Director’s Column

Director’s Column:  Aloha Avis!

Kapuaʻala Sproat, Director and Professor of Law

Avis Poai receiving the 2018 International Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Award for Archives Excellence on behalf of Ka Huli Ao.

Aloha e nā hoa makamaka!

Ka Huli Ao bids farewell to Avis Poai, our former Director of Archives and Legal History.  Avis requested an administrative reassignment to the University of Hawaiʻi’s Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation, which Dean Avi Soifer granted during the Spring 2019 Semester.  We are grateful for Avis’ contributions to our academic center over the years, and wish her well on this next phase of her journey. 

Avis joined Ka Huli Ao as an Assistant Faculty Specialist in July of 2015, where her work focused on our physical and digital archives as well as coordinating student outreach efforts.  She had previously worked with Ka Huli Ao in a non-tenure track position, and in the Law Library where she taught Legal Research and other courses.  Avis partnered with Ray Wang to re-vamp Ka Huli Ao’s Punawaiola website, which was created in 2008 by other Ka Huli Ao staff, with Ray and Keith Johnston playing critical roles.  Through Avis’ and Ray’s hard work, thousands of documents that Ray, Keith, and other staff had scanned over the years, became accessible online for public use through Punawaiola.  Due in large part to these collaborative efforts, Ka Huli Ao received the 2018 International Association of Tribal Archives, Libraries, and Museums Guardians of Culture and Lifeways Award for Archives Excellence.  Punawaiola is also the first bilingual website at the William S. Richardson School of Law, which is a critical step in expanding ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi as a means of communication at the Law School and beyond.  

During her last year with us, Avis focused increased effort on student outreach with the goal of inspiring and empowering students to pursue legal and related careers and achieve social justice for all of Hawaiʻi’s people for which she earned high praise.  She worked with Liam Skilling, Director of the Law School’s Evening Part Time Program and Academic Success, and Post-J.D. Fellow Letani Peltier, to facilitate a preparation program for prospective students who would be taking the LSAT, the Law Student Admission Test.  Avis also excelled in advertising student outreach and other initiatives, especially through Ka Huli Ao’s website and blog.  In fact, she worked closely with Ka Huli Ao’s Associate Director Susan Serrano to shepherd our media and related efforts and we will especially miss her efforts in that realm in particular. 

We wish Avis the best in her future endeavors.  “O ka pono ke hana ʻia a iho mai na lani:  blessings come to those who persist in doing good.”  ʻŌlelo Noʻeau:  Hawaiian Proverbs and Poetical Sayings #2437.

On a going-forward basis, anyone with student outreach inquiries can contact our Post-J.D. Fellow Letani Peltier at or (808) 956-4025.  Questions about Ka Huli Ao’s physical or digital archives may be directed to me at or (808) 956-7489.