From left: Daniel Akaka, Richard Blaisdell, Eddie and Myrna Kamae, and Marvlee Naukana-Gilding

From left: Daniel Akaka, Richard Blaisdell, Eddie and Myrna Kamae, and Marvlee Naukana-Gilding

U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka, Richard Kekuni Blaisdell, Eddie and Myrna Kamae, and Marvlee Naukana-Gilding will be honored Saturday, March 23, 5:30 p.m. by the UH Mānoa’s Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge at the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. The I Ulu I Ke Kumu award is given for extraordinary commitment and excellence in Native Hawaiian education.

“The honorees have made contributions to education in diverse ways, and have often done so in a humble, behind-the-scenes way,” said Maenette Benham, dean of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.

Daniel Akaka
The first U.S. Senator of Native Hawaiian descent, Daniel Kahikina Akaka’s distinguished career began in 1976 when he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for seven consecutive terms until appointed to the Senate in 1990 where he represented Hawaiʻi for 23 years until his retirement on January 3, 2013. While the senator also championed many causes that stem from his military service and early work as an educator, he is most recognized for his passion for Native Hawaiian issues and for bringing true aloha to Capitol Hill.

Kekuni Blaisdell
Dr. Kekuni Blaisdell is recognized as a pillar of the medical profession in Hawaiʻi. Groundbreaking research in Hawaiian healing traditions, the founding of the UH Native Hawaiian School of Medicine and his encouragement of students to become physicians are a few of his many contributions that have strengthened the tradition of medicine in Hawaiʻi and propelled it into the future by incorporating the best of western medical practices.

Eddie Kamae and Myrna Kamae
Hawaiian musician, composer and documentary director Eddie Kamae has, together with wife and producer Myrna Kamae, devoted more than 50 years to preserving authentic Hawaiian culture, history and music. From Waiʻanae to Washington, D.C., 10 award-winning documentaries in the Hawaiian Legacy Series have reached more than 6 million people through nationwide primetime television, film festivals and community events. More than 500,000 students have participated in their presentations and classroom discussions.

Marvlee Naukana-Gilding
Marvlee Naukana-Gilding has served the Center for Hawaiian Studies at UH Mānoa since 1982. Former director Carlos Andrade says, “She is the living repository of what has transpired since the Kaʻū Report catalyzed the creation of Hawaiian Studies as a formally recognized discipline within the academy, probably the first of its kind in the world.” Beginning as a secretary and continuing throughout the terms of several directors, she earned a bachelor’s degree and later a master’s degree in library science. Considered irreplaceable, she has, since her retirement, continued to work part-time for the center and its library.

A limited number of tables and seats are available. To purchase, please contact Hawaiʻinuiākea at (808)956-0980 or email

A UH Mānoa news release