• Our Mission

    The mission of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) is to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

    NHLC carries out its mission by integrating native values into the practice of western law and jurisprudence.


    Our Vision

    A just Hawai'i, guided by Hawaiian values, customs and ways of knowing.


    Our Guiding Principles


         MAOLI OLA is essential to our work. NHLC will engage in various huaka'i to establish meaningful relationships with clients and the Native Hawaiian community.


         LAULIMA is essential to NHLC's success. Our work is team-based.

    NĀ KOA

         We are NĀ KOA, the warriors on the front-line. NHLC will fearlessly and passionately fight for justice for Native Hawaiians.


         We have a 44-year history of being STEADFAST for Hawaiian rights. The NHLC 'ohana is resolute and uncompromising in continuing this tradition.


         Our work is our KULEANA. NHLC will carry out its responsibilities with a deep sense of commitment and care.


         Our organization is an 'OHANA. NHLC will provide her employees the necessary support and resources necessary to carry out their duties.


         We MĀLAMA our communities. In volunteering as an organization for our community projects consistent with our mission, we are preserving and protecting our rights and culture and are also caring for our people.














    NHLC 'ohana volunteering on Kaho'olawe

    NHLC 'ohana volunteering on Kaho'olawe in November 2014





  • Righting a Wrong

    Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation was born during a period of reawakening for the Hawaiian people. During the 1970s, Native Hawaiians were engaged in monumental land struggles. They were increasingly evicted from rural areas to make way for residential or tourist-related developments (Kalama Valley and Makua Valley). They were also evicted from one of the last fishing villages on O’ahu so that the State could build an industrial park. By the second half of that decade, Native Hawaiians were protesting the military’s use of the island of Kaho‘olawe as a bombing target. Meanwhile, a renaissance in Hawaiian culture was blossoming. Native Hawaiians were learning how to navigate across the Pacific using traditional methods aboard Hokule’a, a replica of voyaging canoes used by pre-historic Polynesians. They were revitalizing the indigenous language, which was outlawed shortly after the overthrow of the Hawaiian government.

    This reawakening was another phase of dealing with a legacy of colonization. The Native Hawaiian people, who inhabited these islands as early as 300 A.D., had a complex culture and land tenure system. Recognized as a nation in the international community, the Native Hawaiian monarchy had treatises with other countries. But with Western contact, their sovereignty slowly eroded until a group of businessmen, supported by the U.S., overthrew the Native Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

    The loss of sovereignty and their lands have plagued Native Hawaiians. The U.S. recognized that lands set aside by the Hawaiian Monarchy for the benefit of the Hawaiian people (or ceded lands) retained a special character, and until today must be used for the betterment of Native Hawaiians. And the U.S. also adopted a law, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, aimed at returning Native Hawaiians to the land. But justice was still out of reach.

    As part of a grassroots effort to remedy the injustices suffered by Native Hawaiians, NHLC was formed in 1974. The concept of creating a law firm devoted to the needs of Native Hawaiians arose out of the difficulty Native Hawaiians faced in getting leases under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Those lands were increasingly being leased to non-beneficiaries of the Act, while Native Hawaiians languished on a waiting list for decades. Originally named the “Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims,” the organization fought against a then-new wave of dispossession from the land to make way for a boom in urban development. Since then, NHLC has worked steadily to establish Native Hawaiian rights jurisprudence.

    “Over the years, what we have done is we’ve been able to establish that these practices are credible, that they exist, and that they need to protected.”

    —Paul Nahoa Lucas, Current Board Member and Former Staff Attorney

  • Board Members

    The Board of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation provides leadership and raises funds for the organization. Each board member serves a term limited to three consecutive two year terms.

    • Mark Kawika Patterson, President
    • Malia Ka`aihue, Vice President
    • Kevin Cockett, Secretary
    • Kawena Suganuma Beaupré, Treasurer
    • Roy Catalani
    • Angela Correa-Pei
    • Mike Hodson
    • Keali`i Lopez
    • Jon Matsuoka
    • Robert Merce
    • Keali`i Reichel
    • Sunshine Topping



    NHLC recently welcomed four individuals to its Board: Keali`i Reichel, Angela Correa-Pei, Kawena Suganuma Beaupré and Keali`i Lopez. 

    Board members Keali`i Reichel, Angela Correa-Pei, Kawena Suganuma Beaupré and Keali`i Lopez explain why they wanted to serve on NHLC’s Board.

  • Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award

    For the past ten years at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement's Annual Convention, NHLC has presented the Native Hawaiian Community Advocate Award recognizing outstanding individuals with a personal contribution to Native Hawaiian rights and leadership.

  • Summer Sylva

    Summer Sylva is the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC).  She has been a staff attorney since 2014. Her work with Hawaii’s only non-profit law firm dedicated to Native Hawaiian rights first began in 2005 as a summer law clerk. NHLC’s work motivated Summer’s efforts to organize Cornell University’s first native water law and public policy symposium. It also inspired her law journal publication chronicling Na Moku Aupuni O Ko‘olau Hui’s early legal efforts to perpetuate taro farming by combating commercial diversions that had dewatered East Maui streams and tributaries for over a century.

    After graduating from Cornell Law School in 2007, Summer practiced commercial and bankruptcy litigation in New York and New Jersey for an international law firm. Summer moved home in 2011 and continued her private practice in business, construction, and real estate matters.

    In 2014, Summer returned to NHLC to litigate the East Maui water case that inspired her legal scholarship a decade earlier. As lead counsel, Summer and NHLC’s dedicated team of staff and attorneys secured a landmark victory — completely restoring  streamflow to 10 streams and requiring 90-percent habitat recovery to 5 additional streams — in the state’s largest water rights case spanning 17 years of litigation. Summer also represents the cultural practitioners who sued the state for failing to protect ceded lands in Pohakuloa from the harmful effects of military training exercises. Earlier this year, a state court for the first time recognized “malama ‘aina” as a legal duty, and ruled that the state’s leasing and (mis)management of tens of thousands of acres of ceded lands to the U.S. Army violated that duty.

    Summer’s ongoing legal and other advocacy statewide includes efforts to protect Native Hawaiian land and water rights, sacred places, traditional and customary practices, Hawaiian entitlement programs, and prisoners’ rights.


    • "Whistleblowers:  Are They Your Brother's Keeper?"  White Collar Defense Alert - February 17, 2011
    • "Court Rejects Product Liability Iinsurance Claim Against General Liability Policy" International Law Office's Product Liability USA Newsletter, April 3, 2008
    • "Indigenizing Water Law in the 21st Century:  Na Moku Aupuni O Ko`olau Hui, A Native Hawaiian Case Study", Cornell Jorunal of Law and Public Policy, Vol. 16 (3), Summer 2007
    • Co-Author (Look, Mele/Baruffi, Gigliola), "Health of Hawaiian Women", Pacific Health Dialog, Vol. 5 (2), September 1998

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association, Board of Director
    • New York Bar Association
    • New Jersey State Bar Association
    • The Association of the Federal Bar of New Jersey
    • Waimānalo Health Center, Board of Director, Board Secretary (2000-2004)

    Past Positions

    • Litigation Associate, Bays Lung Rose & Holma (2011-2013)
    • Litigation Associate, Holland & Knight LLP (2006-2011)
    • Research Administrator, Hawaii Cancer Research Center, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (2001-2004)
    • Editorial Assistant, J. of Climate, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (2003)
    • Editorial Assistant, J. of Physical Oceanograph, Research Corporation of the University of Hawaii (1998 to 2004)
    • Women's Health Researcher, Queen's Health System (Summer/Fall 1997)


    • Cornell Law School (J.D., Public Law Certificate, 2007)
    • Barnard College-Columbia University (B.A., Political Science, 1997)
  • 2019 - Dr. Kamana`opono Crabbe

    For the past 10 years, NHLC has been privileged and humbled to present the Native Hawaiian Community Advocate Award to outstanding kānaka who have dedicated their lives, talents, vision, and leadership to the advancement of Native Hawaiian rights. This year, it is with deep respect, pride, and gratitude that we bestow the 2019 Community Advocate Award on Dr. Kamana`opono Crabbe.

    An advocate is said to be a champion, supporter, and promoter. They are a proponent, protector, and spokesperson. So too they are a fighter, crusader, reformer, and pioneer. Kamana`opono has served in all those roles, and embodied all those qualities in his many years as a servant leader for our lāhui.

    To be a leader who wants to serve and serve-first; a leader who wishes to ensure that other people’s highest priorities and needs are being served; to use your life to focus primarily on the growth and well-being of people and communities to which you belong; to share power, to put the needs of others first, and to be brave, steadfast, and pono, in every capacity and under every circumstance is an uncommon feat, let alone, for someone as accomplished as Kamana`opono.

    His list of achievements include being a licensed clinical psychologist and former Director of Psychology Training at Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center; an original founder of the `Aha Kane: Foundation for the Advancement of Native Hawaiian Males; a ho`oponopono practitioner, master chanter, and expert in Native Hawaiian ceremony and protocol; and of course, his decade-long service first as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs' Research Director and then its Chief Executive Officer.

    Kamana`opono Crabbe has dedicated his personal, academic and professional career toward improving Native Hawaiian well-being. Uplifting the mana and mauli ola of the Hawaiian community through transformation and indigenous excellence are the pillars of his leadership values. Because of who he is and all that he's accomplished in service to the Native Hawaiian community, NHLC extends a heartfelt mahalo and congratulations to Dr. Kamana`opono Crabbe.

