Maui Business

Naeʻole Hired as Manager of Hale Huakaʻi in Kāʻanapali

May 18, 2016, 1:38 PM HST
* Updated May 19, 5:53 AM
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Iokepa Naeʻole. Courtesy photo.

Iokepa Naeʻole. Courtesy photo.

Longtime Hawaiian Language Immersion and Nature Conservancy educator, Iokepa Nae’ole has been hired as manager of the new Hale Huaka’i, a beachfront activities center at the Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel.

The newly launched center offers a Hawaiian perspective to several popular ocean activities such as surfing, stand up paddle boarding, conch shell blowing and more.

In his new capacity, Nae’ole will work with Hale Huaka’i to develop authentic Hawaiian programming and activities to enrich guests’ experience. He is also responsible for driving revenue through activity sales, equipment rentals, merchandise sales and sports lessons.

“Iokepa is a welcome addition to our Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel’s family as the manager of our new Hale Huaka’i center,” said Kāʻanapali Beach Hotel Director of Training Dee Coyle.  “He has a strong commitment to the preservation of Hawaiian culture and is well-versed to execute our vision of Hawaiian culture to traditional ocean activities,” said Coyle.

Born and raised in Kahului, Maui, Nae’ole began exploring Maui’s North Shore at a young age, learning how to swim, dive, surf, fish and paddle outrigger canoes.  He also participated as a member of the Hawai’i State Champion Hawaiian Canoe Club.


After a stint serving in two separate branches of the US Military, Nae’ole returned home to rediscover his cultural identity and worked closely with well-known kumu (teachers), earning his own title as kumu. Nae’ole is fluent in the Hawaiian language and has spent years as a teacher of the Hawaiian Language Immersion Program, where he worked with children from preschool to high school.


Nae’ole most recently worked as an educator for The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i where he led interpretive hikes and community service trips and introduced thousands of locals and visitors to the wonders of Maui’s rain forests.

He helped create and run Maui’s first alternative education middle school programming which integrated core curriculum with environmental stewardship and traditional cultural values. Most recently, Nae’ole participated in the production of, “Hawai’i-Message in the Waves,” a BBC documentary that shed light on the threats to the health of fragile marine ecosystems.

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