Hiilei Kawelo

Hi‘ilei Kawelo

Board President
Hiʻilei Kawelo currently serves as President of the KUA Board. Hiʻilei is Executive Director of Paepae o Heʻeia, a small non-profit that cares for an 88-acre traditional Hawaiian fishpond in Kāneʻohe, on the island of Oʻahu. Her practice is that of a wahine lawaiʻa (fisherwoman), specific to the Kāneʻohe Bay area.

Makaʻala Kaʻaumoana

Aunty Makaʻala Kaʻaumoana currently serves as the Vice-President of the KUA Board. Born in Kāneʻohe, she is a long-time advocate for causes to protect the ʻāina. She is the Executive Director of the Hanalei Watershed Hui, a Kauaʻi non-profit environmental organization that strives to care for the ahupua’a of Hanalei, Waioli, Waipa, and Waikoko guided by Hawaiian and other principles of sustainability and stewardship, integrity and balance, cooperation and aloha, cultural equity and mutual respect.

Kapalaiʻula de Silva

Kapalai'ula de Silva (Treasurer) was born and raised in Kaʻōhao, Oʻahu, the daughter of composer/historian/educator Kihei de Silva and Kumu Hula Mapuana de Silva. She is a lifelong member and a recent Kumu Hula graduate of her family's Hālau Mohala ʻIlima. She holds a Bachelor's degree in both Hawaiian Language and Music as well as a Graduate Certificate in Professional Accounting, all from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Maile Shannon

Maile Shannon has been involved in aina based work since 1999, formerly as a farmer/rancher. Since 2009 as a conservationist, both working and volunteering, she raised her children Marcus, Shannon, and Hunter in the non-profit world.  In turn it has afforded her the wonderful opportunity to serve her community on boards and as a founding members of various NGO’s.

Kahelelani Cruz

Kahelelani Cruz (Secretary) is an Assistant Professor at the Kapiʻolani Community College’s Hawaiian Studies Department and is the mother of Kailoa. She graciously stepped into this seat held by her late husband, Ernie Cruz, Jr. Ernie passed away suddenly and tragically in 2016.

Pamela Fujii

Aunty Pam was born and raised on Oahu and lives in the ahupuaʻa of Kuliʻouʻou. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Merchandising from University of Hawaii Manoa. Pam is currently employed as a project specialist for the Hawaii Coral Reef Initiative Research Program and the Pacific International Training Desk at the University of Hawai’i Manoa. She is an active member of the ʻEwa Limu Project and volunteers with several community groups. M Pam and her husband Dennis were mentored by Uncle Henry Chang Wo and grateful for his guidance and sharing of his pono wisdom.

Hannah K. Springer

Hannah Kihalani Springer is kamaʻāina of Kaʻūpūlehu, North Kona.  She and her husband Michael live on ʻāina aloha of Kukuiʻohiwai, homesteading with their son and his family.   Hannah is a life-long student of the cultural and natural histories of Hawaiʻi.  She has served in volunteer, appointed, and elected capacities at the Island and State levels.  Hannah is active with the Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee, which successfully advocated for a ten year, all species rest period, from shore out to a depth of 120 feet at Kaʻūpūlehu and Kūkiʻo.  The effort, is affectionately called, “Try Wait”.

Ernie Cruz, Jr. (Emeritus)

Former Board Member
We are extremely saddened to report that our board member, inspiration and dear friend Ernie Cruz Jr. passed away on September 20, 2106. Our tribute to Ernie can be read at www.kuahawaii.org/ernie-cruz-jr

Ernie Cruz Jr. was born in Honolulu and raised in Pālolo Valley, ahupuaʻa of Waikīkī. Ernie currently works at McCabe, Hamilton and Renny as a stevedore and is a highly accomplished and respected Hawaiian musician. Ernie was a member of the popular and highly influential Kaʻau Crater Boys, later released the acclaimed solo-album "Portraits," and has since generously shared the microphone and stage with local and national acts, playing comfortably in venues from local backyards to the Waikīkī Shell.

Anne Swayne (Emeritus)

Former Board Member
Anne Swayne is the President of the Keith and Judy Swayne Family Foundation. She is a certified family foundation consultant and serves on the national Association of Small Foundations Next Generation Committee and Impact Working Group. Anne developed a local chapter of EPIP (Emerging Practitioners in Philanthropy.) Anne also serves on the Hawaiʻi Art Alliance, and is active in many other aspects of the non-profit and philanthropy communities in Hawaiʻi and beyond. One of KUA's Founding Board Members, Anne served on the KUA Board of Directors from 2012-2021.

Miwa Tamanaha (Emeritus)

Co-Founder & Former Co-Director
Miwa has spent the last 20+ years working for marine and watershed protection–from education to policy in Hawaiʻi, rural Mexico, Central and Southern California, and Tanzania. From 2011 - 2021, Miwa served as a co-founder and co-leader of Kua‘āina Ulu ‘Auamo (KUA). Prior to KUA, she was the executive director at KAHEA, a local environmental and cultural advocacy non-profit. Miwa has a B.A. and M.A. in Economics from the University of Southern California. Our Mahalo & A Hui Hou Tribute for her time spent in leadership at KUA can be read at https://kuahawaii.org/mahalo-miwa/.