  • 2020 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:

    Christopher G. Kelly In Honor of Summer Sylva
    PacificBasin Communications, LLC  
  • Moses Haia III

    Moses Kalei Nahonoapi`ilani Haia III is a staff attorney at NHLC, obtaining landmark victories in native rights cases seeking to protect ancient Hawaiian burials and Native Hawaiian water rights.

    Before joining NHLC in 2001, Moses was a solo practitioner. His practice involved labor and employment law, civil litigation and native Hawaiian rights. Moses also previously served as a staff attorney with a native rights law firm, the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, where he litigated a seminal water rights case involving the distribution of water from one part of O’ahu to another through the Waiahole Ditch.


    • Editor and Contributor, E Alu Like Mai i Ka Pono - Coming Together for Justice. This handbook describes the legislative process, administrative agencies that deal with Hawaiian affairs, and how Hawaiians can participate in governmental decision-making.
    • Eric Yamamoto, Moses Haia & Donna Kalama, Courts and the Cultural Performance: Native Hawaiians’ Uncertain Federal and State Law Rights To Sue, 16 Hawaii L. Rev. 1 (Summer 1994)


    • Honolulu Star Bulletin, “10 Who Made A Difference”, 2007 - For his work related to the protection and preservation of historic and cultural properties.
    • Honolulu Star Advertiser, Insight Section, "Name in the News", 2016 - Recognized as the Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation advocates for Hawaiians seeking to return to their lands.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawaii State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
    • Hawaii State Bar Association, Board of Director
    • Hawaii Veterans Memorial Fund, Board of Director
    • U.S. Commission on Civil Rights - Hawaii Advisory Committee, Board of Director
    • Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce, Board of Director
    • Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement, Board of Director
    • Native American Rights Fund, Board of Director Chair (2012-2018)

    Past Positions

    • Staff Attorney, Native Hawaiian Advisory Council (1995 to 1997)


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1994)
    • University of Hawaii (B.A., Political Science, 1989)
  • Keali`i Reichel

    Kumu Hula / Musician

    Hālau Keʻalaokamaile


    Serving on the NHLC Board is just a small way to give back to an amazing organization who has tirelessly served our lāhui over the past few decades.  I look forward to supporting their current and future efforts - so we may stand strong on all legal and cultural battlefronts.  Iē holo ē!

  • 2018 - Oswald K. Stender


    NHLC presented its 2018 Native Hawaiian Advocate Award to Oswald K. Stender for his many accomplishments and dedication to the betterment of the Hawaiian people.

    Oswald K. Stender is a Kamehameha Schools Graduate, Class of 1950.  He is a former Bishop Estate Board Trustee and a former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Trustee.  He has accomplished much throughout his career with Hawaiian Electric Company, The Estate of James Campbell, Grosvenor International, American Land Company and of course Bishop Estate and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  He has served on numerous boards and foundations such as Grace Pacific, Friends of 'Iolani Palace, 'Iolani School, Pacific Gateway Center, Pacific Capital Funds, East-West Center, and Helping Hands Hawai'i just to name a few.  Although his experience is vast and his expertise lies in land management as well as commercial and residential real estate, nothing brings more passion than his love for and desire to serve the Hawaiian people.  This can be seen as his tireless work while at the Bishop Estate and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.  Oz never backed down from doing what he felt was right and fair for the lahui and Hawai`i as a whole and continues to fight for what is pono.

    Today, even while retired, many people seek him out for advice and to help further a cause.  Oz is always willing to lend a helping hand or to simply share his mana'o all the while striving to keep busy in his retirement years so as not to "grow old."  As busy as he is with business affairs, Oz still finds time to relax with his family, work in his yard and play cribbage with anyone who wants a challenge.

    Asked what he wants to leave as his legacy, Oz simply says, "What matters most is my desire to make Hawai'i a better place for all those who call this state home by elevating the Hawaiian people -- the indigenous people of this 'aina -- as we work to continue giving them the tools they need to succeed and by putting them at the forefront today and for generations to come."  He is firm in his belief that if we serve and help every Hawaiian – children to kupuna – Hawai'i as a state will thrive and flourish.

  • 2019 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:

    Rozelle A. Agag In Honor of Summer Sylva's new kuleana as NHLC's Executive Director
    Paula Akana  
    Anonymous (Facebook)  
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    Anonymous through the Anonymous Donor Advised Fund, Hawaii Community Foundation  
    Anonymous - Unknown, A sister  
    Na`alehu Anthony  
    Gwen Arkin  
    Becky Ashizawa  
    Claire Atkinson  
    Kathryn Au In Honor of the Protectors of Maunakea
    Veronika Bajwa  
    Marta Barreras In Honor of Pele and Poliahu
    Bodhi Be  
    Anastasia Bennett  
    Stephen Bibbs  
    Emma Blaw In Honor of Carol Li, who inspires me
    Prairie Bly  
    Sherry Broder  
    Jeffrey Bronfman  
    Puanani Brown  
    Eileen Cain  
    Raelynn Pua Carpenter  
    Steve & Carol-Louise Carper  
    Paul Carter  
    Susan Caswell In Memory of Diana Key
    Celestine Casserley  
    Roy Catalani  
    Anna Chavez  
    Paula W. Chong  
    Rick Copeland  
    Angela Jo Lokalia Correa-Pei  
    Paige Clew Deponte In Honor of Louis BULLY DePonte
    Laurie Derego  
    Linda L. Derendinger  
    David H. Dinner  
    Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation  
    MJ Duberstein  
    Romualda Estoy  
    Martha Evans  
    Donald Fisher  
    Leimomi Morgan Fisher  
    Jasmine Fleenor  
    Steven Forman  
    Byron Fujieda  
    Wayne & Hazel Fujimoto  
    Joan Fujimura  
    Ede Fukumoto  
    Len Gambla  
    Teresa Gardner  
    Lewis Glenn  
    Stephen Gomes In Honor and Loving Memory of Julia Malia Gomes
    Christina Goodness In Honor of my children Kawena and Nahele and the Kia`i on the Mauna
    Arthur K. Goto  
    Heidi Guth  
    Courtney Haia  
    Thomas Haia  
    Dora & Jim Hamilton In Memory of Michael Mason
    Frances Harold  
    Melody Heidel  
    Mikahala Helm  
    Kathleen Hering  
    Elnora Hiers  
    Lahela Holmwood In Honor of Waimea Hawaiian Civic Club, Kamuela, Hawai`i - Continue to protect Mauna Kea, our SACRED Mauna
    William Hoshijo  
    MJ Jirik  
    Phil Johnson In Honor of Alan Murakami for his dedicated work!!
    Iain & Elizabeth Johnston  
    Jane D. Johnston In Memory of Robert G. Johnston
    Robert Benjamin Johnston In Honor and Memory of Gil Johnston
    Charles Kaaiai  
    Bonita Chang & Kyle Kajihiro  
    Ka Lahui Hawai`i Political Action Committee  
    Albert Kalin  
    Le`a M. Kanehe  
    Koalani Kaulukukui  
    Suzanne R. Kaulukukui  
    Sally & Robin Kaye In Honor of Moses & NHLC Gang, Congratulations on all you do - keep it up! Aloha
    Kealopiko, Inc. For NHLC and all the hard work you guys do. We are so happy you agreed to do the Makamaka collaboration with us. Best in all future endeavors. Aloha, Ane, Hina & Jamie
    Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai In Honor of Meleana and Kaleookalani Kamai
    Marilyn Leimomi Khan In Honor of Kawena Beaupré for her commitment to NHLC and In Honor of Moses Haia and NHLC Staff
    E. Leina`ala Kihoi Great Newsletter! Mahalo Moses for all your hard work!
    Linda Krieger  
    Benjamin A. Kudo  
    Winona E. Kukona  
    Diane Lahodny  
    David & Grace Lee  
    Ian Lind & Meda Chesney-Lind In Memory of Our Friend, Ruth Lucas
    Gina Lobaco For Clarence Ku Ching and Mary Maxine Kahaulelio to attend the Oral Argument in the Pohakuloa Appeal
    Thomas Luebben  
    Melody K. MacKenzie In Honor and Memory of Gil Johnston
    Watters Martin  
    Marty Martins Kū Kia`i Mauna
    Lynne Matusow  
    Robert Merce  
    Andy & Lee Miller In Honor of Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation for their good work and dedication
    Tamara Moan  
    Roxanne Moger  
    Randall I. Morikawa, Esq.  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Matthew Murasko  
    Makalika Naholowa`a  
    Gary T. Nakano  
    Georgina Navarro  
    Ashley Obrey  
    Sheila Okin In Honor of the Mauna Kea defense and/or action
    Mose Orion Oppenheimer  
    Carleen Ornellas  
    Helena Orris  
    Lynette K. Paglinawan  
    Kate Paine  
    Charles Palakiko  
    Benton Pang In Honor of Civil No. 19-1-1134-07
    Ryan Partelow  
    Giulia Pasciuto  
    Edward Pasqualin  
    Beverly Pau`ole Moore In Honor of Annette Pauole-Ahakuelo
    Monica Pfäffli  
    Leigh Ann Phillips  
    Eleu Puhipau  
    Laurie Radovsky  
    Mary Rajkowski  
    Nathaniel Rateliff, The Marigold Project  
    Dawn Reed  
    Kaaukai Rowland  
    Catherine Seemann  
    Jun Shin For all your work on protecting our native streams in the courts and the legislature
    Hilary Sholin  
    Laura Smith  
    Paul Solomon  
    Arthur Spencer In Memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer
    Hardy Spoehr In Honor of Sonny Kinney
    Becky Stewart  
    Raynette "Sugi" Suganuma-Carlson Dedicated to Ku`ualoha, Kekoa, Kainoa and Ka`iulani Carlson (my children) who are the future of our Lahui 
    David Sutton  
    Juana A. Tabali-Weir  
    Hella Theil  
    The Tzo`-Nah Fund  
    Maria Vineyard  
    Kirstin Wagner  
    Diane Ware  
    Alvin Westcott  
    Matthew Weyer  
    Angela Whitlatch  
    Linda E. Wong  
    James H. Wright  
    Dale Yashiki In Honor of Moses Haia's recognition as Outstanding Alumnus of the WSRSL
    Calvin Young  
    Christie Young Protect traditional cultural practices. Mahalo for your kokua
  • Alan T. Murakami

