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Awaiaulu is dedicated to developing resources and resource people that can bridge Hawaiian knowledge from the past to the present and the future. Historical resources are made accessible so as to build the knowledge base of both Hawaiian and English-speaking audiences, and young scholars are trained to understand and interpret those resources for modern audiences today and tomorrow.

Purposes and Activities

Awaiaulu, Inc. is organized exclusively for educational purposes, including:

  • perpetuating and advancing use of the Hawaiian language,
  • training Hawaiian language translators and editors,
  • generating Hawaiian language books, translations, and other educational material for universities, schools, research arenas, and the general public,
  • researching, translating and re-presenting Hawaiian language texts from the past for modern Hawaiian and English-language audiences.

Funding to carry out these programs is provided primarily from grants, contributions, contracts, and sale of publications.

Awaiaulu achieves its Mission and Purposes through the following activities:

  • The production of accessible resources.
  • The development of resource people.

Hawaiian Language Repository

More than four decades after Western contact, a written form of Hawaiian language was standardized   in early 1822 through the efforts of the first Protestant missionaries. Quickly learned in courtly circles, the king and chiefs encouraged the entire nation to learn literacy, setting up schools, a teachers’ college, and an education system. Within a generation, most of the kingdom was literate–a unique setting worldwide.

Despite a small and declining population, Hawaiian writers generated several million pages of written Hawaiian over the next century, filling letters, books, manuscripts, government docs, and newspapers. The newspapers alone equal 1.5 million letter-sized pages, while government and archival material would double that figure. Hawaiian was the language of the kingdom, so all citizens helped generate the huge written record. English, the language of foreign commerce and international relations, was of ever-growing importance, then largely supplanted Hawaiian after the overthrow of Liliʻuokalani in 1893.

For most of the 20th century, an English-language government and education system led to declining numbers of Hawaiian speakers, making the language an anachronism. Government records were in English, as were all educational materials and books. Hawaiian newspapers, after114 years, over 100 different papers, and 125,000 large-format pages having been printed, stopped being published. English became the language of the land, and the largest cache of native-language material in the Western world was largely forgotten for generations.

Revitalization of Hawaiian language, part of the renaissance of Hawaiian culture, began in the 1970s. Working with the small residual population of native speakers, the living language was maintained, with a current estimate of 25,000 fluent speakers and many more who “know some” Hawaiian. Revitalization played a big role in re-connecting the historical cache of Hawaiian material, but it is still largely unfamiliar and unintegrated into contemporary use and knowledge.

Today, access to the repository of Hawaiian language newspapers has changed the landscape and although it does not provide comprehension of historical materials, the historical cache is a valuable resource for us today.

Awaiaulu Beginnings

Awaiaulu was conceived in 2003 and begun in January of 2004. Dwayne Nakila Steele, having worked Puakea on many projects for 15 years, read Mai Paʻa I Ka Leo (2003), (Puakea’s dissertation) on the scope of the Hawaiian repository and the dearth of availability, and pondered what to do about it. His answer was “It’s not about language, it’s about knowledge. We’ve got to make everything we do available in both languages.” There were no translators, as revitalization had shunned translation, so Nakila thought up Awaiaulu. He said, “Puakea, you can make translators.” He bought out a year of Puakea’s teaching time at UH, provided a stipend for two trainees, and gave us the chance to show it could work.

Two young, fluent scholars, Sahoa Fukushima and Kamaoli Kuwada, were selected as interns. After weeks of reviewing translation theories and styles, the team launched into a half-dozen different source materials, with the interns translating assigned blocks of text. Together, they would go over theirs, line by line, then review Puakea’s own translations of subsequent material. Their next assignment would follow what Puakea had finished. Each assignment got longer as they got more familiar with the work.

After a couple of months, it was decided to focus on a single resource text, Ka Moʻolelo o Hiʻiakaikapoliopele. Published in 1905-6 as a daily serial in the newspaper Ka Naʻi Aupuni, it was the work of Joseph Mokuʻōhai Poepoe. Over 400 typescript pages in Hawaiian had to be recast in modern orthography while the English translation was being done, and both efforts were completed in a year and a half. Editing of the two manuscripts took months of readings and many eyes, after which the story was submitted for publication in English and Hawaiian volumes by the end of 2006. A new pair of valuable resources was generated, and the two interns became resource people, translators with cultural and historical insight and experience.

