Keith Kalanikau Awai

Kumu Hula

faculty_keithKumu 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

faculty_kimoKumu 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.

Teaching Staff
Clarissa Noelani Sonoda Alaka’i

alakai_clarissaBorn in Washington, D.C. Noelani began her Hawaiian studies with Hālau O ʻAulani since its inception and through numerous added cultural summer activities in Hawai’i. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland and is now Assistant Gym Director at The Little Gym of Alexandria at Huntley Meadows in Virginia. She is also a certified personal trainer and certified Les Mills BODYSTEP (step aerobics) instructor at a fitness center in Laurel, MD. She resides in Alexandria, VA.

Evan Ikaika Sonoda Alaka’i

alakai_ikaikaBorn 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.

Caryn Huakea Apsley Alaka’i

alakai_carynBorn in Tokyo, Japan, Huakea began her Hawaiian studies in Kailua, O’ahu, at the age of seven under the instruction of Aunty Bella Richards. After her family moved to Northern Virginia in 1973, she continued her studies under Harold “Mahina” Bailey. Huakea went on to Virginia Tech and eventually got married and started a family. Soon her love for the Hawaiian culture returned so she joined Hālau O ‘Aulani in 2008, where her three sons are also enrolled as students. Huakea is a computer systems analyst with 21CT and certified personal trainer and with Worldgate Sport & Health Club. She resides with her family in Reston, VA.

Jonalyne Hepualaha’ole Andres Alaka’i

alakai-andresHepua 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 continues her studies at the University of Maryland, University College as she pursues her Master’s degrees in both Business Administration and Management. In addition to Polynesian dance and sharing the culture, Hepua enjoys her job in 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 Odenton, MD.

Jeannie Vieve Polinahe Andres-Waltrip Alaka’i

faculty_poliBegan her Hawaiian studies in 1992 and joined Hālau O ‘Aulani in the spring of 2009. She is a freelance graphic designer and makeup artist. She dances professionally with Hawaiian Entertainment Company and has worked on Celebrity Cruises during their Hawaiian Enrichment Series. Poli is married with one son and currently resides in Odenton, MD.

Glen Hirabayashi Ukulele Instructor

faculty_glen3Glen 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 Mihori Assistant Ukulele Instructor

faculty_jim2From Delray Beach, Florida. B.S. (Political Science), Massachusetts Institute of Technology; M.A. (International Relations), Johns Hopkins University. Military Analyst, RAND Corporation, 1985-1990.

Special Instructors
David Tiave

faculty_davidOf 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.

Charlene Shelford-Lum

faculty_charBorn 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 Teriipaia

faculty_cathyCatherine 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.

Dorothy K. Awai

faculty_kananiAunty 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
Board of Directors
Edwin T.C. Ing Chairman

board_edwinWashington, 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.

Shirley Queja Secretary & Vice Principal

faculty_shirleyBackground: 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.

Jim Mihori Treasurer

faculty_jim2Military 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.

Glen Hirabayashi

faculty_glen2Attorney 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.

E. Kenneth Hong Fong


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.

Maile Mahikoa Duggan

faculty_maileBackground: 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.

Evan Ikaika Sonoda

alakai_ikaikaHealth and Physical Education teacher, George Washington Middle School, Alexandria, VA.
: 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.