    Alan Murakami began his service here as a staff attorney in 1983.  He has served as litigation director in 1990, Community Engagement Officer in 2014, and presently as a staff attorney. As a staff attorney, Alan has specialized in litigating novel land and water issues affecting Native Hawaiians. In the process, Alan has created important legal precedents enabling Native Hawaiians to enforce their rights under the ceded and Hawaiian homelands trusts long established by Congress for their benefit, but often overlooked by current administrators. He has defended Hawaiian rights to water and other resources important to Hawaiian cultural preservation. He has worked on important precedents to protect the burial remains which have been threatened by development and other disturbances.  He has worked with Hawaiian families to defend their interests in family lands, establishing important due process rights.

    Alan has a long and distinguished legal career serving Native Hawaiian communities. Before joining NHLC, he was the managing director of the Moloka`i and Wai`anae offices of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i from 1981 to 1983, giving voice to Native Hawaiian in community struggles related to protection of important resources and cultural preservation.

    Case Highlights


    Hustace v. Kapuni

    Represented Native Hawaiian family in precedential case, articulating the due process requirements that must be met in quiet title lawsuits aimed at securing ownership of Native Hawaiian-owned land through adverse possession.

    Napeahi v. Paty

    Argued successfully for precedent that submerged lands are part of the public ceded lands trust and thereby subject to the land claims of Native Hawaiians.

    Paʻa Pono Miloli‘i v. Land Use Commission

    Alan represented fishermen in Miloli‘i, the last traditional fishing village in the state. Their fishing grounds were threatened by a massive development in Ka‘u, initially approved by the State Land Use Commission. Alan successfully appealed that decision, which was reversed for failure to adequately consider and account for the impacts of the planned marina on these fishing grounds.

    Protect Keopuka ʻOhana v. 1250 Oceanside Partners

    Represented a community organization opposed to the largest residential development every proposed in Hawai‘i on 750 acres in Kona that resulted in massive pollution to coastal waters, misidentification and desecration of scores of ancient Hawaiian burial sites, the misappropriation of an ancient Hawaiian trail and the improper use of agricultural lands for resort residential use.  The litigation successfully stopped construction.


    • Contributor, Native Hawaiian Rights Treatise

    Awards and Recognition

    • Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, “I Ulu I Ke Kumu” Award  (2011)
    • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPBA”) Trailblazer Award  (2007)
    • In 1999, the state wide organization of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs honored Mr. Murakami for his legal advocacy to Native Hawaiians, especially beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai`i Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights
    • Japanese American Citizens League
    • National board member for the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and the Community Based Economic Development


    • University of California at Davis (J.D. 1978)
    • University of Hawai`i (M.A., Economics, 1975)
    • University of Santa Clara (B.A., Economics, 1971)
  • 2017 - Melody K. MacKenzie

    NHLC presented its 2017 Native Hawaiian Advocate Award to Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie.

    Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie is currently Acting Dean and a Professor of Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. She is the founding Director of Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at Richardson and graduated in the inaugural class of the Law School. She served as a law clerk to Chief Justice William S. Richardson of the Hawai‘i Supreme Court before joining the staff of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation in 1981. At NHLC, she served as the Executive Director and as a Senior Staff Attorney, and was chief editor of the Native Hawaiian Rights Handbook published in 1991. She has worked on cases asserting Hawaiian traditional and customary rights, dealing with quiet title and land issues, and defending the constitutionality of Native Hawaiian programs. At the Law School, she teaches Native Hawaiian Rights and Federal Indian Law, as well as courses in the School’s legal writing program. In 2013, Prof. MacKenzie was awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching. She has published widely on various aspects of Native Hawaiian law. Most recently, Prof. MacKenzie, with her colleagues, wrote and edited Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise, updating and expanding on the 1991 Handbook. The Treatise is widely recognized as the definitive resource on Native Hawaiian legal issues.

  • 2018 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:

    John K. S. Aeto  
    William & Melva Aila "Imua" Moses!
    Wayne K. Akana  
    Carlos Andrade  
    Jodene Arakaki  
    Becky Ashizawa  
    Robert Barnett  
    Maile & John Bay  
    Keola & Moana Beamer Mahalo for your work!
    Kawena Suganuma Beaupré  
    John Bolden In Memory of Attorney Robert (Gil) Johnston - To Dr. Robert Ben Johnston & Family, Dear Ben, Leisa, MacCregor and Finley I am sorry for your lost. Laura and I will keep you in our prayers during this difficult time, John & Laura
    Germaine Bush In Honor of Sharla A. Manley, Esq.
    Roy Catalani  
    Bonita Y. M. Chang  
    Johanna Chock  
    Bradley Chong  
    Lowell and Catherine Chun-Hoon On Behalf of and In the Names of our grand-nephew Quin Rogers and grand-nieces Margaux & Chelsea Rogers, as our Thanksgiving gift to them. It is our wish that this donation will help in some small way to introduce them to the important work NHLC does on behalf of native Hawaiians.
    Linda Colburn  
    Sharon Coleman In Memory of Prof. Gil Johnston - Iain - I am certain that you embody the intelligence and integrity of your father. I know that he must have had great pride in your career and in you. As we all are learning, losing a parent is so difficult but part of the circle. At least we were able to have them for a long time. Wishing you peace, Sharon and Wheeler Coleman.
    Brian Cummings  
    Jacinth & Yvonne DeLuz  
    Linda L. Derendinger In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston
    Gary Dilfer In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston
    Mark Doherty In Memory of Robert "Gil" Johnston
    Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation  
    Steven & Mary Fannin In Memory of Gil Johnston
    Dawn Farm-Ramsey  
    William J. Fernandez  
    Donald E. Fisher  
    William Keoni Fox In Memory of Alfred Kalama Kahakua
    Gaynell M. Fuchs  
    Byron Fujieda  
    Christian Gainsley  
    Rosemary Galli In Memory of Robert "Gil" Johnston - One of your founders I believe. A great champion of indigenous land rights. Long may he be remembered. A wonderful important cause! Long may you continue to fight for your rights.......
    Rosanne "Rosie" K. Goo  
    Arthur K. Goto  
    Paula Guanzon  
    Lynn & Moses K. N. Haia, III  
    Thomas K. Haia In Memory of Moses K. N. Haia, Jr. and Gertrude Thomas Haia
    David F. Hamilton and Inge M. Van Der Cruysse In Memory of Gil Johnston - To the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation - Enclosed is a gift in memory of Gil Johnston, who was the father of our friend, Iain Johnston.
    Dora & Jim Hamilton In Memory of Michael Mason
    Elizabeth K. Han  
    Judge Walter M. Heen  
    Alexis Ho  
    Karen M. Holt  
    Lea O. S. Hong  
    Jean A. Iida  
    Clayton Ikei In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston - To Jane Johnston, In Honor of Gil's commitment to Native Hawaiians
    Iain Johnston In Memory and Honor of Gil Johnston
    Jane Johnston In Memory of Gil Johnston
    Robert Benjamin Johnston In Memory and Honor of Gil Johnston
    Nancy Jones  
    Albert Kalin  
    Tomie Kaniho  
    D. Pi`ilani Kaopuiki  
    Sabra Kauka  
    Robin & Sally Kaye  
    Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai In Honor of Meleana and Kaleookalani Kamai
    Christopher G. Kelly In Honor of Summer Sylva, Esq.
    Marilyn Leimomi Khan  
    William Kilpatrick In Memory of Robert "Gil" Johnston on behalf of Christie Clinic Convenient Care, Champaign IL 61822 - Dr. Johnston, at your request, we have submitted a donation memorial in your father's name to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation
    Colin Kippen  
    Lono A. Kollars  
    Gladys M. Kotaki  
    Linda Krieger  
    Winona E. Kukona  
    Guye & Annette Lee  
    Keith Lee  
    Ian Lind In Honor of Robert Gilbert Johnston
    Gina Lobaco  
    David M. Louie  
    Cheryl Lupenui  
    Melody MacKenzie  
    Sharla A. Manley  
    Diane M. Mark  
    Martha E. Martin  
    Lynne Matusow  
    Heidi A. Meeker  
    Marian M. Merce  
    Robert K. Merce  
    Maile Meyer & Mike Broderick  
    Lee A. Miller  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Makalika Naholowaa  
    Wilfred & Clara Nahooikaika Mahalo NHLC for all you do. God Bless & Happy New Year! Nahooikaika `Ohana
    Gary T. Nakano  
    Ashley Obrey  
    Ruth K. Otake  
    Charles Palakiko  
    Mary & Dean Pigao & `Ohana - kids: Ashton, Tasha, Whitney and Drewann In Memory of Gil Johnston
    Stephen Pirages In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston - To Honorable Iain D. Johnston, With deepest sympathies from the Court Security Officers of the U. S. Courthouse in Rockford, IL
    Patrick C. Racey & Sheila M. Murphy In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston
    Stacy Rezentes  
    Sally G. Roth In Memory of Robert G. Johnston - To Mrs. Robert G. Johnston, Our deepest sympathy on the loss of your dear husband. Sally and Don Roth
    Shirley Schuetz In Memory of Robert G. Johnston
    Michael P. Seng In Honor of Gil Johnston
    Kitty M. Simonds  
    Rita Simpson In Memory of R. Gilbert Johnston - Fondly remembering Gil for his friendship, his wit and his wisdom
    Frank & Laura Smith  
    Aviam Soifer In Honor of Melody MacKenzie - Mahalo nui loa, for many, many things--not least your wisdom, diplomatic skills, and leadership!
    Roland J. Souza  
    Arthur Spencer In Memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer
    John Squires  
    Marilyn Thomas In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston - He often spoke of his time in Hawai`i and the cases he handled. I'm happy to make this donation in his name.
    Laura L. Thompson  
    Sarah Thompson  
    Teresa Tico  
    Ted Tourlentes In Honor of Gil Johnston
    Patrick Uchigakiuchi  
    Kevin Vedrine In Memory of Robert Gilbert Johnston
    Edward and Mahealani Wendt  
    Alvin Westcott  
    Ian K. P. Yee  
  • Kawena Suganuma Beaupré

