He kiʻekiʻe loa nei pali

Tall and majestic are these cliffs.

"Why Kealakekua?"

Ho’āla Kealakekua Nui honors Kealakekua Bay, a wahi pana (storied place) deeply woven into the fabric of Hawaiian culture and history. Located in South Kona, this sacred bay has been a cradle of Hawaiian civilization, thriving from its rich marine resources and unique ecological systems.

The bay’s significance stretches beyond its natural beauty, serving as a center for the konohiki system, an ancient Hawaiian method of sustainable resource management, and a hub for cultural and spiritual practices. The traditions of Kealakekua, from its strategic importance as a ruling center to its role in the everyday lives of the kānaka maoli (Hawaiian people), highlight a profound connection between the land, the sea, and the people.

This relationship is nurtured through practices that respect the mana (energetic forces) and the mo’olelo (stories) of the bay, guiding its stewardship and conservation efforts today. Through collaborative initiatives like the Community Action Plan, Ho’āla Kealakekua Nui is committed to preserving the bay’s cultural heritage and ecological balance, ensuring that Kealakekua continues to inspire and sustain future generations.

"What is Ho'āla Kealakekua Nui?"

Ho’āla Kealakekua Nui, born out of a community’s passion and a sacred bond with Kealakekua Bay, began its journey in early 2016. Founded by Gordon Leslie, joined shortly by Scott Neish and other dedicated members like Alayna DeBina, our organization has been a testament to collaborative community stewardship. Initially formed under an Adopt-a-Park agreement, focusing on maintenance and preservation, Ho’āla Kealakekua Nui has evolved significantly, thanks to the contributions of many.

Our mission took a decisive turn when we partnered with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) to develop a Kealakekua Bay Community Action Plan which safeguards and honors the bay’s cultural and natural heritage. This plan, brought to life a collaborative partnership called KapuKapu ʻOhana, that represents a shared vision of co-management and sustainable stewardship amongst the community members, government agencies, researchers and non-profit partners.

Community Action Plan Participants

Our planning group, referred to as Community Action Plan (CAP) participants represents multiple stakeholders and rights-holders engaged in using and caring for Kealakekua Bay, including residents, community members, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs OHA, the Division of Land and Natural Resources Division of State Parks DLNR, the Division of Aquatic Resources DAR, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail National Park Service, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA, Coral Reef Alliance, Conservation International, University of Hawaii, The Nature Conservancy, Fair Wind Cruises, and Kona Boys Kayak Company. We continue to enlist additional members with complementary expertise, resources, and skill sets to help implement the CAP strategies outlined in this plan.

Our Vision

Kealakekua Bay is a harmonious and spiritual place with a thriving ecosystem interwoven with traditional knowledge and practices. It is cared for by the collaborative efforts of the community and partners, ensuring balance within this revered wahi pana (storied place).

Our Mission

Engage in collaborative stewardship of Kealakekua Bay’s natural and cultural landscape for the benefit of the entire community, including guests and future generations, through active restoration, outreach, and education.

Our Team

Shane Akoni

"Bringing over 30 years of experience in advocating, networking, and capacity building to advance Native Hawaiian perspectives and worldviews."

Alayna DeBina
Vice President, Secretary

"Grew up at Kealakekua Bay, understanding its significance to be preserved."

Mendy Dant
Board Member

"Honored to help protect Kealakekua Bay by educating visitors about the fragile underwater environment and sharing the rich Hawaiian culture and history."

Scott Neish
Board Member

"We defined our mission, established a vision for the future, and started working on strategies to achieve that vision"

Mary Crispi

"Despite being a 'worker bee' initially, the unexpected journey has been both challenging and rewarding."

Heather Howard
Board Admin Assistant

"Bringing over 25 years of expertise in business, environmental education and marine conservation, making her an invaluable team member"

Frank Carpenter
Board Member

"Leveraging business development experience and passion for the ocean to help HKN successfully implement strategy for Kealakekua Bay."

Kanani Enos
Lineal Descendant

"It is an honor to serve my ‘āina and kūpuna of the area as well as our future generations."