This process of mentoring in order to develop resources and resource people has been the foundation of Awaiaulu. In 2013, a new pyramid of training began with two interns, Kamuela Yim and Kalei (Kawaʻa) Roberts. After two years and the completion of Kamakau’s Ke Kumu Aupuni, they became trainers-in-training, and four new interns were selected: Līhau Maioho, Nāhulu Maioho, Haʻalilio Solomon, and Pili Kamakea-Young. Two years later, after completing Kamakau’s Ke Aupuni Mōʻī, trainers became mentors-in-training, interns became trainers-in-training, and 9 new interns were selected: Pāʻani Kelson, Kahoʻokahi Kanuha, Aolani Kaʻilihou, Jon Yasuda, Kaʻiuokalani Damas, Keawe Goodhue, Hina Kneubuhl, Kainoa Pestana, and Kalikoaloha Martin. Māhuahua, our current two-year training project covering a broader range of research and translation, was begun in September of 2019. Fourteen of the most recent participants have committed to this fourth phase of Awaiaulu’s training continuum.

Board of Directors

Neil Hannahs : President

Neil Hannahs


(2017-present) In 2016, Neil J. Kahoʻokele Hannahs concluded over 41 years of service to the Kamehameha Schools and launched Hoʻokele Strategies LLC, a consulting enterprise to engage inspiring wayfinders in building a thriving society. A graduate of Kamehameha Schools with BA and MA degrees from Stanford University, he serves on the State of Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resource Management and boards of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, Hawaiian Island Trust, Aloha Kuamoʻo Āina and Awaiaulu.

Gaylord Wilcox : Vice President

Gaylord Wilcox

Vice President

(2004-present) Worked for Grosvenor International, owned Editions Limited, a book publisher specializing in Hawaiian cultural and historical publications, and is the developer and President of Hanalei Center. He is currently serving on boards for the Waioli Corp and Bishop Museum.

John Marrack : Treasurer

John Marrack


(2004-present) A retired audit partner of the international accounting firm, Deloitte and Touche, LLP. He continues to provide consulting services, volunteers his time and expertise to many nonprofits in Hawaiʻi, and is a gold-medal tennis player.

Marti Steele : Secretary

Marti Steele


(2006-present) A General Partner of Steele Family Limited Partners & is President of the Dwayne and Marti Steele Investment Co. She has been a board member for Saint Andrew’s Priory and Awaiaulu, and is also a member of the Hawaiʻi Asia Paciic Association. She is an active volunteer for a number of non-profit community groups in Hawaiʻi.

Jimmy Piʻikea Haynes : Board of Directors

Jimmy Piʻikea Haynes

Board of Directors

(2011-present) Retired as CEO of Maui Petroleum. He is a self-employed consultant, Director of Kalama Land Co., and Director/Treasurer of Kaupo Ranch. He has been a Regent for the University of Hawaiʻi and serves on the boards of Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce and Awaiaulu. He has received numerous awards for his community and business leadership.

Wayne M. Pitluck : Board of Directors

Wayne M. Pitluck

Board of Directors

(2013-Present) A founding partner of the Honolulu law firm of Pitluck, Kido & Aipa. He is a founding director of Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation, providing grants to benefit Hawaiʻi’s disadvantaged children and sustain its environment. He is associated with various programs to preserve and promote Hawaiian music and culture, serves on the Dean’s Executive Counsel of the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu, and also serves on the board of the Bishop Museum.

Aaron Salā : Board of Directors

Aaron Salā

Board of Directors

(2017-present) An accomplished award-winning vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger, conductor, producer, director, adjudicator, music scholar, and Hawaiian music professor. He commits a significant amount of his time and energy in service to the Arts and to the Hawaiian community. Between 2011 and 2016, he served as a board member of the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, chairing the board during the last year of his tenure. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of PBS Hawaiʻi.


Puakea Nogelmeier : Executive Director

Puakea Nogelmeier

Executive Director

Puakea Nogelmeier is a Professor Emeritus of UH Mānoa where he taught Hawaiian language for 35 years. After decades of study in Hawaiian language, culture, and history, he co-founded Awaiaulu with Nakila Steele in 2003 to foster a new generation of resource people and fortify the use of Hawaiian knowledge. Puakea has been the Executive Director of Awaiaulu since its inception.
Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit : Programs Director

Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit

Programs Director

Kauʻi Sai-Dudoit is a life-long student of Hawaiʻi’s history and was the Director of the Hawaiian newspaper project, Hoʻolaupaʻi. She has been the Programs Director of Awaiaulu since 2011 and guides the progress of Awaiaulu’s various projects. She is also a filmmaker who created “Ua Mau Ke Ea, a Historical Documentary.”

