Derek Kauanoe, JD 2008

The law school’s oldest student organization, ‘Ahahui o Hawai‘i (“Hui”), had a very eventful 2007-08 academic year.

Hui Fall Semester Events

The Hui kicked off the school year by bringing a number of public interest and Native Hawaiian attorneys and retired judges to the law school in August to meet with incoming and current Native Hawaiian law students. This mixer provided an opportunity for current Native Hawaiian law students and attorneys to talk with the incoming Native Hawaiian law students about law school and the legal profession.

The Hui hosted two huaka‘i (fieldtrips) in the fall semester. The first event was a hike and clean-up of the area in Nu‘uanu known as Kaniakapupu, the former summer palace of Kamehameha III. One of the goals of the huaka‘i was to connect members of the Native Hawaiian Bar Association (NHBA) with Hui members and the Environmental Law Society. A number of NHBA members (many who are Hui alumni) were in attendance.

The Hui’s and Environmental Law Society’s second huaka‘i was to Kahana Valley. Hui Alaka‘i (student leader) Sunny Greer invited the Hui to the valley she calls home. She shared the history and legal struggles of the people of the valley, taking those in attendance to different parts of the valley, including the lo‘i kalo (taro patch), and introducing members to long-time Kahana Valley residents. The two huaka‘i were coordinated by Mālama Minn.

Hui Outreach

After attending a Wingspread Conference in the summer of 2007, Hui Alaka‘i (Sunny Greer, Derek Kauanoe, Mālama Minn, and Kalei Rapoza) created an outreach program with Kula Kaiāpuni ‘o Ānuenue, a Hawaiian language immersion school in Pālolo Valley. Initial meetings with the Vice-Principal at Ānuenue began in September and, in January 2008, Alaka‘i went to Pālolo to visit with the students and their kumu (teacher) Keao Kamalani.

The following week, the Hui hosted Ānuenue’s high school students, who participated in U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer’s visit to the law school. The Ānuenue students performed an oli (chant) to welcome Justice Breyer and then participated in a class where Justice Breyer spoke. Shortly afterward, two members of the law school’s Native American Moot Court team, Scott Hovey and Derek Kauanoe, provided an oral argument exhibition. Ānuenue students also participated in Professor Melody MacKenzie’s Native Hawaiian Rights class.

For the outreach program, the four Alaka‘i and third year law student Ka‘ano‘i Walk conducted a series of educational modules dealing with Native Hawaiian legal issues. For five weeks, every Tuesday morning, a module was taught covering a Native Hawaiian legal issue. Participating Native Hawaiian attorneys included Moses Haia and Melody MacKenzie.

After the modules were completed, a huaka‘i was scheduled and the students were treated to a visit to the State’s Judiciary History Center to learn about Hawai‘i’s legal history from the pre-contact era through today. Upon return to the UH campus, the students received certificates presented by Chief Justice William S. Richardson.

Native Hawaiian Recruitment/Admissions

In November of 2007, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs awarded the Hui a $49,003.00 grant to support Native Hawaiians interested in pursuing a legal education. This is the second such grant from OHA. At the close of this year’s admissions cycle at the William S. Richardson School of Law, a record number of Native Hawaiians were admitted for the 2008-09 School Year. Of the 55 Native Hawaiian applicants this year, 28 were admitted. Of those 28, eight participated in the Hui’s LSAT Preparation Program (see In comparison, in 2007, 22 Native Hawaiians were admitted. Out of the 22 admitted, five participated in the LSAT Preparation program. The Hui will continue its efforts to increase the number of Native Hawaiian admitees for the years to come.

Leadership Change

Annual Hui elections were held in April 2008. Outgoing Alaka‘i are: Sunny Greer; Derek Kauanoe; and Kalei Rapoza. Mālama Minn will be a returning Alaka‘i. She is joined by current second year students and new Alaka‘i, Noah Gibson, Lahela Hite, and Ka‘upenaikaika Soon. Next year’s Alaka‘i are gearing up for the 2008-09 academic year.