Hawai‘i Community College professors and UH Hilo staff member named NHEA Educators of the Year

Two Hawai‘i Community College professors and a longtime UH Hilo employee have been named 2013 Educators of the Year by the Native Hawaiian Education Association, one of the most prestigious awards in Hawaiian education.

Dr. Taupōuri Tangarō, an associate professor and the chairman of the humanities department at HawCC; Kekuhi Kanae Kanahele Keali‘ikanaka‘oleoHaililani, assistant professor and coordinator at HawCC’s I Ola Haloa Hawai‘i Life Styles Program; and Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, executive assistant to the chancellor at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, are the recipients of the award this year.

They will be honored at NHEA’s 14th Annual Convention, which takes place March 21 and 22 at the Hawai‘i Island campus of Kamehameha Schools.

HawCC Chancellor Noreen Yamane said the University of Hawai‘i system is fortunate to have such dedicated educators working at HawCC and UH Hilo.

Tangarō, Makuakāne-Lundin and Kekuhi were nominated and selected by their peers for the NHEA award.

Tangarō received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Hawai`i at Hilo, his Master of Education from Heritage College, and his PhD from Union Institute and University. He is a Kumu Hula (teacher of hula), receiving his training from Hālau O Kekuhi, a traditional hula school known for the `aiha`a style of hula—a low-postured, vigorous, bombastic style reflecting the creative forces of the volcano.

Prior to her appointment as executive assistant, Makuakāne-Lundin served as the director of several student support programs at UH Hilo, including the Kipuka Native Hawaiian Student Center, the Hawaiian Leadership Development Program, the Student Support Services Program and the Health Careers Opportunity Program. “Aunty Gail” has been with UH Hilo for 29 years and is considered a leader in native Hawaiian student services on campus and within the UH system. She holds a Master of Science degree in public health from UH Mānoa, a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from UH Hilo and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education.

Kekuhi Kanae Kanahele Keali‘ikanaka‘oleoHaililani has trained in the tradition of Hula ‘Aiha’a for 39 years and has been ritually elevated to the status of Kumu Hula, of Halau o Kekuhi by her mother, Kumu Hula Pualani Kanahele and her Aunt Kumu Hula Nalani Kanaka’ole. Under the direction of her mentors, Kekuhi has co-produced some of Hālau O Kekuhi’s most significant contributions to oral and ritual arts performances.

Kekuhi volunteers her time as the executive director of the Edith Kanaka‘ole Foundation, a family foundation dedicated to heightening and expanding indigenous Hawai’i consciousness through oral and ritual arts and traditions and education, and research activities.

Kekuhi holds a Bachelor of Arts in Hawaiian Studies from the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo and a Master of Education from Heritage University. She will be pursuing a doctoral degree.

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