College of Hawaiian Language honors scholarship founders and donors

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Date: Monday, February 8, 2016
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 932-7669

For Immediate Release

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language is celebrating scholarship gifts received from three families and a dynamic fashion entrepreneur, while reminding its students that it will begin accepting applications for the 2016-2017 awards on March 1.

On January 19, Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language thanked and recognized each of the generous donors for making it possible to increase the numbers and proficiency of Hawaiian speakers, cultural practitioners, and teachers through scholarship.

“We are deeply grateful for the support of these donors and their commitment to helping us fulfill our mission,” said Dr. Keiki Kawai`ae`a, director of the Ka Haka `Ula O Ke`elikōlani College of Hawaiian Language. “Each person carries their own unique and inspiring story about their dedication to preserving and perpetuating the Hawaiian language and culture.”

The Daniel and Lydia Makuakāne Endowed Scholarship was established in the Fall 2015 by their family to honor the contributions of their parents to the preservation and perpetuation of Hawaiian language and cultural practices.

Daniel and Lydia Makuakāne grew up in Hawaiian speaking families in Puna, Hawaiʻi and always spoke in Hawaiian to each other and with their family members and friends. They took great pride in conserving and cultivating Hawaiian plants, especially maile, and Daniel was consulted regularly by Native practitioners and UH scientists about his specialized techniques in growing this endangered plant.

Lydia served as the primary caregiver and language resource throughout their youngest grandson’s Hawaiian language education. Following his graduation in 2001, she served as mānaleo (native speaker) at the college and was given the honor of placing the `ō`ō into the site of the piko during the February 2012 groundbreaking ceremony for Hale`ōlelo. She was honored again at the blessing two years later, when her great-grandson welcomed the guests in `ōlelo Hawaiʻi.

Lawrence Silva was not a Hawaiian speaker himself, but he embraced his Hawaiian cultural heritage in everyday activities, like the cultivation of Hawaiian plants and the preparation of Hawaiian food throughout his entire life. Making laulau was a favorite winter holiday activity for Silva, his wife Margaret, and their three children.

Their youngest, Dr. Kalena Silva, is a faculty member at the College and served as its first director. He credits his father with encouraging his interest in Hawaiian language and culture and supporting him as he learned the language from his Tūtū Annie and studied chant and hula from several noted kumu hula.

Lawrence Silva was a consummate educator who devoted his entire career to teaching, mentoring and inspiring Hawaiʻi’s youth, enabling them to grow and develop into positive, contributing members of the community. The Lawrence Silva Memorial Endowed Excellence Scholarship was created after his passing in 1998 to provide support in perpetuity to Hawaiian Studies students and to ensure the development of future generations of Hawaiian speakers.

The UH Hilo Haunani Bernardino Endowed Scholarship for Excellence is named after the late educator, musician and songwriter Theresa Marie Haunani Bernardino. Schooled by some of the foremost kupuna, including Mary Kawena Pukui and Sarah Nākoa, Bernardino was an active member of the Ka Leo Hawaiʻi Hawaiian language radio show, along with the `Ahahui `Ōlelo Hawaiʻi and Hui Aloha `Āina Tuahine Hawaiian language perpetuation projects that emerged during the Hawaiian Renaissance of the 1970s. Her numerous compositions included “Lei Pukana,” which captured first place in the 1976 Search for Songs Contest.

Bernardino served as a lecturer in Hawaiian language at UH Mānoa for several years and earned her Master’s in Education in 1988. She went to work in Fall 1989 as an assistant professor at UH Hilo, where she taught Hawaiian language, culture, and music classes, and was instrumental in the establishment of the College. She also directed UH Hilo’s commencement ceremonies for many years and composed the music for the school’s alma mater, Pūlelo Ha`aheo.

Bernardino lost her three-year battle with colon cancer in 2006, but during her active lifetime, shared her music and `ike (knowledge) with thousands of people, including many students, who have gone on to become teachers of Hawaiian language.

KAI NOA Swimwear owner and designer Noelle Bali has created a unique line of swimwear to educate people about native cultures throughout the world. By purchasing her swimwear, consumers support research, sustainability, educational projects, or charities within those cultures.

Her first swimwear collection was released for Hawaiʻi and was inspired by kalo, which is considered the “root of Hawaiian culture,” as the food staple of the Hawaiian people. She sees a parallel between the role of kalo as a source of life and health and the College as a national leader in indigenous language revitalization, the first such institution in the world to educate through the medium of Hawaiian.

That parallel, combined with a long-time admiration for the College’s mission, led Bali to create the KAI NOA Scholarship Fund, to support those dedicated to researching and revitalizing all areas and forms of Hawaiian knowledge. For more information on KAI NOA, visit

The application deadline for all four scholarships is April 29, 2016. The recipients will be selected in May. For an application and/or more information, including scholarship criteria, visit or call (808) 932-7360.

To learn about making a charitable contribution to support scholarships at UH Hilo, contact Mariko Miho of the UH Hilo Development Office at (808) 932-7692.

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