Photos: Delegation from UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College visits Yap and Palau

The group met with educators, community leaders, cultural practitioners, and UH Hilo alumni to help strengthen connections between UH and the Asia-Pacific region.

By Susan Enright.

Group photo of the delegation, seated on tiered steps.
Belau ʻOhana Farewell Reception for UH Hilo delegation, August 21, 2015, at the Belau National Museum, Palau. Courtesy photo.
 Group stands in front of open-walled structure, yellow with indigenous images of canoes, people, and sea creatures.
Members of UH delegation stand in front of the Mesekiu Bai (meeting house), Palau Community College with President Patrick Tellei (center right), Koror, Palau. Courtesy photo. Click to enlarge.

A six-member delegation of faculty and staff from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College traveled to Yap and Palau this month to meet with educators, community leaders, cultural practitioners, and UH Hilo alumni to strengthen connections between UH and the Asia-Pacific region.

The trip was part of UH Hilo’s Hoʻokahua Project, a U.S. Department of Education, Title III Alaska Native-Native Hawaiian Serving Institutions program funded under the Office of the Chancellor to facilitate student engagement in applied learning experiences.  Ho‘okahua helps with implementing the UH System initiative Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao, a plan to make UH a leader in indigenous education. The program focuses on community engagement both locally and throughout the Asia-Pacific region, with particular attention to building collaborative partnerships in education and research.

The UH delegation met up with several notable UH Hilo alumni while in Palau. In the photo at the top of this post:

  • Kathleen Salii, BA English, 1988. Associate Justice, Palau Supreme Court. (Third row from bottom, third from right in red blouse.)
  • Lourdes Materne, BA Liberal Studies, 1989. Associate Justice, Palau Supreme Court. (Third row from bottom, seventh from right in pink blouse.)
  • Jerrlyn Uduch Sengebau,  BA English & BA Philosophy, 1988. Senator, Palau National Congress and Chairperson Judiciary & Governmental Affairs Committee. (First row, far left in turquoise blouse.)
  • Marvin Ngirutang, BA Political Science, 1998. Governor Anguar State. (Second row, sixth from right.)
  • Kevin Polloi, BA Biology,1996. Research Dept. Head, Palau International Coral Reef Center. (Second row left in black t-shirt.)
  • Laura Ierago, BA Psychology, 1980. Former Governor of Sonsorol State. (Third row, second from left in turquoise blouse.)
Charlene Mersai
Charlene Mersai


Not in the group photo but attended the alumni gathering is Charlene Mersai, who received a bachelor of arts in biology and bachelor of arts in anthropology in 1996, and is now National Environmental Planner for the National Government, Republic of Palau.

The delegation

The delegation from UH Hilo and Hawaiʻi Community College:

  • Gail Makuakāne-Lundin, UH Hilo Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Director of Hoʻokahua.
  • Taupōuri Tangarō representing the UH Hilo collaboration with Hawaiʻi Community College and the joint work on the Uluakea Faculty Development Program.
  • Ākeamakamae Kiyuna, Lecturer of Hawaiian Language and Linguistics at Ka Haka ʻUla O Keelikolani College of Hawaiian Language, UH Hilo.
  • Marques Hanalei, Kanilehua Scholar-in-Residence and Cultural Specialist with Bishop Museum.
  • Kealiʻi Reichel, Kanilehua Scholar-in-Residence and musician, kumu hula and an expert in kokopuʻupuʻu or knotted carrying nets for holding wooden bowls.
  • Holo Hoʻopai, UH Hilo graduate student and Hoʻokahua Student Experience Coordinator.

More photos


Group stands for photo under palm trees.
Standing with members of UH delegation are notable hosts: Governor of Ngarchelong State, Browny Salvador (blue cap); Governor of Anguar State Marvin Ngirutang, UH Hilo Alumni, BA Political Science, 1998 (sunglasses on forehead); Kyoko April, Member of the Ngarchelong State Assembly (white visor); Faustina Rehuher-Marugg, Former Minister of Community & Cultural Affairs and current President of the Palau Resource Institute (next to April);  Julita Tellei, Former Health Human Resource Development Officer for the Ministry of Health and Founder of the Palau Conservation Society (second from right); at Badrulchau Stone Monoliths Site, Ngarchelong State, Palau.
Group of five walk along rough and rocky pathway under palms.
UH Hilo delegation at Diong er a Ngeterur with Meked Besebes, ethnographer at the Bureau of Arts and Culture/Palau Historical Preservation Office (UH Hilo BA in Communications with Minor in Anthropology, 2001).
indentation in the earth lined with small stones.
Diong er a Ngeterur, a bathing site for traditional leaders in the village of Ngerbeched, is being restored by the community led by UH Hilo alumna, Joann Maireng Sengebau (BA Biology, 1993).
Group looks at plots of taro.
Visiting the Ngarchelong Mesei Project, an initiative to restore, develop and manage taro fields in Ngarchelong State, Palau.
Group photo taken in restaurant.
UH Hilo Belau ʻOhana Alumni Gathering, August 18, 2015. Alumni and current UH Hilo students enjoy an evening out.



Gruop photo inside open structure, roof help with open beams.
(l-r) Ākeamakamae Kiyuna, Larry Raigetal, Project Coordinator with Waaʻgey, Kealiʻi Reichel, Holo Hoʻopai, Taupōuri Tangarō, Hanalei Marzan, and Gail Makuakāne-Lundin at the Yapese Living History Museum, Colonia Yap.
Group of five sit cross legged to weave coconut fronds.
Rose Mooteb (left) UH Hilo alumna (BBA, Business Administration, 1995) and a special education teacher in Yap, taught members of the delegation coconut front weaving. Mooteb was a student worker in the Dean of Student Services Office while attending UH Hilo. Many of her family members graduated from UH Hilo: her husband John received his BA in Philosophy and Liberal Studies in 1991, her daughter Sarah also a teacher in Yap received her BA in Political Science in 2001 and her son Javez received his BA in Marine Science and Geography in 2010 and is currently pursuing a BS in Meteorology at UH Mānoa.
A close up of two skeins of rope tightly coiled and hanging from edge of thatched roof.,
Skein of rope that takes 3-4 months to complete.
Close up of Maprine Ruechugrad speaking to group.
Maprine Ruechugrad discusses traditional Yapese dance and history, in the Village of Tomil, Yap.


About the writer of this story: Susan Enright is a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

Courtesy photos via Gail Makuakāne-Lundin.

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