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Leadership at UH Hilo
New leadership at UH Hilo.

The sound of pahu (Hawaiian drums) and pū (conch shells) resounded from the lānai of Moʻokini Library at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo on January 26 as eleven new members of the campus’ leadership team took part in a traditional Native Hawaiian appointment ceremony, crossing the kīpaepae, or stepping stones, symbolizing their entry into new roles.

Giving lei to people
Incoming deans, directors, executives and vice chancellors are celebrated.

The leadership team members include college directors, deans, chancellor’s interim executive assistant, interim director of university relations and vice chancellors.

“[The] kīpaepae signals a new era for UH Hilo, characterized by new ideas and new energy,” said Chancellor Bonnie Irwin.

The ceremony was facilitated by a community of learners, staff, instructors, administrators, alumni and community partners of UH Hilo. Taupōuri Tangarō, director of Hawaiian culture and protocols at UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College, challenged the group to identify and stay grounded in what motivates their work.


“Their qualifications and accomplishments will speak for themselves, but at the core of this kīpaepae is the beckoning and affirming of a deeper reason for them being in these leadership positions; their heart…and commitment to the university community and Hawaiʻi overall,” Tangarō expressed.

Irwin anticipates positive outcomes arising from collaborations and teamwork across the campus, which have already initiated new opportunities for creative and impactful ways to support students, faculty and staff.

New leadership team

Taupōuri Tangarō shared uplifting manaʻo (thoughts) during the ceremony.
  • Chris Holland, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
  • Kaleihiʻiikapoli Rapoza, Vice Chancellor of Administration
  • Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa, Interim Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs
  • Jessica Yamamoto, Interim Executive Assistant to the Chancellor
  • Amy Kalili, Interim Director of University Relations
  • Rae Matsumoto, Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy Dean
  • Simon Kattenhorn, College of Natural and Health Sciences Dean
  • Michael Bitter, College of Arts and Sciences Dean
  • Todd Inouye, College of Business and Economics Director
  • Norman Arancon, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Director
  • Kaʻiu Kimura, Ka Haka ʻUla o Keʻelikōlani, College of Hawaiian Language Director
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