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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

OHA names two executives to key leadership positions

Kēhaulani Puʻu selected Chief Operating Officer and Kuʻuleianuhea Awo-Chun named Director of Education and Culture-Based Learning

HONOLULU – The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has filled two more important positions on its executive leadership team. Kēhaulani Puʻu began her new role as chief operating officer on July 1, while Kuʻuleianuhea Awo-Chun began serving as director of education and culture-based learning – a newly created position – on June 17.

Filling key vacancies has been a priority for OHA Ka Pouhana/CEO Stacy Kealohalani Ferreira since she joined the organization in November 2023.

“I am delighted to welcome Kēhau and Anuhea as they both bring considerable ʻike and experience to their new positions,” Ferreira said. “As executive leadership positions continue to be filled, OHA is being infused with newfound energy and fresh perspectives which is helping to build our administrative capacity and move our strategic plan initiatives forward.”

As chief operating officer, Puʻu will provide direct oversight of OHA’s Advocacy; Communications; Community Engagement; Land Assets; and Research & Evaluation divisions. She comes to OHA from the City and County of Honolulu where she served as deputy director of the Department of Parks and Recreation. Prior to that, Puʻu was with Kamehameha Schools for more than 12 years serving in various capacities – most recently as a director in the schools’ community education division. She is also a former Hawaiian language instructor at Leeward Community College and kumu with the ʻAha Pūnana Leo.

“I’ve been privileged with opportunities and experiences throughout my life that I believe are meant for me to utilize to give back to my lāhui. I am excited to join the team at OHA and to be a part of work intended to achieve positive outcomes for our Native Hawaiian community,” Puʻu said.

Awo-Chun brings a diverse background and skill set in teaching, administration, curriculum development and research to her new role. As director of education and culture-based learning, Awo-Chun will lead efforts to support integrated community, culture-based systems through the development and use of educational resources for all Hawaiian lifelong learners in schools, communities, and ʻohana, as well as education through Hawaiian language medium and focused charter schools.

Awo-Chun has extensive experience working with public charter schools, most recently serving as assistant school director at Mālama Honua PCS since 2019. Prior to that, Awo-Chun was at Hālau Kū Māna where she served first as a kumu and later as vice principal. Through her experiences with Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy, Awo-Chun has written culturally based curriculum focused on sailing, navigation and kilo (observation) for Hālau Kū Māna and Kamehameha Schools’ Hoʻolauna Program, as well as published a children’s book for a series commissioned by KVA called “ʻUʻuku Ka Hana, ‘Uʻuku Ka Loaʻa: The Story of Hawaiian Tugboat Captain.”

“While leaving the Hawaiian-focused charter schools was difficult, I will continue supporting Hawaiian education through my new kuleana at OHA,” Awo-Chun said. “I hope that my experience and perspective can be of service to our schools and communities to strengthen and support learning for our lāhui.”

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