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Breaking: Maui Managing Director, Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana retiring

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Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen announced the retirement of Maui Managing Director, Kekuhaupio “Keku” Akana, effective Dec. 31, 2023. He was Mayor Richard Bissen’s first cabinet appointment following the 2022 elections.

Mayor Bissen said he is submitting to the Maui County Council for its consideration the appointment of Josiah Nishita as managing director to fill the vacancy being created by Akana. Currently, Nishita is serving as deputy managing director and head of the newly formed Office of Recovery. 

Kekuhaupio Akana (left), Josiah Nishita (right)

In his capacity over much of the past year, Akana headed the Department of Management and led in the oversight of County departments. The announcement comes amid ongoing recovery and relief efforts following the August 2023 wildfires.


In deciding to retire, Akana pointed to wanting to spend more time with his ʻohana including seven grandchildren, according to a County of Maui news release.

Akana came out of retirement to fill the spot for the Bissen administration. Prior to that, he served 25-years with the Maui Police Department, retiring as deputy chief in 2006.

In 2013, Akana and others collaboratively founded a community care van called A Cup of Cold Water, operated by volunteers who provide water, food, hygiene and first aid supplies to homeless, poor and needy.


Akana’s past includes participation in the Queen Emma athletic club for youth weight lifting outreach as well as the Wailuku weight lifting club. He is also the former State of Hawaiʻi record holder in weightlifting, the super heavyweight class. In 1988, he qualified in the USA Olympic trials Weightlifting as a finalist in the super heavyweight class. Akana was also a two year letterman for the Rainbow Warriors football team from ‘79-’80. 

He is a 1975 Baldwin High School graduate, and received his Bachelors of Arts in social sciences from University of Hawaiʻi. He received an Associate’s degree in the administration of justice from University of Hawaiʻi Maui College and was a FBI national academy graduate.

Council approval of Nishita’s appointment is required. Mayor Bissen said, “I’m looking forward to the strong contributions that Josiah will make and am confident that he will be successful in his support of our many departments.”


Nishita has served as the deputy managing director for the County of Maui since 2020. For eight years he was with the Office of the County Clerk, nearly seven years as deputy before serving as County Clerk. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from George Fox University and earned a Master of Business Administration degree from University of Hawaiʻi Shidler College of Business.


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