Dee Dee Doi : Administration Assistant

Dee Dee Doi

Administration Assistant

Dee Dee Doi has been keeping papers and people functional at Awaiaulu for a decade.  She is a staunch supporter of Hawaiian language and culture, extending her energies and encouragements to many organizations.

Shaun Pilialoha Kamakea-Young : <b>Trainer, Translator</b> <br> Phase II, III, IV

Shaun Pilialoha Kamakea-Young

Trainer, Translator
Phase II, III, IV

Pilialoha Kamakea-Young was born and raised in Waimānalo, Oʻahu but now resides in Honolulu.  He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama where he first enrolled in Hawaiian language courses in the 7th grade. He also attended the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa where he received his B.A. in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.  Since graduating he taught the Hawaiian language and hula courses at Kailua High School for two years and has taught ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and hula at Kamehameha Schools Maui. Currently he works at the Bishop Museum.


Spencer Kamuela Yim : <b>Mentor, Trainer, Translator</b> <br> Phase I, II, III, IV

Spencer Kamuela Yim

Mentor, Trainer, Translator
Phase I, II, III, IV

ʻO au ʻo Kamuela Yim. No ke kula uluwehiwehi ʻo Punaluʻu e waiho maʻemaʻe ana i uka o Waipiʻo, ʻEwa. He Oʻahu au, he makua nō a he mahiʻai paha. He limahana au no OHE ma lalo o ka DOE, me ʻoukou ke aloha o ka ʻāina nona kēia ʻōlelo kamahaʻo ʻo ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Tilana Kalei Roberts : <b>Mentor, Trainer, Translator</b><br> Phase I, II, III, IV

Tilana Kalei Roberts

Mentor, Trainer, Translator
Phase I, II, III, IV

Kalei Roberts is a forever student of the Hawaiian language. She has been a part of the Awaiaulu team for various projects, including JIMAR, ‘Ike Kū’oko’a, Ali’i Letters, Moana, Ke Kumu Aupuni, Ke Aupuni Mō‘ī, and currently, Ke Kahua. As a Moloka’i resident, was fortunate to be able to initially expand Awaiāulu’s reach to the neighbor islands, which later paved the way for further expansion into communities of Maui, Hawai’i, and even Aotearoa.

Shaun Pilialoha Kamakea-Young : <b>Trainer, Translator</b> <br> Phase II, III, IV

Shaun Pilialoha Kamakea-Young

Trainer, Translator
Phase II, III, IV

Pilialoha Kamakea-Young was born and raised in Waimānalo, Oʻahu but now resides in Honolulu.  He is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools Kapālama where he first enrolled in Hawaiian language courses in the 7th grade. He also attended the University of Hawaiʻi-Mānoa where he received his B.A. in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi.  Since graduating he taught the Hawaiian language and hula courses at Kailua High School for two years and has taught ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi and hula at Kamehameha Schools Maui. Currently he works at the Bishop Museum.

Noah Haʻalilio Williams-Solomon : <b>Trainer, Translator</b><br> Phase II, III, IV

Noah Haʻalilio Williams-Solomon

Trainer, Translator
Phase II, III, IV

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.

Eli Līhauanu Nāhulu Maioho : <b>Trainer, Translator</b><br> Phase II, III, IV

Eli Līhauanu Nāhulu Maioho

Trainer, Translator
Phase II, III, IV

Eli Līhauanu Maioho is from the island of Molokai and is currently a Building and Construction teacher at Waipahu High school. He is also an ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi translator for Awaiaulu, and graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a B.A. in Hawaiian Language and a B.E. in secondary education Industrial Arts.

