The Native Hawaiian Education Association (NHEA) Convention will honor two University of Hawaiʻi kumu (instructors) with the Educator of the Year Award on Friday, July 3. According to NHEA, awardees Kapiʻolani Community College Professor Kauka de Silva and UH Mānoa’s Malia Nobrega-Olivera embody the 21st annual convention’s theme of hulihia, to complete change. Each has shown a significant contribution to change their respective fields of education, NHEA said.
Nobrega-Olivera is a director of Strategic Partnerships and Community Engagement at Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge and Loli Aniau, Makaʻala Aniau. The Kauaʻi native is an indigenous rights advocate and has shared her expertise on Native Hawaiian language and culture around the world. Nobrega-Olivera’s advocacy work has taken her to various international meetings, including the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
“I’m guided by our ancestral knowledge and stories that are captured in proclamations made by our people, our aliʻi like Kauikeaouli in 1824- ‘O koʻu aupuni, he aupuni palapala koʻu. (Mine shall be a kingdom of literacy).’ Like our aliʻi I want to be on a journey that continues to open up opportunities for all of us to seek, share and apply our knowledge to daily practices that benefit our ʻāina and community,” Nobrega-Olivera said.
Kauka de Silva
NHEA will also recognize Professor de Silva, a master Native Hawaiian ceramic artist and sculptor, who has taught art at Kapiʻolani CC since 1988. He played a vital role in increasing the number of Native Hawaiians employed at the college and throughout the UH System.
“I have strived for the last thirty years to make Kapiʻolani Community College a place where Hawaiian culture is celebrated, championed, and reflected in the curriculum, pedagogy, support services and activities, students, faculty, staff, and administration and the community,” Professor de Silva said. He retired from the college in 2020.
The NHEA convention will be hosted virtually on Zoom from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Registration is free and required to attend. A livestream will be available on Hawaiʻinuiākea and Native Hawaiian Students Services’ Facebook pages.
—By Moanikeʻala Nabarro