Maui News

3 Hāna Graduates Honored with Abbott Scholarships

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Three Hāna graduates–Kane Kanaka‘ole, Maximilian Abraham and Harmony Gonsalves-Cosma–are recipients of the Dr. Isabella Ka’uakea Aiona Abbott Scholarship for 2017.

Dr. Isabella Ka‘uakea Aiona Abbott. File photo courtesy University of Hawaiʻi.

The scholarship honors the life work and achievements of  Hāna-born scientist and researcher Dr. Isabella Kauakea Aiona Abbott and was created by the non-profit Nā Mamo O Mū’olea to help post high school graduates pursuing careers in Botany, Ethnobotany, Marine Science and/or Hawaiian Studies.

Dr. Abbott was the first native Hawaiian woman to receive a PH.D in science. She was a world-renowned algae taxonomist, and the foremost expert on central-Pacific algae.  To her credit she has numerous books, and has published more than 100 research papers. She was also the leading expert on Hawaiian limu, and dedicated her life to protecting Hawaiʻi’s reef ecosystems.

As a Professor of Ethnobotany at UH Mānoa, she mentored and influenced many of her students to pursue careers in Ethnobotany and Marine Science. In 2005 “Tutu Abbott” as she is affectionately known was honored as a Living Treasure of Hawai’i. She passed away in 2010 at the age of 91.


Funds for the scholarship are raised primarily through the silent auction at the annual Hāna Limu Festival held in November each year.

Kanaka‘ole, Abraham and Gonsalves-Cosma were each awarded a scholarship in the amount of $1500.

Kanaka‘ole will be studying Hawaiian Studies and Language at University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo; Abraham will be studying Sustainable Science Management at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College; and Gonsalves-Cosma will be studying Early Childhood Education and Hawaiian Studies at University of Hawaiʻi Maui College.


The mission of Nā Mamo O Mū’olea is to “perpetuate traditional ahupua‘a management of the Mū’olea ahupua’a; and to restore and maintain the area’s natural, cultural, scenic, historic and marine resources for the benefit, education and enjoyment of our community and future generations.”


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