Keith Kalanikau Awai
Kumu Hula Kalanikau Awai, master Hula Dance Instructor, was born in Honolulu and raised in Haleiwa (North Shore of O’ahu), Hawai’i. Keith attended Kamehameha Schools and the Church College of Hawai’i, now Brigham Young University – Hawai’i campus. While at Kamehameha, Keith first studied hula under the late Aunty Nona Beamer and afterward with the late Aunty Sally Moanikeala Wood Nalua’i, the first kumu hula of the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) since its opening in October 1963.
Following an uniki (graduation) ceremony in 1981 by Aunty Sally, Kumu Keith founded Hālau Kawaipu’ilani (“the water that feeds the spirit”) in his Haleiwa hometown, a product of Kumu Keith’s dream. Since then, Kumu Keith has also judged many hula competitions in Hawai’i and California, and conducted workshops throughout the mainland and in Japan.
Kumu Keith is employed as Cultural Specialist at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Lā’ie (www.polynesia.com), where he has been for over 40 years. Keith currently resides in Haleiwa.
James “Kimo” Luluhiwalani Awai III
Kumu Hula James “Kimo” Luluhiwalani Awai III, master Hula Dance Instructor and Cultural Advisor, was born in Honolulu, Hawai’i and spent his early youth in Kona, Hawai’i island and Haleiwa, O’ahu. Kimo attended Lahainaluna High School and the University of Hawai’i at Hilo. After high school, he lived in Honolulu before moving to the Big Island of Hawai’i where he remains a resident.
While in Hilo, he studied the Hawaiian language and the art of hula under the late Aunty Nona Beamer and with major influence from Aunty Pualani “Pua” Kanaka’ole Kanahele, a highly respected cultural practitioner, kumu hula, historian and teacher of Hawaiian traditions. As kumu hula of Hula Hālau Na Po’e Ao Hiwa (“bearers of the sacred light”), Kumu Kimo also serves as Kupuna at Keaukaha Elementary School which includes Ka ‘Umeke Kā’eo, a Hawaiian Language Charter School. He leads a full life also as a cosmetologist and licensed Buddhist minister in Hilo.
Kumu Kimo continues to share his Hawaiian cultural knowledge with the Big Island community as a spiritual leader and through lectures and workshops under programs such as Nā Pua No’eau at the University of Hawai’i – Hilo campus.
Noelani was born in Washington, DC and began her Hawaiian studies with Hālau O ‘Aulani since its inception and through numerous added cultural summer activities in Hawai‘i. Noelani is a graduate of the University of Maryland and now pursuing a teaching degree at George Mason University. She resides in Alexandria, VA.
Born in Honolulu, Hawai’i, Ikaika began his Hawaiian studies with Hālau O ʻAulani in 1996 when the school first opened its doors. A graduate of George Mason University, he now teaches Health and Physical Education at the George Washington Middle School. He resides in Alexandria, VA.
Kaimana Chee, Kuma Hula, joined hālau in September 2012 to teach the keiki and intermediate classes. He brings over two decades of hula experience and has affiliate hālau in both Mauʻi and Tokyo, Japan. Kaimana was born and raised in Hauʻula on the north shore of Oʻahu, graduating from Kahuku High School in 1995 and Boise State University in 1999. He is an IT and Training Professional and has been living in the the Washington, DC area since 2004. Students in the keiki class absolutely adore their Uncle Kaimana and think that he is “amazing!”
Wilma has training in Dunham Technique, Afro-Haitian, Afro-Cuban, African and indigenous and folk Pilipino dances. She was born in Manila and raised in both Manila and the San Francisco Bay Area (where her family still resides). She graduated from San Francisco State University and Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. A District resident, she produced for many years at National Public Radio and trained young people pursuing journalism. She is also a theater artist and a student of the culinary arts.
Hepua began her Hawaiian studies in 1993 and joined Hālau O ‘Aulani in the spring of 2009. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and is certified as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR). In addition to Polynesian dance and sharing the culture, Jonalyne enjoys her job in human resources and recruiting, eating at great restaurants and trying new recipes to write about in her food blog and spending time with great company. She currently resides in Baltimore, MD.
Poli began her Hawaiian studies in 1992 and joined Hālau O ‘Aulani in the spring of 2009. She is a freelance graphic designer and makeup artist, and she has worked on Celebrity Cruises during their Hawaiian Enrichment Series. Poli has a son, also enrolled at Hālau O ‘Aulani, and currently resides in Maryland.
Born and raised in Wai’anae, Hawai’i, Alika is the great-grandson of the late Kupuna Katherine Maunakea from whom he learned Hawaiian language and culture. His mother, Alexis, is a tenured Hawaiian language teacher in Hawai’i. After graduating from Kamehameha Schools in 1997 where he continued his study of Hawaiian language, Alika went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in Biology at Creighton University and doctoral degree in Biomedical Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. Having obtained his Ph.D., Alika works as a research fellow at the National Institutes of Health and resides with his wife, Mei-Lin, and daughter, Kanoelani, in Bethesda, Maryland. His daughter is also a student at Hālau O ‘Aulani.