    Senior Director of Gifts & Compliance / Associate General Counsel

    Hawai‘i Community Foundation


    As a Native Hawaiian female attorney, I am honored to be a part of an organization that has a rich history of providing legal assistance to our lāhui and shaping the jurisprudence of our Hawaii. I strongly believe in NHLC’s existence as a public interest law firm and the work it has done to protect and preserve the rights of Native Hawaiians while honoring our culture, advancing our traditional ways of life, and improving our quality of life.

  • 2016 - Puanani Burgess

    NHLC presented its 2016 Native Hawaiian Advocate Award to Puanani Burgess.

    Puanani Burgess fondly known as "Aunty Pua" is a community building facilitator, trainer, and consultant in Hawaiʻi, the U.S., and the Pacific. She is also a poet, cultural translator, and has been a lecturer with the Urban Studies and Regional Planning Department at the University of Hawai'i, Manoa. She was a Weinberg Fellow and the Myles and Zilphia Horton Chairholder for the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee. She is noted for her experience in community, family, and values-based economic development, mediation and storytelling processes as part of conflict transformation, and in developing community-based organizations.

    Aunty Pua is a noted cultural expert and was recently awarded a Meritorious Doctor of Letters (D.Litt., Indigenous Knowledge Holder) for her lifetime contributions to Indigenous education by the World Indigenous Nations University. Aunty Pua is also recognized as a Living Treasure of Hawaii and as a Community Scholar working with the Department of Urban and Regional Planning. Aunty Pua serves as a mentor to her generation and to subsequent generations passing on living Hawaiian wisdom, knowledge, practices and worldview. Aunty Pua’s work as a member of the Hui is having and will have an international impact as she shapes our thinking about how indigenous work in education, social services, and community development is evaluated and assessed. She is revolutionizing our thinking back to Hawaiian ways.

  • 2017 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:

    Rozelle Agag  
    Millie R. Ahloy  
    William & Melva Aila  
    Keola Akana  
    W. Keola Akana Aloha, mahalo for all you do
    Zeoma T. T. Akau  
    Andrew Almquist In Honor of Peter Murakami ~ Happy Birthday, Peter! A donation has been made in your honor to the NHLC! Andy & Ingrid
    Yuklin Aluli  
    Carlos Andrade Moses, for the good work that you folks do. E mau
    Anonymous Donating because of the folks with land on Kauai, but gift is flexible. Mahalo nui loa for your work
    Anonymous through TRUiST  
    Na`alehu Anthony, Paliku Documentary Films  
    Denise Antolini Mahalo nui!
    Haunani Apoliona  
    Becky Ashizawa  
    Leonora & Charles Barclay  
    Robert Barnett  
    Maile & John Bay  
    Melissa & Mark Beavers  
    Catherine Black  
    Helen Blaisdell-Brennan

    In Memory of Richard Kekuni Blaisdell / In Honor of Kekuni Blaisdell; Mahalo from William Blaisdell Brennan

    Ted Kawahinehelelani Blake  
    Colin Brede  
    Sherry P. Broder  
    H. David Burge, Jr.  
    Puaena F. Burgess Mahalo. Pua B
    George & Jayne Burns  
    The Cades Foundation  
    Steven & Carol-Louise Carper  
    Roy Catalani  
    Central Pacific Bank  
    Cecelia C. Y. Chang  
    Matthew Chapman  
    Johanna Chock-Tam  
    Bradley Chong  
    Paula Chong  
    Choo, Osada & Lee, CPAs, Inc.  
    `Ihilani Chu In Loving Memory of Norman Kamuela Chu & Kimiko Chu
    Catherine & Lowell Chun-Hoon  
    Raeanne Cobb-Adams  
    Kevin N. Cockett  
    Daniel Colome Ua Mau ke Ea o ka Aina I ka Pono
    Irene M. Cordeiro-Vierra  
    Robert M. Crozier  
    Brian Cummings  
    Yvonne and Jacinth De Luz, Jr.  
    Dolores Furtado Martin Foundation  
    William Domingo  
    John Echohawk  
    Ernestine Enomoto  
    Martha Evans In Memory of Andrew Edward Evans
    Priscilla J. Falk  
    Dawn AL Farm-Ramsey  
    William J. Fernandez  
    Donald Fisher  
    Leimomi & Scott Fisher Love you guys!
    Joseph P. Florendo, Jr.  
    William Keoni Fox In Memory of Alfred Kalama Kahakua
    Gaynell M. Fuchs  
    Stephen Gomes In Memory of Julia Malia Gomes
    Alexandra Gomez  
    Arthur K. Goto  
    Paula Guanzon  
    James & Sherie Gusukuma  
    Heidi Guth  
    Moses K. N. Haia, III  
    Thomas A. Haia In Memory of Moses K. N. Haia, Jr. & Gertrude Thomas Haia
    Dora & Jim Hamilton In Memory of Michael Mason
    Elizabeth K. Han  
    Sharleen & Arthur Heanu `Ohana  
    Judge Walter M. Heen  
    Mikahala & Guy Helm Kako`o mai Maui...
    Eden Elizabeth Hifo  
    Derick Higa  
    Roy Higa  
    Robert & Pearl Hill  
    Alexis & Hiram Ho  
    Karen Holt  
    Lea Hong  
    Patricia & Michael Ikeda  
    Sunny J. Inn  
    Ironworkers Union Local 625  
    Ron Jarrett, KaiHonua  
    Lucinda "Cindi" John  
    Timothy E. Johns  
    Phil Johnson  
    R. Gil Johnston  
    Nancy Jones  
    Michael Joven  
    Isaiah "Ike" K. Kaaihue, Jr.  
    Bonita Chang & Kyle Kajihiro  
    Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club  
    David Kamai  
    Kamehameha Schools  
    Le'a Kanehe  
    Tomie Kaniho  
    D. Pi`ilani Kaopuiki  
    Eric Kapono  
    Leatrice M. Kauahi  
    Sabra Kauka To support your Kuleana Land and Quiet Title work. Mahalo piha no kou kokua! Thank you, we are so grateful for your help!
    A.E. Kaulia, PhD  
    Suzanne R. Kaulukukui  
    Robin & Sally Kaye Aloha all @ NHLC - Mahalo for all you do for Hawaii. Keep it up! Aloha
    Kapua Keliikoa-Kamai In Honor of Meleana and Kaleookalani Kamai
    Christopher Gerard Kelly  
    Mike Kennedy  
    Marilyn Leimomi Khan  
    Lei Kihoi Great Newsletter - Mahalo for all you do Moses, Aloha
    Colin C. Kippen  
    Doreen & Ronald Kodani  
    Paul Kosasa, ABC Stores  
    Benjamin A. Kudo  
    Winona E. Kukona  
    Corinna Kunipo Dedicated to the online download of the Native Hawaiian Law:  A Treatise Handbook
    Lanaians for Sensible Growth  
    Guye & Annette Lee  
    Keith A. Lee  
    Casey Leigh  
    Stephen Lewis  
    Ian Lind  
    Lita's Lei and Flower Shoppe  
    Gina Lobaco  
    David Louie  
    Howard K. K. Luke  
    Arron Luo Dedication: Solidarity
    Trustee Colette Y. Machado  
    Melody MacKenzie  
    Susan P. Malterre-Htun Mahalo for all the work that you do for our community. Mele Kalikimaka!
    Erma K. Mariano  
    Diane M. L. Mark  
    Jon Matsuoka  
    Rachal Matthies  
    Ursula Matzen  
    Lynn Matusow  
    Patricia Mau-Shimizu  
    B S McEwen  
    Pat McManaman  
    Ron McOmber  
    Heidi A. Meeker  
    Robert Merce  
    Maile Meyer & Michael Broderick Keep it going - Mahalo
    Lee Miller  
    Katrina Mora  
    Sharon & Harold Moraes  
    Albert & Julia Morita  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Clara & Wilfred Naho`oikaika  
    Gary T. Nakano  
    Julia M. Neumann  
    Sheryl L. Nicholson  
    Linda & Gordon Oamilda  
    Ashley Obrey  
    Steve & Ronette Obrey, Paulele Equipment  
    Carleen S. Ornellas  
    Lisa C. Oshiro Suganuma  
    Ruth Otake  
    Lynette K. Paglinawan  
    Charles Palakiko  
    Sharon Paulo In Memory of Jonathan Kanemehalona Kanae, Sr.
    Judith Pavey  
    Robert N. E. Piper Thank you Moses for all that you do for all of us!
    Deborah A. Pope  
    Queen's Health Systems  
    Loko`olu Quintero  
    Mary Rajkowski  
    Stanley Kiope Raymond  
    Patricia Robb  
    Ralph Rosenberg, Ralph Rosenberg Court Reporters  
    Frank Rothschild  
    Servpac, Inc.  
    Laura & Frank Smith  
    Aviam Soifer In Honor of Melody MacKenzie. With great admiration and gratitude. Avi
    Barbara Soma In Honor of Sharla Manley. For your good work with the Native Hawaiian cause. You have made me understand your belief and stand, your good work has not gone unnoticed. Maraming Slamat Po, Blessings to you!!!
    Roland J. Souza  
    Vincent C. Souza, Puppet Boy Entertainment  
    Arthur Spencer In Memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer
    Andrew Sprenger & Cindy Kagiwada  
    John Squires, WDI Companies, Inc.  
    Oswald K. Stender  
    Carole S. Suganuma  
    Raynette "Sugi" Suganuma-Carlson  
    Juana A. Tabali-Weir  
    Jan M. Tamura  
    Maiden Temple & William B. Ludwick  
    Laura Thompson  
    Sarah Thompson  
    Teresa Tico  
    Brandy Toelupe, Tilden Toelupe, LLC  
    Tzo'-Nah, The Tzo'-Nah Fund I am excited that this past year has been successful. Wishing you and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation continued success.
    Patrick Uchigakiuchi  
    Trenton Wailehua, Unlimited Tax Services   
    Edward Wendt  
    Alvin Westcott  
    Lance Wilhelm, The Wilhelm Group  
    Wayne K. Williams  
    Arline Wilson  
    Denise Wong  
    Eric Yamamoto  
    Ian K. P. Yee  
    Calvin Young  
  • Angela Correa-Pei

