Team
Malanai headshot

Malanai N. Kāne Kuahiwinui

She/ Her/ ʻO ia
Science Communication Fellow
Kū Paʻa Mau Program Coordination & Crew Captain
Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy

Tell us about your work/ research. What kinds of things do you do?

Aloha mai kākou. ʻO Malanai koʻu inoa, noho au ma ʻĀhuimanu, Kahaluʻu, Oʻahu, a he lima hana au ma ka ʻahahui ʻo Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy. Eia aʻe kekahi mau kuleana aʻu, he kumu aʻo e kipa aku ana i nā kula like ʻole o Oʻahu, he kapena no ka waʻa kiakahi ʻo Māhealani, a he mālama moku ʻekahi au no Kānehūnāmoku kekahi.

Aloha kākou, my name is Malanai, I live in Ahuimanu, Kahaluʻu, on the island of Oʻahu, and I work for Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy (KVA). When people ask me what I do for work, my answer is, "I teach kids Hawaiian canoe culture and sailing". As a KVA staff member, I work in many different places teaching the mission and purpose of our organization, that is "to perpetuate the knowledge of Traditional Hawaiian Navigation and to provide opportunities to native Hawaiian students to advance in the contemporary ocean-based careers through academic, college, and career support."

What sparked your initial interest in your career?

He kāʻeʻaʻeʻa pulu ʻole no ka heʻe nalu. Mai kuʻu wā liʻiliʻi mai kahi i kupu maila ke aloha oʻu no ka moana. He ʻohana heʻe nalu hoʻi koʻu, a ua piha koʻu wā kamaliʻi me ka ʻohana e nānea, e leʻaleʻa ana ma ke kahakai. ʻO ia hoʻi kekahi kumu o kaʻu hana ʻana ma Kānehūnāmoku.

I come from a family of surfers, and ocean goers. I grew up swimming, surfing, and eating from the ocean. My love for the ocean is like no other. I was first introduced to KVA in my junior year of High School, at the time I was hungry for anything and everything to do with the ocean. So, I applied for the Hālau Holomoana program they were offering. After completing Hālau Holomoana I always found an excuse to return to KVA. After graduating from UH Mānoa, I returned to Kānehūnāmoku to see how I could give back to a place that helped in so many ways, and that is how I got to where I am today. Training to become a captain for Kānehūnāmoku.

Who influenced you or encouraged you the most?

He nui wale na pouhana oʻu, a he pomaikaʻi wale ia aʻu. ʻOiai au ma ke kula, ma ka hana, ma ka hale ʻohana, ma ka papa hula, ma nā wahi like ʻole nō hoʻi, aia hoʻi nā poʻe like ʻole e paipai mau ana iaʻu e piʻi aʻe i ka nuʻu o ka lewa, a e kō maikaʻi i nā kuleana a pau e kau mai ana ma luna oʻu. ʻO nā kumu oʻu, nā hoa, nā hoa hana, nā hoa hānau, nā mākua, nā kupuna, nā ʻaumākua, nā Akua pū, ʻo lākou a pau na mea e haʻawi mai ana iaʻu i ka mana, ka ikaika, ka maopopo pono a e kīpaipai mau ana iaʻu. A he leo mahalo hoʻi kēia iā lākou, iā ʻoukou.

I do not have one person who influenced me, for I have many people who constantly challenge and encourage me to be the best version of myself. I have many people who are like mothers and sisters to me, they are my teachers, my captains, my colleagues, they are also my very own family members. I am so blessed to have a community of people who are always cheering me on, pushing me forward, making sure that I am held accountable for all my actions and ensuring that I am taking the proper steps I need to secure a successful future.

What element of your work/ study do you think is the most fascinating?

ʻO ka ʻike ʻana a me ka lohe ʻana i ke ʻano pīhoihoi o nā keiki i kō lākou maopopo ʻana iā Kānehūnāmoku a me ona mea haʻohaʻo nō hoʻi, ʻo ia hoʻi kaʻu mea punahele o ka hana ʻana ma Kānehūnāmoku.

The most fascinating element of my work is the power that our canoe has. Kānehūnāmoku inspires the children of Hawaiʻi to enjoy being on the water, to trust in the waʻa or canoe, to love their genealogy, and so much more. However, the most rewarding part about my work is hearing our students say that waʻa is one of their favorite topics.

How did you get involved with the Nautilus Exploration Program?

Our KVA College and Career Counselor got a live ship-to-shore talk story session booked for our students, during this talk story session, I was able to reconnect with one of my classmates from my undergrad, Kalamaʻehu. He was onboard the EV Nautilus, sharing his story with us. Seeing him onboard, really inspired me to apply. Also, it is important for me to highlight, I wish to soon pursue a Master's degree, and this expedition opportunity really spoke to me. I knew there would be educated people on board that could share their experiences with me. Their knowledge will help me figure out where and or what my Masters degree may focus on.

What other jobs led you to your current career?

ʻAʻole naʻe au i hana ma nā wahi like ʻole he nui ma hope o ka puka kula nui ʻana. Ma hope o ka pau ʻana i ka Hālau Holomoana, ua hoʻopiʻi aʻela au e hoʻi hou iā Kānehūnāmoku a e hoʻihoʻi i ke aloha o lākou noʻu.

After graduating from University I was determined to return to Kānehūnāmoku so that I could give back to a program that was so influential on me.

What are your degrees and certifications?

ʻElua oʻu mau laepua, ʻo ka ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi a me ka ʻIke Hawaiʻi mai Ke Kulanui o Hawaiʻi ma Mānoa mai. He laikini kapena kaʻu, o ka ʻiwakāluakumamalima ka huina o na kona ka palena o ia laikini. A he kiaʻi ola au kekahi.

Two Bachelors of Arts in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi or Hawaiian Language, and ʻIke Hawaiʻi or Hawaiian Studies – University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I recently received my captain's license (25 tons). I am certified in first aid, CPR, and as a Red Cross lifeguard.

What are your hobbies?

Aloha nui au i ka heʻe nalu ʻana, ka hula ʻana, ka holokai ʻana, ka nānea ʻana me ka ʻohana ʻana, ka hana lima ma ka pā hale ʻana, a me ka hana noʻeau.

I enjoy surfing, sailing, swimming, diving, spending time with my family, and making art.

What advice would you give someone who wants to have a career like yours?

I've loved Kānehūnāmoku from the very beginning of our relationship, which started when I was in high school. After finishing my first program with KVA, I tried to find any and every single way that I could to be a part of the waʻa. I did a lot of volunteer work, I asked for lots of help and guidance from those around me, I saw and experienced things that I liked and some things that I didn’t like, and that led me to apply for a position at KVA. I love Kānehūnāmoku, so if you love Kānehūnāmoku, I suggest you take every opportunity you have to be on the waʻa. That can be applied for any career and thing you may love, you put yourself out there and you try your best, understand that failing is a part of the process and you just gotta try again.

What excites me the most about participating in a deep ocean exploration mission is being able to take my experience and share it with my students in hopes to inspire them to pursue an adventure as amazing as this one.

Expeditions

Malanai participated in the following Ocean Exploration Trust expeditions: