Koʻolaupoko’s “Distinguished Kamaʻāina”

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By Mahealani Cypher

Three hard-working community leaders have been recognized by the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club as Distinguished Kamaʻāina of Koʻolaupoko during an awards presentation on September 5.

According to club Pelekikena Leialoha “Rocky” Kaluhiwa, the recognition marks the 60th presentation of this recognition of individuals, families or organizations who have demonstrated service “above and beyond” to the moku of Koʻolaupoko, the Hawaiian people, or the Koʻolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club.

The award recipient were Hiʻilei Kawelo of Paepae o Heʻeia, who has led the stewardship of the Heʻeia loko iʻa for many years and shared her knowledge and expertise with thousands of volunteers over the years; Kanekoa Kukea-Shultz of Kākoʻo ʻŌiwi, who has reopened over 400 acres of loʻi kalo farmland in the ʻili of Hoi, restoring the area to food productivity, while training and engaging many young families and groups to start their own loʻi on this ʻāina; and Herb Lee, Jr., of the Pacific-American Foundation, who spearheaded the restoration of Waikalua loko iʻa and developed cultural education programs that reached students at 150 schools and over 6,000 teachers over the past years.

Kaluhiwa noted that all three honorees have been particularly skilled at combining traditional Hawaiian cultural practices with modern scientific approaches to steward the ʻāina.

The club also recognized four members for service to the club in 2021 and 2022 with the Helen C. Kane award: Bronson Kainoa Azama, Cathy Werner, Ardis Eschenberg and Kristi Kaluhiwa.