    Strategy Consultant

    Kamehameha Schools, Strategy & Innovation Group


    Raised in Kuli`ou`ou, O`ahu surrounded by five generations of `ohana I learned the deep importance and value of people and place. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation has long been dedicated to the protection and preservation of people and place, all that which is essential to the identity, strength and wellbeing of our Native Hawaiian people – the ‘aina, kai, wai, and ‘ike kūpuna, and our inherent right to remain connected thereto. As a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law - Environmental Law Program it is an honor and privilege to serve on the NHLC Board and to support NHLC in continuing its profound mission.

  • David Kauila Kopper

    David Kauila Kopper began serving the Native Hawaiian community as a NHLC staff attorney in 2010.   Kauila has led impact litigation intended to effect social change, including multiple lawsuits aimed to protect traditional and customary practices on Mauna Kea. He represents clients in various matters relating to Native Hawaiian rights law including historic property and burial site preservation, government leases and programs, and land title and historical native land claims. He has substantial experience before all of Hawai‘i’s courts and various administrative bodies. Kauila is also an accomplished classically-trained musician with over 20 years of professional experience.

    Representative Engagements

    • Challenged an emergency proclamation of the Governor of the State of Hawai‘i which restricted free speech and traditional practices on Mauna Kea.
    • Challenged the sublease for the Thirty Meter Telescope project.
    • Obtained a declaratory judgment invalidating state agency rules limiting public protests, free speech, and Native Hawaiian traditional cultural practices on Mauna Kea.
    • Successful on appeal declaring the public’s due process right to call witnesses and present evidence in contested agency hearings
    • Obtained injunctions preventing the desecration of iwi kupuna threatened by construction projects
    • Represented Native Hawaiian families in numerous quiet title and partition actions.
    • Successful on appeal defeating adverse possession claim based on historic title and usage
    • Obtained a declaratory judgment against the State of Hawai‘i for the failure to transfer a long-term lease for a Native Hawaiian family’s ancestral land.
    • Successfully represented cultural practitioners seeking access to landlocked native tenancies.  
    • Obtained humanitarian parole for a minor Tongan national so that he could be reunited with his adoptive mother living in Hawaiʻi.

    Representative Reported Appellate Cases

    • Clarabal v. State, SCAP-16-0000475 (2019)
    • Flores v. Bd. Of Land & Natural Res., 143 Haw. 114 (2018)
    • Hall v. Dept of Land & Natural Res., 128 Haw. 455, 290 P.3d 525 (Haw. Ct. App. 2012)
    • Lanaians for Sensible Growth v. Lanai Resorts, LLC, 137 Hawai‘i 298,(App. 2016)
    • Kaʻupulehu Land LLC v. Heirs of Pahukula, 136 Hawai‘i 123, 125, 358 P.3d 692, 694 (2015)


    University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, William S. Richardson School of Law Honolulu, Hawai`i
          Juris Doctor, magna cum laude, May 2010   
          Executive Editor for Publications, University of Hawai‘i Law Review, 2009 – 2010
    Arizona State University, Herberger College of Fine Arts Tempe, Arizona
          Bachelor of Music, Music Performance, magna cum laude, July 2006

  • 2015 - Robin Danner

    NHLC presented its 2015 Native Hawaiian Advocate Award to Robin Danner.

    Robin Danner is native Hawaiian, born on the island of Kauai and resides on Hawaiian Home Lands in Anahola. After a successful career in the business and banking sectors, she became an accomplished policy advocate in Washington DC, and public servant through her executive leadership at a tribal housing authority and the director of housing for a large municipal government.

    Robin is the founding and retired President of the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), the largest national advocate on Native Hawaiian issues, operating a Policy Center, a U.S. Treasury certified loan fund, the Hawaiian Way Fund to support the capacity of Hawaiian communities, and convenes the largest Annual Native Hawaiian Convention in Honolulu.

    She is currently a Vice President on the local self-governing homestead board in her community, the Anahola Hawaiian Homestead Association and is the Statewide Policy Chair of the Sovereign Councils of the Hawaiian Homelands Assembly (SCHHA), focused on the rights of native Hawaiians on trust lands established in 1920 by the U.S. Congress. Robin is also a Governor-appointed Commissioner serving on the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission since 2011, dedicated to the compilation of a base roll of Native Hawaiians to reorganize a Native Hawaiian Government recognized by local, state, national and international governments.

    She is an expert on federal policies and programs with a specific focus on American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian communities. Robin has dedicated her career to the cultural and economic self-determination of Native peoples and has traveled extensively throughout Native communities nationally.

  • Kevin Cockett

    Vice President of Communications and Chief Communications Officer

    Kamehameha Schools


    ​It’s clear to me that the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation as an organization has aloha for all people of Hawaii.  I also strongly believe that if our Native Hawaiian people, culture and our ʻaina are healthy, so too is the health of our broader community.  I joined the board of the NHLC so that I could be part of their movement to serve and protect Hawaiian families who need access to legal services and advocacy, particularly in areas of land, cultural vibrancy and customary practices.    It is a privilege to contribute to NHLC’s mission and work.

  • Li‘ulā Kotaki

    Li‘ulā Kotaki joined NHLC in 2011 as a staff attorney. She previously served as NHLC's Director of Development and Marketing heading our fundraising efforts.  She also served as an intake attorney, handling legal inquiries at NHLC.  Throughout law school and during her Post-JD Research Fellowship at Ka Huli Ao, Li‘ulā researched the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the empowerment of Hawaiian Home Lands community associations, and the future of these lands in a post-Akaka Bill society.  She graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law with a Pacific Asian Legal Studies Certificate with a Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law.  She previously worked for NHLC as a summer law clerk in 2007.

