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NKW Blog

Executive Director, Keomailani Case, Retires in 2022

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

He pūnāwai kahe wale ke aloha.

Love is without bounds and exists for all. (ʻŌlelo Noʻeau #936)

Steady is the impression-filled life force, willful is the heart that

encompasses and holds us close to the core,

Sure are the hands that move across the pages and capture the vision of the

one and all, and with a reassuring smile from a quiet memory, blaze


Intelligent is the words of wisdom spoken in the moments of clouded

obscurity, He waʻa he moku, he moku he waʻa; think canoe, think island, the

island is there.

Excitable is the spirit that inspires knowledge, wisdom, and understanding,

as the purpose is carried forth through all the layers of hard work,

animation, and joy.

Special are the moments when the synchronicity of the dance births

foundations grace.

Bold are the decisions made for the greater good, in sync with the canoe's

spirit and her prayer for long life.

Beloved is the hearth space that is dedicated to fulfilling the vision of one

who is close to the heart.

Connected is she, the heartbeat of the land, to the energy and the soul of her

family for generations upon generations to come.

We love you Aunty Lani... Kau ka peʻa a holo ka waʻa!!!

Keomailani was a foundational member of Nā Kālai Waʻa, as a kumu of Pūnana Leo O Waimea,

one of five founding organizations of Nā Kālai Waʻa and Makaliʻi.

In early 2006, as Nā Kālai Waʻa moved into a new space at Tūtūʻs House Aunty Lani stepped into the Executive Assistant position for Nā Kālai Waʻa and helped to expand our reach in the community. After some time, Aunty became the Senior Resource Manager, running the day-to-day operations of the Nā Kālai Waʻa with Senior Captain, Chadd Paishon. Between 2008-2013, Aunty Lani and Chadd expanded the Makaliʻi education programs and added staff positions to service more community partners and waʻa enthusiasts.

As the program grew in popularity in the community, Aunty Lani graciously stepped into the Executive Director position to grow the organization's overall capacity. Through the years, Aunty Lani and Chadd partnered with Kamehameha Schools and opened doors to the Kūlia i Ka Pono Summer Programs and Holokai - a program designed for West Hawaiʻi students to develop a relationship with voyaging practices and a love for the ocean.

As 2015 came into view, Nā Kalai Waʻa was awarded our first ANA Grant, an opportunity that positioned us to provision the canoe for a voyage with foods that were grown, harvested, and processed on Hawaiʻi moku. Aunty Lani also prepared our Makaliʻi ʻohana for the Mahukona movement with the Kohala Community and the Hawaiʻi Land Trust.

The success of Nā Kālai Waʻa is attributed to the success of productive teams who create, plan, and execute! It takes skill, determination, finesse, and understanding for everyone in the waʻa to work towards a common goal. Aunty, you have been a constant and encouraging leader, guiding our way forward through your family's grace, wisdom, and lived experiences.

You have taught us, shared openly with us, and have especially loved each one of us. Thank you Aunty Lani for blessing us with your time, patience, and wisdom. Your leadership has guided us to make many important decisions for the longevity of Nā Kālai Waʻa, time and time again.

To uncle Hawaiian, Kanaina, Keomailani, Ema, Hawaiian, Kauka, Auliʻi, and ʻohana, thank you all for sharing your amazing "Mom and Tūtū" with us. Please know that we have been so blessed to be a part of Aunty Laniʻs life. Aunty, Nā Kālai Waʻa will not be the same without you!

Na Pōmai Bertelmann,

Nā Kālai Waʻa Board President

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