New UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian law fellowship program funded

University of Hawaiʻi
Margot Schrire, (808) 956-6774
Director of Communications, UH Foundation
Posted: Aug 18, 2009

 "UH Mānoa and Kamehameha Schools are great partners in promoting educational opportunities for our Native Hawaiians – and such contributions truly benefit all of the people of Hawai‘i.  I have great respect for their many contributions to our community as a whole and am very grateful for their support of innovative programs at UH Mānoa so that together we can create the leaders of tomorrow."  
Virginia Hinshaw, Chancellor, UH Mānoa

Honolulu - With a recent gift of $750,000 spread over the next three years from Kamehameha Schools, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is launching a new fellowship program at the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa. This gift furthers Kamehameha Schools’ mission to provide educational opportunities to improve the capability and well being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.

“Ka Huli Ao has the potential to serve as an incubator for future leaders of the Native Hawaiian community,” said Colleen Wong, vice president for legal services at Kamehameha Schools. “The fellowship program would enable these emerging leaders to carefully research timely topics that are critical to advancing Native Hawaiian rights." 

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law was established in 2005 through a federal grant administered by the United States Department of Education. It is an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach and collaboration on issues of law, culture and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples. Ka Huli Ao offers courses and a new certificate in Native Hawaiian law, promotes scholarship and community dialogue, and supports Native Hawaiian and other law students as they pursue legal careers and leadership roles. 

This gift from Kamehameha Schools establishes a Fellowship Program for three years consisting of four annual post-Juris Doctorate Research Fellowships to support research, scholarship, teaching and/or other research-related projects in Native Hawaiian law.  According to Ka Huli Ao Director Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie, “the Fellowship Program enables recent law graduates to undertake advanced research to deepen knowledge and understanding of the legal issues facing the Hawaiian community. The Fellows’ research and papers will be published for use by Native Hawaiian and other communities, scholars, and the public at large.”  The funds will be used for stipends for the four fellows and for services and expenses, including travel and administration, associated with the Fellowship Program. 

Inaugural Research Fellows are Li‘ulā Nakama, 2009 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law; Nāpali Souza, 2009 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law; Breann Swann, 2004 graduate of the University of Southern California Gould School of Law, who also is a 2009 LL.M. candidate in Tribal Policy, Law and Government from The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University; and Titiimaea Ta‘ase, 2008 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law.  “We are very proud of the many things that Ka Huli Ao has accomplished in just a few years and we are extremely grateful to Kamehameha Schools,” said Avi Soifer, dean of the Law School. “This very generous gift will allow new Fellows to broaden and deepen the vital work on Native Hawaiian law already being done through the center."

# # #

Founded by the will of Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a descendant of Hawaiian royalty, Kamehameha Schools is a charitable educational trust whose mission is to provide educational opportunities to improve the capability and well-being of people of Hawaiian ancestry.

The University of Hawai‘i Foundation, a nonprofit organization, raises private funds to support the University of Hawai‘i System. Our mission is to unite our donors’ passions with the University of Hawai‘i's aspirations to benefit the people of Hawai‘i and beyond. We do this by raising private philanthropic support, managing private investments and nurturing donor and alumni relationships.

The William S. Richardson School of Law is exceptional both for its location and its commitment to pluralism and diversity within the law, society, and academia. As the only ABA-accredited and Association of American Law Schools member law school in the Pacific-Asia region, it offers outstanding teaching and first-rate professional training by a talented and very accessible faculty. Its student body is the most diverse in the nation and represents over 124 undergraduate schools. The curriculum offers the Juris Doctor (JD) and (LLM) degrees as well certificates in Native Hawaiian Law, Pacific Asian Legal Studies and the nationally ranked Environmental Law Program.

For additional information on Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the William S. Richardson School of Law