New Facility — Nā Iwi Committee
Nā Iwi Committee


Mālama I Nā Iwi A Me Nā ‘Uhane O Nā Kūpuna O Kawaiaha‘o

Care for the iwi and spirit of the Kawaiaha‘o Kūpuna

It is the policy of Kawaiaha‘o Church to exercise and maintain the highest level of integrity and respect to mālama the iwi and ‘uhane of all kūpuna at Kawaiaha‘o Cemetery properties. Dedicated in 1842 the first priority of Kawaiaha‘o Church is to Christian protocol. Kawaiaha‘o Church respects the rights and wishes of the ‘ohana and claimants of the iwi to exercise burial and internment options; Hawaiian or otherwise with Christian protocol.

Preservation, maintenance and perpetuation are at the core of the Mission of the Kawaiaha‘o Church Nâ Iwi Committee. The Nâ Iwi Committee works to ensure appropriate procedures for the handling and care of iwi within the Kawaiaha‘o Church boundaries. The Nā Iwi Committee promotes the utmost cultural sensitivity and particular attention to the Native Hawaiian host culture with mutual respect of Christian practices.

Who We Are

The Nā Iwi Committee is comprised of volunteers from the congregation and general community. Individually they bring their professional and personal perspective. Collectively they provide the best opportunity for Kawaiaha‘o to set the bar on cultural sensitivity and protocol.

Nā Iwi Committee in Action

The Nā Iwi Committee under the Archives, Grounds and Cemeteries Committee is near the completion of its purpose. Since the first Kāhea Gathering of the ‘ohana in 2005, seven gatherings have been held. The process of contacting the ‘ohana of the iwi kūpuna buried at the Punchbowl Cemetery has been well worth the effort. With their concerns and cooperation at the forefront, we successfully completed the Church Archeological Management Plan, Cemetery Property's Policies & Procedures, Procedures for Discovery and Handling of iwi and a Burial Brochure. For archives, an informational and instructional DVD was created.

Since the demolition and clearing of Likeke Hall, we have had five iwi discoveries – all of which have been properly handled, documented, wrapped and secured until re-interment.The Iwi Committee continues to operate on an advisory and community liaison level to the Multi-Purpose Center Committee until we are able to re-inter all iwi discoveries.


Committee Members

Kanoe Cazimero, Chairman

Kanoe was previously Public Relations and Special Events Coordinator, is currently an Investment Management Associate, and yes, of the entertainment Cazimero Clan. She is a church member, member of the Prince Kūhiō Hawaiian Civic Club and Ka‘ahumanu Society; Life Board Member of the Kai Makana Foundation and Ramsay Museum & Gallery. Kanoe felt called to work with the ‘ohana and make pono for the iwi kūpuna of Kawaiaha‘o.

Kaipo Kanahele

Kawaiaha‘o Church Member Kaipo brings to the NIC his proud and humble Ni‘ihau heritage and sense of balanced spirituality. His volunteerism at the church and within the community is Ke Akua led. For all of us individually and collectively, Kaipo is a kukui alaka‘i – a guiding light that keeps us mindful of our purpose and kuleana.

Alan Kaopuiki
Part-owner and Manager of Lael Tokita Interiors and a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha Chapter 1.
Alan joined our committee because of his cultural kuleana of protocol and doing what is right. Although work keeps him from meetings, he is always accessible to share his mana‘o. Mahalo Ke Akua for the internet.

Kai Markell

OHA Policy Advocate for Native Rights, Land & Culture
Having had to deal with iwi discoveries and its impact on families and communities, Kai brought both a sincere personal and professional perspective. Without his added expertise, the policies and procedures established for the specific use by the Kawaiaha‘o Church Multi-Purpose Center project would not have been possible.

Watters Martin

Entrepreneur; Collector; Historian
Watters Martin as a matter of being, is a Historian due to his innate penchant for Hawaiian collectables. Every item has a history and a story – all of which are intertwined in genealogy and in particular that of our Royal and Missionary Families. In this way he has been an invaluable connecting rod for linking family information as well as the fascinating relationships between Hawaiians and Missionaries forged through the religious foundation of Kawaiaha‘o Church.

Charles Auli‘i Mitchell
Director of Cultural Surveys Hawai‘i, Puna Hawai‘i Island Office; Kumu Hula; Cultural Practitioner
Educator of traditional cultural practices, beliefs, and customs of the Hawaiian people have been a thriving role in the life of Auli‘i Mitchell and his work in the district of Puna. Mr. Mitchell has mastered the traditions of the hula ‘ōlapa given to him by his kupuna. He is also the President of Ho‘oulu Lāhui/Kua O Ka Lā Public Charter School and is responsible for the cultural kuleana of the school. Community member, member of Prince Kūhiō Hawaiian Civic Club and founding/present member of `Āinahau O Kaleponi Hawaiian Civic Club in Calfornia. Mr. Mitchell feels it is most important to help raise the youth’s awareness of their traditions and culture within ones community.

Nanette Naioma Napoleon

Nanette is a freelance researcher and writer who specializes in studying and documenting historic graveyards. She is the state’s leading authority on these sites and is also the author of the book “O‘ahu Cemetery Burial Ground & Historic Site." Nanette currently serves as the Vice President of the Hawaiian Historical Society and as a member of the Bishop Museum Association Council.

Puanani Tilton-Matsumoto

Retired teacher of 35+ years, Puanani is enjoying her retirement endeavors, often geared towards volunteerism. Kawaiaha‘o Church is the church of Puanani's maternal great, great grandparents who presently rest in peace in the cemetery of this Mother Church. "I have come 'home' to the religion of my mother's ancestors." Jesus Christ and His Word center my life today. In 2007 she became actively involved, lending much sensitivity from the ‘ohana perspective and personal aloha to mālama nā iwi kūpuna.

Claire Steele
Graduate student in the Hawaiian Studies Masters Program at UH Mānoa. Claire is an alumna of the Kamehameha Schools, a certified docent at the ‘Iolani Palace and a member of Kawaiaha‘o Church and Choir. She is a founding member of the “Distinctive Women in Hawaiian History, He Ho‘olaule‘a No Nā Mo‘olelo o Nā Wāhine” annual program.

Jim Steele

Consultant, project manager, and web developer at Analyseas LLC
Jim helped with the development of the first website for Kawaiaha‘o Church. With an MA in Anthropology from UH, archaeological survey experience with Bishop Museum, and an appreciation for Hawaiian culture, he volunteered to participate on the committee. He has been an incredible asset in moving all aspects of our work along.

Tin Hu Young

Kawaiaha’o Church Director of Archives and Cemeteries
Uncle Tin, as he is affectionately called, came to Kawaiaha‘o because his loving wife Helen was part of the Royal Order. Attending church on Ali‘i Sunday, one thing led to another and soon he found himself volunteering with Mr. Merci in the Archives. This led him to become a Board Trustee. As the Grounds and Maintenance Chair, his duties were expanded to include Archives and Cemeteries. After 25 plus years, he continues to volunteer as Director of Archives and Cemeteries, of which his knowledge and wisdom is priceless and irreplaceable.

Committee Advisors

  • Curtis Kekuna
  • Don Caindec
  • Pua Caindec

kawaiahao school united church of christ hawaii youth opera chorus
United Church
of Christ
Hawaii Youth
Opera Chorus