Clifford Nae‘ole Honored with Historic Preservation Achievement
Community advocate and Hawaiian cultural advisor for The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Clifford Nae‘ole, was recognized with a Historic Preservation Award from the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation during its 47th annual Preservation Honor Awards on Friday, May 21.
The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in historic preservation in the Hawaiian Islands, and Nae‘ole’s individual award honors his exemplary achievements in advocacy, education, programming, and preservation efforts.
“Clifford is an integral part of our mission to support Native Hawaiian culture and history,” said Andrew Rogers, general manager, The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “We are delighted that he has received this prestigious honor and we are lucky to count him as our cultural advisor, friend and colleague.”
During the awards ceremony, Nae‘ole thanked his friends, family, and colleagues who gathered for a virtual watch party at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua. “I am happy to accept this on behalf of everyone involved with the protection and preservation of Honokahua past and present,” he said. “This is our award.”
As Hawaiian cultural advisor for The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, Nae‘ole has educated and advised thousands of employees, guests, and visitors for nearly 30 years. He is a pioneer in the development of educational programs for the visitor industry, hotel employees and guests on proper Hawaiian protocol, cultural traditions, and mo‘olelo (storytelling).
Born and raised on Maui, Nae‘ole is dedicated to creating bridges between the Hawaiian culture and the contemporary business world. He was part of the initial planning and serves as chairman of Celebration of the Arts, the annual festival recognizing the people, the art, and the culture of the Hawaiian Islands. A student of Hawaiian chant and hula, he is an active supporter of Maui’s Hawaiian language immersion schools.
He is highly respected for his knowledge of Hawaiian culture, language, and history, and as an advocate for the preservation of burial sites and other sacred places. In the late 1980s, Nae‘ole played an instrumental role in the preservation of an unmarked burial site at Honokahua. Now, the burial site is protected as a wahi kapu (sacred place) and listed on the Hawai‘i Register of Historic Places.
While Naeʻole has been the dedicated steward of Honokahua for nearly 30 years at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, he believes that it’s everyone – past, present and future – that needs to learn about this sacred place and honor it now and forever.
Nae‘ole and The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua offer a weekly “Sense of Place” video, discussion and walk to the border of the Honokahua Preservation Site, which is open to the public as well as guests and visitors.