAW 200 I Ka ʻŌlelo Nō Ke Ola is a four-credit course designed to bridge fluent speakers of Hawaiian mainly from the Kula Kaiapuni into the system of Hawaiian being taught at Kawaihuelani. In Spring 2013, UHM’s Early Admissions Program and the Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education Program supported the first pilot of this course and its early admissions component where Kula Kaiapuni high school seniors enrolled at UHM, went to class with kula kaiapuni graduates who were already students at UHM, and in the end earned both high school and college credits. The goal is to eventually institutionalize the early admissions competent of HAW 200 at UHM, thus opening the doors to the first Running Start program for high school students at UHM.

Click here to view Maya Kawailana Saffery’s Curriculum Vitae

Ron Kekeha Solis

Associate Professor

Kekeha Solis is an Associate Professor of Hawaiian at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. His dedication and aloha for his students is very apparent in his teaching style. His research covers language and culture revitalization and worldview utilizing traditional and contemporary sayings.  He teaches an array of introductory as well as upper division Hawaiian Language courses.  Kekeha is famous among his students for his ‘ōlelo noʻeau course in which students learn the wit and intelligence kūpuna had when using Hawaiian proverbs. His other popular coursework includes facilitating student voice-over projects using popular films to engage Hawaiian language learners.

Noah Haʻalilio Williams-Solomon


Haʻalilio Solomon is an Instructor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa at the Hālau ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi ʻo Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language.  He is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Linguistics. He is an avid translator for ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi under Awaiaulu and Hoʻopulapula, and his studies involve language documentation and revitalization, as well as linguistic ideologies and attitudes surrounding ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. He speaks several other languages as well, and his multi-lingualism shapes his pedagogical approach as well as his academic endeavors, many of which involve the documentation of the languages spoken in Polynesia.

Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone


Johanna Kapōmaikaʻi Stone is from Kailua, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. She enjoys learning and teaching Hawaiian through the growing of food and medicine, the observation of celestial patterns, through practices that cultivate the health of the body, and through traditional stories and other primary resources. She is committed to the reestablishment of traditional food systems for the restoration of abundance on lthe and and in the ocean. Pōmai received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Hawaiian Language as well as her Master’s degree in Hawaiian language from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her Master’s paper is an adaption of a story, entitled Makalei, ka Laau Pii Ona Ia a ka Ia o Moaulanuiakea i Kaulana, found in Ka Nupepa Kuokoa, written by Samuel K. Kekoowai. Pōmai currently teaches elementary level Hawaiian language.

Annette Kuuipolani Kanahele Wong

Associate Professor & Mānaleo

Dr. Ku’uipolani Kanahele Wong was born and raised on the island of Ni’ihau and is the Graduate Chair and an Associate Professor of the Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language. She is also the coordinator for the Mānaleo (Native Speaker) Program. She holds her doctorate degree of Philosophy of Education in Curriculum Studies with her dissertation titled “Pukaiki Kula Maniania: No Niihau, Na Ka Niihau” from the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.

Click here to view Dr. Kuʻuipolani Kanahele Wong’s Curriculum Vitae

Kerry Laiana Wong


Dr. K. Laiana Wong’s focus area of teaching is Hawaiian worldview. He is interested in investigating Hawaiian as it existed during a time when there were more speakers. In order to revitalize the language, it is necessary to know its past in order to maintain a link to its present. As we constantly deal with new phenomena that did not exist in the past, it is necessary, as we use the language in new contexts, to invent news ways of speaking to accommodate those changing contexts. We must always endeavor to maintain that link as it allows us to make legitimate our claim that we are indeed revitalizing the language of our kūpuna. As part of this effort to revitalize our language, it is necessary to increase its cachet in the community. One of the primary ways he does this is by writing a Hawaiian language newspaper column each week in the Honolulu StarAdvertiser and refusing numerous requests to provide written translations in English. He is also involved in the preparation of teachers for the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program.

Matthew Kainoa Wong


Matthew Kainoa Wong was born and raised in Waiohuli, Maui on a cattle ranch that is run by his ʻohana. He attained his Bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Language, his Post-Baccalaureate Degree in Secondary Education and his Master’s Degree in Hawaiian Language from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. His Master’s thesis and project focused on Paniolo lifestyle and cattle work. He teaches Hawaiian language levels 101-202 and still returns to Maui to work on the ranch.

Joseph Yamashita

Institutional Support

Joseph Yamashita has served as the Administrative and Fiscal Officer of Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language since 2011. A native of Hilo, Hawaiʻi, Joseph’s ʻohana was one of the few families to have witnessed and survived the tsunami which came to Hilo town in 1946. At the age of five his family moved to O’ahu, where his parents both worked at the famous Spencecliff restaurant chain while raising their young family in Kapahulu. Joe enjoys traveling with his wife to Utah to spend time with their eight grandchildren. 


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