Maui News

Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program completes 15th year; applications available for new cohort

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Left to Right: Patty Copperfield, Lin McEwan, RoAnn Viloria, Courtney Ikawa, Jayson Watts, Lauren Matsushita, Serena Fukushima, Ted Anderson, Lauren Nelson, Steven Baptiste-Santana, Kanoelani Davis, Stephen Bennett, Bobby Pahia, Jason Strahn, Keapo Bissen, Theo Stiller, and Allison Cleghorn

The Ka Ipu Kukui program completed its 15th year with a graduation ceremony at the ProArts Playhouse on May 31, 2023, and is now seeking applicants for its 16th cohort.

A Decisions Maui and Focus Maui Nui initiative, Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program is a year-long program designed to help develop and train future leaders not only to identify challenges, but more importantly, to overcome them. Ka ipu kukui means crucible of light; a test and a furnace for seeking and taking the best path ahead.

“Maui Nui occupies a special place in the state, country and world, but as all of us know, we face many challenges that could very well erode the unique splendor of these special islands,” said Scott Nunokawa, Ka Ipu Kukui Founding Board member.


From concerns and beliefs expressed first by Decisions Maui in the 1980s and reinforced by the 2003 Focus Maui Nui visioning process, Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows was conceived to provide significant help in identifying and developing leaders through a community-based program specifically designed to address all aspects of planning for Maui Nui’s future.

Left to Right: Patty Copperfield, Lin McEwan, Jayson Watts, Lauren Matsushita, Stephen Bennett, Allison Cleghorn, Ted Anderson, Keapo Bissen, Lt. Governor Sylvia Luke, Jason Strahn, Lauren Nelson, RoAnn Viloria, Theo Stiller, Courtney Ikawa, Steven Baptiste- Santana, Serena Fukushima, Rep. Troy Hashimoto, and Senator Keith-Agaran (missing from picture Kanoelani Davis)

Each month, the program’s content focuses on the multiple perspectives of Maui’s different challenges. Through these monthly learning opportunities known as halawai, program leaders say participants develop a holistic appreciation and understanding of these unique challenges, ultimately arriving at a more informed framework and a more enhanced network to better address Maui Nui’s challenges in the future.

“The other thing that is really impressive about Ka Ipu Kukui is that you folks, the founders, and prior classes, like Troy (Rep. Hashimoto) and others, are willing to take what’s going to happen on Maui in your own hands and talk about how Maui will look, not just in the next several years, but in the next several decades. 50 years from now, how do we define Maui and how do we define what our responsibility is to the people, of not just Maui but for the State, and to the nation and to the world as well,” said Lt. Gov Sylvia Luke in her address to the 2023 cohort.


Halawai include topics such as infrastructure, community planning, sustainability, fiscal policy, county and state governance, water and energy.

Applications are currently being accepted for the 2023-2024 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program. The program requires active participation during the year, for approximately two to three days each month, depending on the activities planned.

Approximately 15 fellows will be selected through a competitive process conducted by the board of directors of Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows Program. The deadline for applications is July 1, 2023.


Applicants will then be notified by late July.

Those interested in this program or who know of an individual to nominate, visit for information on how to apply.

Board of Directors of Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows: Troy Hashimoto, Tambara Garrick, Katie McMillian-Gordon, Amber Hardwick, Scott Nunokawa, Leilani Pulmano, Jeanne Skog, Marc Takamori, Lianne Yoshida, Logan McBarnet, Candace Thackerson, Sayble Bissen, Dean Tokishi, and Dennis Ducatt.

The 2023 Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows cohort is: Ted Anderson, Steven Baptiste-Santana, Stephen Bennett, Keapo Bissen, Allison Cleghorn, Patty Copperfield, Kanoelani Davis, Serena Fukushima, Courtney Ikawa, Lauren Matsushita, Lin McEwan, Lauren Nelson, Theo Stiller, Jason Strahn, RoAnn Viloria, and Jayson Watts.


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