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.

Active Restoration​

We find importance in sustainable management and restoration of Kealakekua Bay’s natural landscape, ensuring its ecological health and resilience for future generations.


The organization values community involvement and collaborative stewardship, working closely with local residents, descendants, and partners to care for Kealakekua Bay.

Outreach & Education​

We place a strong emphasis on preserving and educating about the natural, historical, and cultural significance of Kealakekua Bay, particularly in relation to Native Hawaiian traditions and heritage.

Our Team

Shane Akoni Nelson

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Scott Neish
Board Member

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

Alayna DeBina
Vice President, Secretary

"Growing up at Kealakekua Bay and understanding its significance..."

Mary Crispi

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

Mendy Dant
Board Advisor

"Mendy is honored to work with HKN to protect Kealakekua Bay by educating visitors about the fragile underwater environment and sharing the rich Hawaiian culture and history."

Heather Howard
Board Admin Assistant

Heather Howard brings over 25 years of expertise in business, environmental education and marine conservation, making her an invaluable team member !

Kanani Enos
Lineal Descendant

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

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