Glen was born in Honolulu, O’ahu, and raised on Kaua’i since age 7. A graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, NY, Southwestern University School of Law with a Master of Laws in Taxation from Georgetown University Law School, Glen has had a love of music since childhood. After his second move to the Washington, D.C. area, he found a renewed interest in Hawaiian music. While playing music for Hālau O ‘Aulani, Glen met fellow Hawai’i transplants, formed “The Aloha Boys” and has been entertaining audiences with traditional and contemporary Hawaiian music ever since. Glen, his wife Donna, and two daughters reside in Oak Hill, VA.
Jim was born and raised in south Florida with an appreciation for Japanese culture, which he got from his parents who emigrated from Japan. After college, Jim moved to the Washington, DC area to pursue a career in defense policy and military analysis. Despite a life-long fascination with Hawai‘i, he did not become seriously interested in its culture until his first visit in 1990 while on his honeymoon. Inspired by the music of Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, he decided to take up the ukulele and found Hālau O ‘Aulani, where he began his studies under Glen Hirabayashi. He now assists Glen in teaching ukulele at Hālau O ‘Aulani, where his two daughters are also enrolled as students.
Of Samoan and Irish descent, David is special instructor specializing in the Samoan culture. He was born and raised in Honolulu, O’ahu, where he attended Farrington High School and later Brigham Young University-Hawai’i Campus in Lā’ie. In 1985, he began work at the Polynesian Cultural Center in Lā’ie as a performer and member of the PCC Promotional Team performing all over the mainland and abroad. David is currently the Cultural Manager in the Theatre Department of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
Born and raised in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and is affiliated with the Ngapuhi Tribe of North Auckland, she moved to Hawai’i in 1968 to attend CCH (now known as BYU-Hawai’i) and majored in Home and Family Education. Char worked in the Maori Village, Night Show and the Educational Dept. at the Polynesian Cultural Center. She currently works at BYU-Hawai’i as the Special Instructor for the Exercise Sports Science Department with emphasis in Polynesian dancing.
Catherine was born on the beautiful main island of Papeete, Tahiti, but was raised in Hau’ula, O’ahu, Hawai’i. She works at the Polynesian Cultural Center where she has been since her youth and has danced all over the world sharing and promoting the songs and dances of Polynesia in general. She continues to perpetuate her Tahitian culture with various Hālau in Hawai’i. Catherine also participates in different Tahitian festivals or Heivas both in Hawai’i and on the mainland.
Aunty Kanani was born on the island of Maui. Number 11 of 12 children, she graduated from the Kamehameha School for Girls where she met and married her high school sweetheart. She has 3 children. Her two sons, Kimo and Keith, are Kumu Hula of their own Hālau in Hawai’i. Her daughter is a busy mother and grandmother.
For more than 25 years, Aunty Kanani has been a Kupuna (elder, source of wisdom) at Haleiwa Elementary School where she shares the Hawaiian Culture with children. She also is a cultural Kupuna at Waimea Valley Park on the island of O’ahu. In addition, Aunty acts as an advisor to various Kupuna and Hawaiian organizations. Aunty Kanani is also a member of a musical trio, Ohana 3, and plays the piano, guitar, ukulele and the upright bass.
Administrative Support Staff
Washington, D.C. attorney
Background: From Pu’unui, O’ahu. Tax Law Specialist, Internal Revenue Service, 1975-1977. Legislative Counsel to U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-HI), 1977-1983.
Assistant to Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff for National Guard Matters, Washington, D.C.
Background: From Kahalu’u, O’ahu . Graduate of Damien Memorial HS in Honolulu and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Engineering from Georgia Tech. Serves as a major general in the U.S. Air Force.
Background: From Wahiawa, O’ahu. Personal/Appointments Secretary to U.S. Senator Spark Matsunaga (D-HI), 1978-1990; Executive Assistant to U.S. Rep. Robert T. Matsui (D-CA, 5th), 1990-2005, and U.S. Rep. Doris O. Matsui (D-CA, 5th), 2005. Retired after 27 years service.
Military Analyst, Program Manager – Northrop Grumman Information Systems, McLean, VA
Background: From Delray Beach, Florida. B.S. (Political Science), Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.A. (International Relations), Johns Hopkins University. Military Analyst, RAND Corporation, 1985-1990.
Attorney Advisor, U.S. Tax Court, Washington, D.C.
Background: From Waimea, Kauai. West Point Academy graduate, 1969; Masters in Law, Georgetown Law School. Attorney, Internal Revenue Service national office, 1985-1986.
Research Staff Member – Information Technology and Systems Division, Institute for Defense Analyses, Alexandria, VA.
Background: From Chicago, Illinois. B.A. (Psychology), Northeastern Illinois University; M.S. (Management Services), DePaul University.
Before retiring from Federal service, held various management and technology positions at the U.S. General Services Administration, U.S. Veterans Administration, and U.S. Department of Defense.
Background: From Kailua, O’ahu. Graduate, Kamehameha School for Girls; Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of Redlands. Retired realtor. Board member, Hawaiian Civic Club, Washington, D.C. and Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association-East Coast.
Health and Physical Education teacher, George Washington Middle School, Alexandria, VA.
Background: From Honolulu, Hawai’i. Graduate of T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, VA; Bachelor of Science-Education specialized in Health and Physical Education, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA.
Background: From Kaimuki, O’ahu. Graduate, Kalani High School; University of Hawaii; Loyola University of Chicago School of Law. Retired legal journalist, managing editor for BNA, Inc.