    Awards and Recognitions

    • CALI Award for Highest Grade, Environmental Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2007
    • CALI Award for Highest Grade, Legal Practice, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2006

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
    • Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society

    Past Positions

    • Renewable Energy Project Assistant, Hawai‘i State Energy Office (2010-2011)
    • Post-J.D. Research Fellow, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law (2009-2010)


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2009)
    • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (B.A., Ethnic Studies, 2005)
  • Past Donors

    Michelle D. Acosta In Memory of Lorraine Acosta
    John Aeto  
    Rozelle Agag  
    Millie Ahloy  
    William & Melva Aila  
    Airport Lei Sellers Association  
    Keola Akana  
    Wayne Keola Akana  
    Julian Ako  
    Malia Akutagawa  
    Liberta Albao In Honor of Alan Murakami
    Nancy Aleck In Memory of Chuck Frankel
    Linda Alicea  
    Andrew Almquist In Honor of Peter Murakami's birthday, Happy Natal Day, Peter
    Yuklin Aluli  
    Georgiana Alvaro  
    Rodney C. Amian  
    Carlos Andrade  
    Anonymous On Behalf of Kauai
    Anonymous On Behalf of Kauai
    Anonymous On Behalf of the Panaewa Community
    Anonymous Dedicated to Laulani Teale in Honor of her birthday
    Anonymous Dedicated to Nahoa Canoe Club
    Anonymous Mahalo for your important work
    Anonymous In Memory of Robert Paul Dye
    Anonymous For Sharla Manley
    Anonymous through the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative A rare endemic Hawaiian Koa Legacy Tree was sponsored and planted by this patron and a donation was given as part of the tree planting
    Anonymous through TRUiST  
    Na`alehu Anthony  
    Denise Antolini  
    Becky & Carl Ashizawa In Memory of Sue Honma, In Memory of Uncle Sonny Kaniho, Aunty Irene Torry & Uncle Jimmy Akiona
    Joanie Bagood On behalf of those who care for Mokauea Island (past & present)
    Charles & Leonora Barclay  
    Rob Barnett In Honor of Kauila Kopper, the greatest supervising attorney!
    John & Maile Bay Mahalo a nui!
    Keola & Moana Beamer Mahalo nui for your great work!
    Mark & Missy Beavers In Honor of NHLC
    Delilah Belt  
    Carl Berger & Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger  
    Mona Bernardino  
    Richard Bidgen  
    Big Island Candies, Inc.  
    Big Island Delights, Inc.  
    Anderson & Shiela Black  
    Beryl B. Blaich In Memory of Gary L. Blaich, M.D.
    Tricia Blenis  
    Body Mint  
    Adeline T. Brash In Memory of Sarah Kahikina Teixeira
    John & Gladys Brede  
    Jyo Bridgewater-Borg  
    Leimomi Brigoli  
    Sherry P. Broder  
    Michael Broderick & Maile Meyer  
    David Burge  
    Puanani Burgess On Behalf of My Family
    Edmund Burke  
    Catherine Butler  
    Fred Cachola In Honor of Kupaainalua & Halulukamanaoualanipili
    Dayne-Raynard, Kennedy & Annika Carlson  
    Carol-Louise & Steve Carper In Memory of Uncle Jimmy Akiona and Charles Aipia
    Roy Catalani  
    Central Pacific Bank  
    Chaminade University  
    Bonita Chang & Kyle Kajihiro  
    Catherine Chang In Honor of Melody MacKenzie
    Dawn Chang Ho`okano Family Land Trust
    Matthew & Nicole Chapman  
    Anna Chavez & Eugene Eidenberg In Honor of the people of Kaua'i, protecting sacred grounds of Native Hawaiian sites, culture and environmental health for all
    Lynn Ching  
    Wehilani Ching  
    Bradley Chong  
    Paula Chong In Honor and Memory of Dorothy Kamakaokalehua Passos
    Stefanie Momi Chong-Kuma  
    Choo Osada & Lee  
    `Ihilani Chu In Loving Memory of Norman Kamuela Chu and Kimiko Chu
    Catherine & Lowell Chun-Hoon Dedicated to Melody MacKenzie
    Daniel & Wendy Coats  
    Raeanne Cobb-Adams  
    Kevin Cockett  
    Doug Codiga  
    Irene Mokihana Cordeiro-Vierra Mahalo for your good works!! God Bless you all!
    David Cruz With gratitude to Sharla Manley for her work
    Lori & Russell Cruz  
    Brian Cummings  
    Gerald L. Danforth, Sr.  
    Elizabeth Daoang  
    Beadie Kanahele Dawson  
    Lynn P. DeCoite  
    Jacinth & Yvonne DeLuz  
    Michael & Nani DeMotta  
    Tara M. Deponte  
    Keala Dolor-Tripp In Memory of Martha Mileka Kahanu Iwanaga
    Dolores & Furtado Martin Foundation In Memory of Ernest "Juggie" Heen
    Duane & Beverly Donovan  
    Lincoln Drake  
    DTL, LLC  
    Jonathan Durrett  
    Thomas Dye In Memory of Robert Paul Dye, In Memory of Dr. Marc Gregory
    John Echohawk Moses ~ Thanks for all of your help!
    Keala Ede  
    Roger Ede  
    Todd Eddins  
    Ernestine Enomoto  
    Martha & Andrew Evans  
    Priscilla J. Falk  
    Dawn Farm-Ramsey In Honor of My Mother
    William Fernandez  
    Finance Factors Foundation  
    Alice D. Fisher  
    Lyn Flanigan  
    Pearl Ling & Jeff Fleener  
    Joe Florendo, Jr.  
    Larry Foster  
    William Keoni Fox Mahalo to Kimo Frankel on Behalf of the Keanu 'Ohana
    David Kimo Frankel  
    Friends of Maile Shimabukuro  
    Gaynell Fuchs  
    Jean Fukuji  
    Ede A. K. Fukumoto  
    Joseph & Shellene Gilman  
    Butch Gima On Behalf of Lanaians for Sensible Growth
    Daniel Gluck  
    Maggie, Ikaika & Bishop Gomes In Memory of Julia Malia Gomes
    Stephen, Maylyn & Makana Gomes In Memory of Julia Malia Gomes and her Hawaiian Heart
    Teresa M. Gomes In Memory of Julia Gomes
    Dixie Ann Goo  
    Arthur Goto & Bow Chu  
    Sunny Greer In Memory of Papa Henry Allen Auwae
    Ariela Gross In Honor of Sharla Manley
    Paula Guanzon  
    Sherie & James Gusukuma  
    Heidi Guth Mahalo nui for ALL of our amazing work!
    Barbara Haia  
    Courtney Lee Haia  
    Moses & Lynn Haia  
    Thomas Haia & Family In Memory of Moses K. N. Haia, Jr and Gertrude T. Haia
    Dana Naone Hall  
    James & Dora Hamilton In loving Memory of Mike Mason
    Elizabeth Han  
    Amy Hanaiali`i  
    Dona Hanaike  
    Carlton Handley  
    Carolyn Pi`ilani Hanohano  
    Maggie Hanohano  
    William Harrison, Esq.  
    Brook Hart  
    Hawaii Community Stewardship Network  
    Hawaiian Electric Company  
    Hawaiian Organics  
    Sharleen K. Heanu and `Ohana  
    Nancy Hedlund In Memory of Aunty Beatrice Kekahuna
    Judge Walter Heen  
    Mikahala Helm  
    Raiatea Helm  
    Hempey & Meyers, LLP  
    David Henkin In Honor of Kimo Frankel's 50th Birthday
    Eden Elizabeth Hifo  
    Robert E. & Pearl Y. Moenahele-Hill  
    Alexis & Hiram Ho  
    Karen Holt  
    Lea Hong  
    William Hoshijo  
    Charlene Huffman  
    Bertha Huihui  
    Anni Huynh  
    Geoffrey & Flora Lehua Ii-Michaelson  
    Geoffrey & Flora Lehua Ii-Michaelson Fund of the Hawaii Community Foundation  
    Patricia & Michael Ikeda  
    Mitchell Imanaka  
    Sharon Inada  
    Louise Ing  
    Sunny J. Inn  
    Cindi John  
    Timothy Johns  
    Phil Johnson  
    Robert Gilbert "Gil" Johnston  
    Tania Joao  
    Jonathan Starr Foundation  
    Alohalani L. Jones  
    Nancy Walsh Jones In Honor of all the Hawaiian Homes Benificiaries who continue to wait for lots
    Thelma Ka'ahui In Memory of Abraham Ka`ahui
    Charles M. Ka'ai'ai  
    Malia Ka`aihue, Na Kama Kai  
    Kainani Kahaunaele, Mahuahua Music, LLC  
    Nalani & James Kaina  
    Eunice Ishiki-Kalahele  
    Camille Kalama  
    Walea Kalama  
    Paulette Ka`anohiokalani Kaleikini  
    David I. Kamai  
    Winona Kamai In Memory of Moses Haia, Jr. and Gertrude Haia
    Lori Kanaeholo  
    Walter Kaneakua  
    Le`a Malia Kanehe  
    Tomie Kaniho In Memory of Sonny A. Kaniho
    D. Pi`ilani Kaopuiki  
    Eric Kapono  
    RaeDeen Karasuda  
    Sabra L. Kauka In Memory of Kai`opua Fyfe, In Honor of Alan Murakami
    Guy Kaulukukui  
    Kaumana Hawaiian Homes Community Association  
    Arnold & Sandra Kawano  
    Jamae Kawauchi  
    Robin & Sally Kaye  
    Keaukaha Community Association  
    Keaukaha Pana`ewa Farms  
    Keawe Adventures  
    Christopher Kelly In Honor of your lawyer Summer Sylva, with whom I had the pleasure of working at Holland & Knight
    Marilyn Leimomi Khan  
    E. Leina`ala Kihoi  
    Robert Klein On Behalf of Klein Ohana
    Gladys Kotaki  
    Ward & Karen Kotaki  
    Kris & Lisa Kristofferson  
    Helene Kuaana  
    Marty Kuala  
    Winona Kukona  
    Kukulu Pono  
    Adele & Wayde Lee  
    Carol Mon Lee  
    Guye Lee  
    Keith & Brenda Lee  
    Terence Lee  
    Robert LeClair  
    Ian Lind  
    Michael Livingston  
    Gina L. Lobaco In Honor of Bob Merce & Teri Tico, In Honor of Becky Ashizawa
    Sarah Love  
    Rhona-Joy Lubomirski  
    Paula F. N. Lucas  
    Howard Luke  
    Iwalani Lum  
    Harvey Lung  
    Melody MacKenzie In Honor of Alan Murakami & his 30 years of service at NHLC! To the wonderful staff of NHLC!  Mahalo for your extraordinary work on behalf of our people!
    Joseph H. Mahoe  
    Kepa & Onaona Maly  
    Susan Malterre-Htun  
    Sharla Manley  
    Marvin Manuel  
    Diane Mark  
    Ernest Martin, Kukulu Pono, LLC  
    Martha Martin  
    Louise Mata  
    Edwin & Lucy Matsuda In Honor of Grantors of Kahanu Garden
    Lynne Matusow  
    Patricia Mau-Shimizu  
    BS McEwen  
    Kawika McKeague In Memory of Kaho`onei Panoke
    Pat McManaman  
    Ron McOmber In Memory of Phyllis McOmber
    Heidi Anna Meeker  
    Robert "Bob" & Marian Merce  
    Maile Meyer In Honor of Noa Webster Aluli and his children and grandchildren
    Meleanna Meyer  
    Jamee Miller  
    Lee Miller  
    Bernadette “Gigi” Miranda Dedicated to Laulani Teale.  In Honor of her birthday
    Charles and Martha Mizner  
    Steve Moore  
    Leimomi Morgan  
    Albert Morita  
    Mountain Apple Company  
    Laura & Jerry Mueller  
    John & Christine Mumford, Mumford `Ohana & Mumford Lana`i, LLC  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Carol Muranaka and Henry O'Neill  
    Devon Myers On Behalf of Devon Myers & Stephen Liu
    Stephanie Nagata  
    Alapaki Nahale-a  
    Wilfred N. Naho`oikaika  
    Li`ula Nakama  
    Beverly Nakamoto  
    Gary T. Nakano  
    Anita Naone  
    Richard "Dickie" Nelson, III  
    Julia & Jerry Neumann  
    Robert Nip  
    Keola Nunies  
    Linda & Gordon Oamilda  
    Ashley K. Obrey  
    Stephen Obrey  
    Everett Ohta  
    Anthony Ornellas  
    Carleen Ornellas For my grandchildren who have to live on the continent for now
    Kale Ornellas  
    Kanoe Ornellas  
    Kino & Tara Ornellas  
    Leighton Oshima  
    Leighton K. Osorio  
    Mary C. Osorio  
    Lynette K. Paglinawan In Memory of Richard Paglinawan
    Charles Palakiko  
    Pana`ewa Community Alliance  
    Denis Paquette  
    Paulele Equipment, LLC  
    Sharon Paulo  
    Judy Pavey  
    Richard Pechner  
    Wallette G. Pellegrino  
    Kelli Perreira  
    Robert & Delilah Perreira  
    William S.K.A Perreira  
    Jodi Pestello On Behalf of Trenton Wailehua
    Tom Pierce, Attorney At Law, LLLC  
    Pi`ihonua Hawaiian Homestead  
    Anthony F. Quan, Jr.  
    Queen's Health Systems  
    Marcy M. R. Rajkowski  
    Stanley Ki`ope Raymond  
    Fairfax Reilly  
    Ruel Reyes  
    Glenn Reys  
    Patricia Robb  
    Sherryl Royce  
    Adrian Rosehill In Honor of Ambrose J. Rosehill
    John Robert Sabas  
    Scott Sager In Honor of David Kimo Frankel and all the important work all the attorneys at NHLC do every day
    Laura M. Sanders Donated By: Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association
    Kelea Sandfort  
    Dana & Kurt Sato  
    Laura Sato  
    Norman Sato In support of and appreciation to Summer Sylva, I am glad you are keeping with your vision that you had in college and enjoy the fulfillment of your endeavors. Keep up the good work.
    Brian R. Smith  
    Laura and Frank Smith  
    Kevin Smith  
    Scott & Kristen Smutz  
    Aviam Soifer In Honor of Melody MacKenzie, much honor and a entirely fitting mahalo nui loa! Avi   


