Nā Kālai Waʻa Staff


Chadd Paishon  - Senior Captain and PWO Navigator

Chadd Paishon has sailed aboard Hōkūleʻa since 1984. His voyages include, the 1985-1987 Voyage of Rediscovery, the 1992 No Nā Mamo voyage through the Pacific,  the Nā ʻOhana Holomoana voyage, and the 1999 E Mau voyage to Micronesia aboard the voyaging canoe Makaliʻi.  In 2007, on the island of Satawal, Chadd received Pwo along with four other navigators from Hawai'ï.   Chadd is a motivational speaker for many schools, communities, and conferences throughout the state.  Chadd also facilitates many of the education programs for Nā Kālai Waʻa. Together, Chadd and Keōmailani Case serve as the organizational leaders of Nā Kālai Waʻa.




Keomailani Case - Executive Director

With a strong background in administration, fiscal management, planning, and program development for educational programs, Keomailani is responsible for leading the organization in a manner that supports and guides the mission of Nā Kālai Waʻa.

Together, she and Chadd Paishon serve as the organizational leaders of Nā Kālai Waʻa.  She also serves on the Governing Board of Kanu o ka ʻĀina Public charter school.


Milton (Shorty) Bertelmann - Pwo, Master Navigator - Volunteer

Shorty is one of five Pwo in Hawaiʻi recognized by Master Navigator Mau Piailug.  As the Canoe Crew Training Director of project Hanauna Ola, Shorty teaches advanced level cultural knowledge, practices, and skills of voyaging to 30 canoe trainees to become future leaders of NKW.  He has extensive voyaging and canoe building expertise and experience that he also shares with school groups and community organizations

who visit the canoe.




Kealiʻi Maielua - Makaliʻi Captain / Vessel Manager

Kealiʻi Maielua is one of the Makaliʻi Captains with Nā Kālai Waʻa and also the vessels manager in charge of all NKW vessels.  As a boatwright, Kealiʻi has recently worked alongside Shorty Bertelmann and Chadd Paishon to lead the 2 year drydock and refurbishing of voyaging canoe Makaliʻi.  Kealiʻi is also an alakaʻi in the education programs of Nā Kālai Waʻa and a mentor for the Holokai cohort.




Leiohu Santos-Colburn  - Program Coordinator - Holokai

Leiohu Santos-Colburn has been raised around the voyaging canoe Makaliʻi. 

As a student at Pūnana Leo o Waimea, she was introduced to the waʻa and she has continued to be an important part of the NKW family.  Her interest in plants has led her to the position of Project Leader at the Hoea site in Hawi.  Leiohu leads the care of this site and the growing of canoe plants there.  She is an alakaʻi in NKW education programs

both at Hoea and aboard Makaliʻi.


Auliʻi Case - Admin Assistant / Media Specialist

Auliʻi Case was introduced to the voyaging canoe Makaliʻi during itʻs creation in the quonset hut in Waimea.  It wasnʻt until her years as a student at Kanu o ka ʻĀina Charter School that sheʻd really be able to engage with the canoe and the crew.  She brings her artistic skills as a graphic designer to Nā Kālai Waʻa.  She is in charge of the NKW website and social media sites and the creation of organizational materials.


Kealiʻi Bertelmann - Crew

Kealiʻi is an educational specialist and works with many schools in the Waimea North Kohala and Kona area.  A song writer, story teller, and keeper of traditional knowledge, he received the honor of overall winner of the Kindy Sproat Falsetto & Storytelling Competition in 2011.  Together, he and Mike Manu plan and carry out the activities for a year long cohort for 30 middle and high school students.  They also provide classroom and canoe activities for schools and community organizations throughout the year. Kealiʻi is also a crew member and kumu at Kānehūnamoku Voyaging Academy.

Mike Manu  - Crew

Mike Manu is one of the original crew on the maiden voyage of Makaliʻi in 1995 from
Hawaiʻi to Tahiti.  He is also one of the kalai waʻa involved in the Mauloa project.   With his knowledge and experience with waʻa and voyaging, he is often asked to share moʻolelo, especially about the making of Mauloa.



Keala Kahuanui - Crew

As a licensed captain and lifeguard, Keala is skilled in Hawaiian traditional navigation as well as and western vessels.  She is innovative in her teaching style and is often called upon to lead Nā Kālai Waʻaʻs programs with the many schools of Waimea, Kohala and Kona.  She has voyaged long distances in the Pacific as well as The World Wide Voyage.  



Lehua AhSam - Crew

Lehua has been a part of the Makaliʻi ʻohana since childhood as her family has been a

part of the organization since its beginning.  Lehua is highly experienced in educational and community program development, coordination, and facilitation.  She also teaches Hawaiʻi Community College classes to high school students in Kohala.