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MM Advisory Board Toggle

Estria teaching Mele Murals workshop

This is a growing list of supporters for the Mele Murals project in Hawai‘i. Mele Murals depends on the knowledge and guidance of these amazing people.

Vicky Holt Takamine
Kumu Hula, Pua Ali`i `Ilima

Vicky Holt Takamine graduated as kumu hula through the ‘ūniki rituals of hula from Maiki Aiu Lake in August, 1975. Vicky established her hālau, Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima in 1977. She is also the founder and kumu hula of Papa Laua‘e O Makana, on Kaua‘i island. In April, 2010 Vicky officially opened an extension of her hālau in New York City, Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima o Nuioka. Vicky received her BA and MA in Dance Ethnology from the University of Hawai’i. She is a lecturer at the University of Hawai‘i and Leeward Community College. Vicky is recognized as a native Hawaiian leader and as an advocate for the protection of native Hawaiian rights, social justice issues and the protection of the natural and cultural resources of Hawai‘i. She is the co-founder and executive director of PA‘I Foundation, an arts organization that preserves and perpetuates Hawaiian cultural traditions. Since 2006, PA’I has partnered with the Bishop Museum to create events and activities that highlight and showcase native Hawaiian art & cultural traditions through a month long program, MAMo: Maoli Arts Month.

Will Espero
Senator, Hawaii State Senate

Majority Floor Leader, Will Espero, is a Democratic state senator, representing District 19 since 2000. Senator Espero has served in the legislature for 13 years. He is in his 3rd term in the State Senate, and chairs the Public Safety, Government Operations, and Military Affairs Committee. He also is the vice-chair of the Transportation & International Affairs Committee and is a member of the Ways & Means Committee.

Peter Apo
Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Peter Apo is President of The Peter Apo Company, LLC, a cultural tourism consulting firm. Peter has 12 years of service as a legislator in the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives. He was Director of Culture & Arts for the City & County of Honolulu, Special Assistant on Hawaiian Affairs to Governor Ben Cayetano, and City & County of Honolulu’s Director of Waikīkī Development.

He was a Regent of Chaminade University, chaired the board of directors for the Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation, the Pacific Islanders in Communications, and the first Waiʻanae-Nānākuli Neighborhood Board. He served on the board of the Hawaiʻi Visitors & Convention Bureau. He is a founding member of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association.

Peter has an avocation as a performer-singer-songwriter. His band, Travelers 3, recorded several albums for Elektra and Capitol Records. Peter teamed with Del Beazley to record the award winning Apo & Beazley CD. Since then Peter has produced and recorded 5 CDs. As a songwriter, Peter is perhaps best known as the co-author of The Sovereignty Song, which has been sung by many artists and is found on a Keali’i Reichel CD.

Carol Fukunaga
Honolulu City Council, District 6

A 20-year veteran of the Hawaii State Legislature, Senator Fukunaga served on several National Conference of Legislature committees that deal with state and federal issues regarding e-commerce, telecommunications, high technology and information privacy. She has served on the State Legislature’s Hawaii Broadband Task Force and Hawaii Identity Theft Task Force, is a member of the Policy Committee of the Oahu Metropolitan Planning Organization, Co-Convenor for the Hawaii Transit-Oriented Community-based Economic Development Project, and is on the Board of Directors for the Historic Hawaii Foundation and Sexual Assault Treatment Center.

Della Au Bellati
State Representative, District 24, Hawaii House of Representatives

Della Au Belatti is a Democratic Representative, representing District 24 since 2012. She has served in the legislature since 2006. Bellati is the chairperson for the House’s Health Committee, and is a member of the Consumer Protection and Commerce, Housing, Human Services, and Judiciary committees.

Raiatea Helm
Eight-time Nā Hokū Hanohano Award Recipient

Raiatea Helm made history in 2006 as Hawai‘i’s first solo female vocalist to ever receive a Grammy Nomination for her sophomore CD “Sweet and Lovely.” She was recently recognized by the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation as their “Music Fellow” and by doing so became the first Hawaiian artist ever to receive the nationally acclaimed NACF Award dedicated to native peoples who create art in music, dance, visual arts, film and literature. Only one award is presented each year in each category and artists from all 50 states are considered. Raiatea is a two-time Grammy nominee, two-time Female Vocalist of the Year, and eight-time Nā Hokū Hanohano Award Recipient. Few performers of any age can match that achievement.

Eva Laird-Smith
Executive Director, Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts

Eva Laird-Smith is the Executive Director of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Prior to this she was director of the USO of Hawaii, president of Junior Achievement of Hawaii, executive director of the Filipino Community Center of Hawaii and executive director of Hawaii’s Plantation Village. Eva holds a master’s degree in museum studies from the University of Manchester in England, as well as bachelor’s degrees from the University of Washington and the College of the Holy Spirit in Manila.

Anthony Kalahui
Officer, Honolulu Police Department

Ten-year veteran, Anthony “Tony” Kalahui has served various elements in patrol, Weed & Seed Community Policing Team (CPT), and Crime Reduction Unit (CRU). Tony graduated from the Kamehameha Schools in 1996. He received his pilot’s license from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona and holds his bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

Tony’s deep interest in the studies of Hawaiian history, government, music & the arts are taken after his grandmother, Alice. She was a member of The Hawaiian Historical Society, danced & taught hula in Waikiki under Kumu Hula Kent Ghirard, and wrote and composed music with Mary Kawena Puku‘i. Tony’s father, Louie, an avid Hawaiian ki ho‘alu slack-key guitar player, gave inspiration to Eddie Kamae and Pilahi Paki in writing the words to a 1975 island hit song, “Kela Mea Whiffa.”

Tony and his Waikiki CPTeam brought native Hawaiian values and protocol to the district’s largest park beautification mural project, by which law enforcement partnered with residents, non-profit groups, community organizations, and neighboring businesses. They were able to effectively rid the area of crime, restoring a sense of pride, and ownership to residents in Waikiki. Centering on the police department’s philosophy and the embodiment of Hawaiian principles “mahalo, aloha, and pono,” Tony’s personal mission is to continue fulfilling the department’s mission with culture-based community projects in making Honolulu the safest city in the nation.

John Koga
Sculptor and Curator

John Koga may be Hawaii’s most well known living modernist. His whimsical sculptures are thoughtful extensions of the experimental modes within 20th Century sculptural abstractions established by Noguchi and Henry Moore while being intergalactic. He served for 20 years as chief preparatory at the Contemporary Museum. Prior to that he worked for the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts.

Mahea Akau
Cultural Collaborator

Born and raised in Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i, Mahea was influenced by her Hawaiian grandparents on the importance of ‘ohana (family) and the inherent kuleana (responsibility) one has to perpetuate their Hawaiian culture. This upbringing laid the foundation for Mahea’s passion and dedication to support the efforts of cultural awareness and preservation within her community and abroad.

For the last 12 years, Mahea has worked in project management, event planning and promotion for numerous community events including the Ironman World Championship and the Ironman 70.3 Hawai’i – a race which she help create to give residents of Hawai’i an opportunity to compete on an International level with the best in triathlon.

Mahea has connected The Ironman Foundation with youth, cultural, arts and health non-profits in need of support to sustain vital programs in the communities they serve. Recognizing the international stage she help create, Mahea saw these world-renowned sporting events as opportunities to educate international visitors about Hawai’i’s rich culture and traditions by making kupuna mentors in the creative process and by giving cultural practitioners a platform for their voices to be heard.