    In Honor of Melody MacKenzie ~ "Keep on keeping on!" 


    Solutions Pacific  
    Raynard & Cheryl Soon  
    Judge Melvin K. Soong  
    Makani Speier-Brito  
    Arthur Spencer In Memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer
    Hardy Spoehr  
    Andrew Sprenger & Cindy Kagiwada  
    John Squires  
    Oswald Stender  
    Carole S. Suganuma  
    Melvin & Shirley Suganuma  
    Raynette Suganuma-Carlson In Memory of Raymond and Maria K . Suganuma, In Honor of Moses K. N. Haia, Alan T. Murakami, Becky Ashizawa, and all NHLC Staff
    Cynthia Surrisi  
    Juana A. Tabali-Weir  
    June Taima  
    Miwa Tamanaha  
    Donna Tanoue  
    Laulani Teale  
    Janet Templo  
    Diane Texidor  
    Onaona Thoene  
    Debbie & Bill Thomas In Honor of our Hawaiian Family, Edward Halealoha Ayau, Kunani and Ipo Nihipali
    Sarah Thompson  
    Teresa Tico  
    John Turrettini  
    Patrick Uchigakiuchi  
    Harold Barry Vasios IN Honor of Summer Sylva
    Louis H. Ventura  
    Reno Villaren  
    Barbara & Charles Von Arnswaldt  
    Sheryl Vuillemot  
    Richard Y. Wada  
    Trenton Wailehua  
    Lillian U. Wakinekona  
    Lattisha Wallace  
    Clifford Wassman  
    The Way Trust  
    Jan M. Weinberg  
    Edward & Mahealani Wendt  
    Alvin Westcott  
    Evern Williams On Behalf of Haumea
    Wayne K. Williams  
    Brenda Jo Wong  
    Colleen I. Wong  
    Laureen Wong  
    Michael J. Y. Wong, Esq.  
    Napali Woode  
    Nicole K. Wright  
    WSDC Foundation  
    Eric K. Yamamoto  
    Dale Yashiki  
    Ian Yee  
    Debbie Yoshizumi  
    Calvin Young  
    Rowena Young  
    Bryant Zane  
    Hoyt Zia & Leigh Ann Miyasato  
  • 2014 - Judge Walter Heen

    Moses Haia, Judge Heen, and his grandson ChristianNHLC awarded Judge Walter Meheula Heen its 2014 Native Hawaiian Advocate Awardee for his 50 plus years of public service to the people of Hawaiʻi in a variety of roles including a distinguished judicial career. 

    As a Judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals, Judge Heen authored a number of important decisions dealing with Native Hawaiian rights.  In 1986, he issued the decision in the land title case known as Hustace v. Kapuni that ensures that Native Hawaiians receive notice of lawsuits that may affect their ownership interest in ancestral lands. When this case began, notice was provided primarily by way of a newspaper ad and those who failed to respond to the newspaper ad were defaulted.  In his decision, Judge Heen noted that, “[t]he consequences of quiet title actions are so severe that to have one's interest in land summarily taken away without an opportunity to respond is in violation of due process requirements and our sense of fairness and justice.” Now, and as a result of this decision, whenever a quiet title action is filed, the plaintiff must engage in an extensive search for people who might have a claim to the property and can no longer rely solely on notice of the lawsuit via newspaper publication without first reviewing various publicly available records.

    In the initial appeal of the case commonly referred to as PASH, Native Hawaiians who gathered shrimp from several ponds contained within the footprint of a major resort development planned for the Kona Coast requested a contested case to challenge the permit for the project claiming that their gathering practices were threatened by the project. This request was denied by the county.  In his ruling, Judge Heen confirmed that these individuals were entitled to a contested case and that the Hawaii Planning Commission had “disregarded the rules regarding the gathering rights of native Hawaiians and its obligation to protect and preserve those rights.” The Hawaii Supreme Court affirmed this ruling.  

    Mahalo nui Judge Heen, for your unyielding dedication to the betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians.

  • Sunshine Topping

    I joined the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation board because I am passionate about everything that makes Hawaiʻi the incredible place that it is.  Whether it is for our rich cultural traditions and heritage, our dramatic beauty, or our people, there is no question about our relevance and our significance in today’s world.  My perspectives are from many angles, I am raised in Keaukaha and taught by greats like Auntie Edith Kanakaole.  I am college educated on the mainland where I learned about other people, cultures, and places.  I have spent most of my adulthood working in a human resources capacity, and dedicating myself and my efforts to seeing that there are opportunities to grow our people’s capacity and to be able to help manage and guide business decisions that are rooted in who we are and how we do things.  I believe that serving on the board would be an honor for me, and a way to help preserve the core of this place that is so much a part of me.

  • 2013 - Mac Poepoe

    NHLC is pleased to award its 2013 Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award to Mac Poepoe. Uncle Mac noted the slow decline of fish and shoreline species, and in the early nineties, consulted with other Molokaʻi fishermen to bring about a change.  That decision led to the creation of the Hui Malama o Moʻomomi, a grassroots organization dedicated to conserving and maintaining resources, and returning to the traditional Hawaiian best practices of resource management.  He has revitalized the Northwest coastline of Molokaʻi from ‘Ilio Point to Nihoa, and trained many people from young to old about the importance of konohiki thinking.  It has been a challenge to redirect attitudes from the Western view of “individual rights” to the Hawaiian view of “for the next generations”, but his determination to continue the effort of malama ‘aina has resulted in an awareness, not only in his own community on Molokaʻi, but many communities throughout the state and internationally, about the importance of Hawaiian-style stewardship and community self-management.