Ian Kealiʻilokomaikaʻi Nāhulu Maioho : <b>Trainer, Translator</b><br> Phase II, III

Ian Kealiʻilokomaikaʻi Nāhulu Maioho

Trainer, Translator
Phase II, III

Eia mai ʻo Ian Nāhulu Maioho he pulapula nō hoʻi o Molokaʻi nui a Hina. Hānai ʻia ma ka papahana kaiapuni ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi o Molokaʻi a puka kula kiʻekiʻe akula ma Kamehameha Kapālama, he keiki ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ʻo ia mai kona wā kamaliʻi e ʻimi mau ana i ka pono o ka lāhui ma o ka hoʻonaʻauao i ka ʻike a me ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi. Ma hope o ke kula kiʻekiʻe, hele kulanui ihola ʻo ia ma Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani ma Ke Kulanui O Hawaiʻi ma Hilo a puka aʻela ʻo ia me ke kekelē laepua ma ka Haʻawina Hawaiʻi, ka palapala aʻo hoʻonaʻauao ʻōiwi, a me ke kekelē laeoʻo ma ka hoʻonaʻauao ʻōlelo a moʻomeheu ʻōiwi. ʻO Cheney-Ann Pūlama Lima kāna wahine aloha. He makuakāne ʻo Nāhulu a he ʻelua āna keiki e noho haumāna nei ma ka papahana hoʻōla ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma Molokaʻi. Aia ʻo Wailaʻahia ma ka Pūnana Leo o Molokaʻi a aia ʻo Lono ma ke Kula Kaiapuni o Kualapuʻu. Ma waho o kāna hana unuhi ma Awaiaulu, he kumu aʻo ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi ʻo ia ma UH Maui College ma Molokaʻi Educational Center ma Kaunakakai Molokaʻi, a he limahana hoʻokele kumuwaiwai ʻike Hawaiʻi ʻo ia ma lalo o ke keʻena ʻIke Hawaiʻi ma Ke Kula ʻo Kamehameha. 

Jon Yasuda : <b>Team Leader, Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Jon Yasuda

Team Leader, Translator
Phase III, IV

Jon Yasuda graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a B.A and M.A. in Hawaiian Language. He teaches Hawaiian language at ʻIolani School. Jon's work in language translation began as a graduate student, and continued during his collaboration with the Ali'i Letters Project and as a trainee with the Awaiāulu Translation Training Project.

Hina Puamohala Kneubuhl : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Hina Puamohala Kneubuhl

Phase III, IV

Hina Puamohala Kneubuhl comes from Maui and lives part of the year there and part in Aotearoa, New Zealand. She holds bachelors degrees in botany and Hawaiian Language and a mater's degree in Hawaiian. She is one of the founders of the clothing company Kealopiko and also runs an independent language consulting business called Māpuna Leo. If she isn't playing with language or her kids, she is likely pounding kapa or bodysurfing.

E. Kalikoaloha Martin : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

E. Kalikoaloha Martin

Phase III, IV

E. Kaliko Martin has an MA in Hawaiian language and has recently entered the Ph.D program in Political Science at UH Mānoa where he is also an instructor at Kawaihuelani. He was a Research Specialist with Awaiaulu from 2014-2019. He passionately dedicates his time to the study of Hawaiian language, history, hula and his wahine, Makana.

S. Aolani Kailihou : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

S. Aolani Kailihou

Phase III, IV

Aolani Kailihou is a gradute of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, as well as UH Hilo, with undergraduate degrees in English and Hawaiian studies respectively. She also holds a M.A. in Hawaiian Language and Literature, which she earned at Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language, where she continues to lecture in both the graduate and undergradute programs.  Currently, Aolani works for Kamehameha Schools, Hawaiʻi Campus as an ʻŌiwi Research and Design Consultant.  She is the former Director of Hale Kuamoʻo Center for Hawaiian Language and has previously taught at Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu, a Hawaiian medium education school in Keaʻau, Hawaiʻi.

Kellen Pāʻani Kelson : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Kellen Pāʻani Kelson

Phase III, IV

ʻO wau nō kēia, ʻo Pāʻani Kelson. He keiki au no ka ua Kanilehua o Hilo. Aia ke noho nei i ka makani Moaniʻala o ʻŌlaʻa. He kumu kula wau ma Ke Kula ʻO Nāwahīokalaniʻōpuʻu ma Keaʻau nei. Naʻu nā papa mākau ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi o Nāwahī Nui. No ʻaneʻi ko kākou ola. E ola loa kākou.

Keawe Kekuaokalani Goodhue : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Keawe Kekuaokalani Goodhue

Phase III, IV

Keawe Goodhue graduated from Ke Kula ʻo Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau has a B.A. in Hawaiian language and has been employed by Hawaiian Airlines for 11 years. In addition to being a trainee in Awaiaulu's Translation Training Project he is also a member of the 'Ahahui 'Ōlelo Hawai'i. He and his wahine, Li'i, raise their four children in 'ōlelo Hawaiʻi and ʻike Hawaiʻi.

Frank Kaʻiuokalani Damas : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Frank Kaʻiuokalani Damas

Phase III, IV

He keiki papa ʻo Kaʻiuokalani no Waiʻanae, ka pohu laʻi hoʻi e waiho ana i ka ʻolu o ke ahe Kaiāulu. He aʻo kāna hana, i ka hula, i ka ʻōlelo, i ke mele. Aia ʻo ia ke aʻo ala i ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma ke kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa, me ka ʻimi pū i kāna kēkelē laeʻula ma lalo o Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani ma ka papahana Hoʻōla ʻŌlelo a Moʻomeheu Hawaiʻi a ʻŌiwi. He makua nō hoʻi ʻo Kaʻiuokalani e noke mau ana i ke ola o ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi i loko o kona hale, i ola hoʻi nā iwi a kau i ka pua aneane. ʻO ke aloha o ka ʻāina a mau loa aku.

C. Kahoʻokahi Kanuha : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

C. Kahoʻokahi Kanuha

Phase III, IV

He keiki papa ʻo Kahoʻokahi Kanuha no ke kai māʻokiʻoki o ka laʻi mālie a ʻEhu.  He keiki Pūnana Leo ʻo ia, he keiki Kaiapuni, a he pukana o ke Kula ʻo Kamehameha ma Kapālama i ka makahiki 2007.  Ua aʻo ʻo Kahoʻokahi ma ka Pūnana Leo o Honolulu, Kawaiahaʻo, Mānoa a me Kona no 10 makahiki a he kumu ʻo ia i kēia manawa ma ke Kula ʻo ʻEhunuikaimalino.  Ua puka ʻo ia mai ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa me ke kēkelē laepua ma ka ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi a he haumāna ʻo ia ma ka papahana laeoʻo ma Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani ma ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Hilo.  ʻO Kahoʻokahi ke alakaʻi o ka ʻAha Aloha ʻŌlelo, he hoʻokūkū ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi e mālama ʻia ma waena o ka poʻe ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi ma Kona i kēlā me kēia makahiki. ʻO ia kekahi o ka poʻe nāna i hoʻokumu i ka hui ʻo HULI, ʻo ia hoʻi ʻo Hawaiʻi Unity and Liberation Institute.

Jonathan Kainoa Pestana : <b>Translator</b><br> Phase III, IV

Jonathan Kainoa Pestana

Phase III, IV

Kainoa Pestana is a kamaʻāina of Waipiʻo, ʻEwa on Oʻahu island. A graduate of the Kamehameha Schools, he has gone on to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo where he received his B.A. in Hawaiian Studies and a Minor in Linguistics. Upon graduating, he moved home to Oʻahu to work at Papahana Kuaola, an ʻāina based education system where they helped cultivate the ʻāina and the people, building new stewards of our islands. He now lives on Maui where he works as a hoaʻāina for the Puʻu Kukui Watershed Preserve that is bringing Hawaiian cultural approaches and values back into conservation on Maui and hopefully the rest of Hawaiʻi. He has been with Awaiaulu for two years and helped work on John Papa ʻĪʻī’s collection of articles, Fragments of Hawaiian History. 

Kapalaiʻula DeSilva : Translator

Kapalaiʻula DeSilva


Kapalaiʻula Kamākāleiakawainui de Silva was born and raised in Kaʻōhao, Kailua, Oʻahu. She is a lifelong member and kumu hula graduate of Hālau Mōhala ʻIlima, and has spent most of her professional career dedicated to the preservation of and increased accessibility to Hawaiian language resources, beginning with her time as a worker with Hoʻolaupaʻi, the Hawaiian Language Newspaper Project. These days, she works for the Kamehameha Schools as a Cultural Specialist in the Hoʻokahua Group and helps to curate their Kaʻiwakīloumoku digital collections archive. Kapalai holds bachelor’s degrees from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Music and in Hawaiian Language.