  • 2012 - Ed Wendt

    Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation awarded Ed Wendt its 2012 Native Hawaiian Community Advocate of the Year Award for his tireless struggle on behalf of himself and Wailuanui/Ke`anae kalo farmers, gatherers, and fishers seeking to enforce their constitutional rights to pursue their Hawaiian traditions and customs dependent on free-flowing streams. This award recognizes Ed's decades-long struggle against the 4th largest landowner in Hawai`i, Alexander and Baldwin (A&B), which is the largest private diverter of water in the United States. With permission of the State of Hawai`i, A&B, through its subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Company, has diverted over 100 East Maui streams collected on 33,000 acres of conservation lands. A&B uses this water to irrigate 27,000 acres of sugar cane fields managed by another A&B subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar plantation, the last of dozens of plantations that once operated in Hawai`i. Ed is President of Na Moku Aupuni O Ko`olau Hui, the community organization he helped found in the 1990's to oppose the continuing diversions of water that was sapping the culture and spirit of his community.


  • Mark Kawika Patterson


    ​Kawailoa Youth and Family Wellness Center


    When I was a young boy, my father charged me to watch my grandmother as she foraged from the reefs fronting our home in Makaha. Wana, Haukeuke, Pipipi, Aama, Waiwaiole and Limu Kohu to name a few of the items my grandmother gathered for the family and her friends. For the most part she never paid attention to the ocean, that was my purpose. Once a rogue surge came upon the reef and knocked my grandmother down I lost sight of her under the white foam of the wave, I dove to the last spot I saw her. I found a leg and held it with one arm while the other was used to hold onto the reef. When the surge receded my grandmother was on her back laughing with haukeuke in each hand. She stood and made her way closer to the dead coral that made up the upper reef. She swung one hand and slammed the haukeuke against the coral and broke it in half. She held half the broken shell to her mouth and began sucking. When she was finished she offered the other half to me, I remember seeing the orange innards in the half shell, she laughed as she saw my face grimace as I backed away from her. She immediately sucked the second half, smiled and said "this is old school McDonalds" and started laughing again. The opportunity to join the NHLC reminded me of this story about my grandmother. For many Hawaiians, hardships come as we attempt to maintain our traditional ways of life, we search and gather what we can to sustain ourselves from our ancestral foundation but we are constantly being knocked down by external surges that we do not control. NHLC is an organization that is prepared to reach out through the mist to take hold when all seems hopeless to allow our people to continue to feed on who we are, to pick up our fallen and set them on their feet again so that we can become all that we can. I am honored to be a part of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.

  • Malia Ka`aihue, Ph.D.

    Partner and President

    DTL, a Hawaiian Strategy Studio


    It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. I have long admired the tremendous work of the organization who in my opinion works every day to carry out the state’s motto, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono, in a manner consistent with Kauikeauoli.

    Waiōhinu and Kaʻimukī are my kulaiwi. I’m raising my seven children, along with my husband, Duane DeSoto in Kaʻimukī. I’m a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi [UH] where I earned a BA in both Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language and an MA in Political Science and completed a Ph.D. in Political Science specializing in Indigenous Politics.

    I’m the managing partner and president of DTL, a Hawaiian strategy studio, in Kakaʻako. And through my work continuously challenge the status quo by utilizing Hawaiian history, politics and language combined with experience in government, community and business to provide critical thought around deploying cultural and community assets to solve modern day challenges.

    I’m committed to utilizing these skills to support NHLC’s mission to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

  • 2011 - Dana Naone Hall

    NHLC is especially pleased and honored to present the 2011 Community Advocate Of The Year, Dana Naone Hall.

    Dana is one of the founding members of Hui Ala Nui O Makena, an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of historical, cultural and native Hawaiian rights.  Her more than thirty years of advocacy has produced impressive results that we all have benefitted from. She successfully fought the closure of that part of the alanui fronting Seibu’s Maui Prince Hotel and, in the process, protected the area’s rich coastal resources. She was also instrumental in efforts to relocate the Ritz Carlton Hotel away from the shoreline dunes at Honokahua.  Her work in that case led to significant protections for iwi kupuna.  She also successfully opposed a private golf course development slated for the Waihe’e shoreline, an area rich with archeological and cultural sites.  Because of her dedication, that important cultural landscape will be preserved in perpetuity.  Dana has also served with distinction as a member of the Maui-Lanai-Molokai Islands Burial Council.  As a member, vice-chair, and chair, she established an impressive record of resolving very contentious matters involving development projects and native Hawaiian burials.

    Dana has no need for official recognition of her more than three decades of tireless and very effective advocacy on behalf of Native Hawaiians.  Dana continues to step up because of her sense of justice and unflinching courage under fire.  She is an inspiration to us, she holds a very special place in Hawai‘i’s history, and our recognition and acknowledgement of that is long overdue.

  • 2010 - Beatrice Kekahuna & Marjorie Wallett

    In 2010, NHLC presented its Community Advocate of the Year Award to two cousins from Honopou, island of Maui, Hawai`i - Beatrice Kekahuna and Marjorie Wallett (posthumous). Honopou is one of the few remaining natural areas of Hawai`i that directly supported the ancient traditions and customs of Hawaiians. Beatrice and Marjorie were the stalwarts of Hawaiian traditional and customary use of Honopou Stream. They were raised in Honopou, helping their families survive on the bounty that the stream provided in supporting taro growing, native stream life, and the fresh water interface with the ocean so vital to the gathering and fishing traditions of the coastline.

    Beatrice Pualani (Kepani) Kekahuna, also known as (Aunty) Nani, was born on June 3, 1932 to Juliana (Koko) and Lokana Kepani in Huelo, Maui, Hawaii. She was the second youngest in a family of 12 children. She had a humble upbringing on the east side of Maui. As children, she and her siblings would explore the valleys near their home, following the fresh water streams to the ocean. Taking care of taro patches was a way of life for them. In turn, the taro provided food for such a large family. These waters also fed the opa`e, hihiwai and o`opu on which she was raised. They also nurtured the fisheries on the East Maui coast which provided her ohana an important source of food. Her early life in East Maui gave her an intense appreciation for how water sustains life.  She was brought up to believe if you took care of the land, the land will take care of you.

    To this day, she is still cultivating taro as well, yet many things have changed from her childhood days.  The diversion of our natural streams by giant agribusiness interests has made it difficult to maintain the taro patches that used to flourish during her childhood. Without enough water, the taro will not grow properly. Without access to home-grown taro or the fish, o`opu, opa`e and hihiwai she once regularly gathered, she sees tradition slipping away. This is why Beatrice is also active in the pursuit of water rights for taro farmers and gathering/fishing rights for subsistence gatherers.

    No small part of NHLC’s ability to sustain its representation of East Maui residents is dependent on people like Aunty Beatrice and her recently departed cousin Marjorie Wallett. They stepped forward when they saw their streams dying from diversions meant to grow sugar. Aunty Beatrice’s warmth, patience, and persistence has been undiminished against the economic forces of the 12th largest landowner in the state and state government officials who are too often influenced by powerful political and economic forces. Her dedication to this cause has been inspiring, effective, and we express our deepest and sincere appreciation to her. Mahalo Aunty Beatrice!

    Aunty Marjorie Wallett was born on March 28, 1932 in Honokohau, Maui.  When she was about ten years old, the family moved to Honopou where they learned to work in the kalo lo’i. This area on Maui is the land base for one of the few remaining vestiges of Native Hawaiian culture and tradition. It is under assault from the economic and political forces that threaten to disrupt the practices that have sustained our way of life for centuries. When Aunty Marjorie moved back to Honopou after working on the mainland for 30 years, taro farming appeared to be dying off – the victim of diminishing water in the streams due to diversions by HC&S and A&B.

    So when the concern for protecting our water rights arose, she didn’t hesitate to defend the rights of kalo farming on Honopou Stream and the streams of East Maui. In 2001, she was one of NHLC’s clients, who stepped up to launch the first formal challenge to water permits then being regularly issued by BLNR each year, as well as to demand the restoration of stream flow by the CWRM. During all of the many hearings and meetings held since then, her quiet nature belied the gentle ferocity with which she persisted in demonstrating her resolve.

    Aunty Marjorie died on April 3, 2010 after a short illness. While she lived to see the CWRM take action to partially restore Honopou, today, her work to implement that decision—to give it meaning—continues through her daughter Lyn Scott.  Attorneys at NHLC have rededicated their efforts to making stream restoration a reality in her memory.

  • Past Native Hawaiian Advocate Awardees

    2004:  Aunty Agnes K. Cope


    2005:  Kinaʻu Boyd Kamaliʻi & Adelaide “Frenchy” DeSoto


    2006:  Pele Hanoa & Sonny Kaniho


    2007:  Eric Enos


    2008:  Puhipau & Joan Lander


    2009:  James Akiona, Sr. & Mahealani Wendt


Your donation will enable the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to provide effective, low cost legal assistance to individuals, families and communities who seek to protect their traditional cultural practices and maintain their ancestral ties to their lands and natural resources.


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