Executive Director and Captain
Bonnie Kahapeʻa-Tanner was born and raised in Kaneʻohe where her love for the ocean began. She got involved with the voyaging canoe Makaliʻi in 1995 and has been sailing ever since. In 1999, she was a watch captain on Makaliʻi’s historic voyage, E Mau e: Sailing the Master Home, which took Grand Master Navigator, Pius Mau Piailug home to his community in Micronesia. Following this life-changing experience, she helped to open Halau Ku Mana Public Charter School and launched the waʻa Kānehūnāmoku, a 29 ft. coastal sailing canoe. This waʻa was made in 2002, she was made to share, teach and practice the voyaging culture. Today the non-profit Kānehūnāmoku Voyaging Academy teaches learners of all ages about the waʻa and connects students to college and career opportunities in ocean-based industries. She holds a BA in Hawaiian Studies, a MS in Counseling Psychology, and an MA in Transformative Learning and Change. Bonnie lives in Heʻeia, Oʻahu with her husband Halona Tanner, and their two daughters, Kaialea and Lehia.
Aloha kākou! I was born and grew up in upstate New York, went to college in the midwest, and came to Hawaiʻi for a job in 1993 on a two year contract. At the end of the two years, I had fallen in love with the people and the culture (not to mention the lack of snow and year round gardening) therefore, I didn't want to go back!
I am a retired blood banker, an avid crafter, an off grid homesteader, a landscape and event photographer. During one of our sunrise photo sessions in 2011, a friend and I happened to stumble across 7 voyaging canoes from the South Pacific, which were anchored at Kualoa/Hakipuʻu, the birthplace of Hōkūleʻa. That chance encounter changed my life!
After various interactions with the voyaging community, I ended up traveling to several places with the canoe family. I had the privilege of spending 3 weeks in Tahiti with the voyaging community. That journey included sails from Tautira to Papeʻete on Faʻafaite, the Tahitian canoe. I also got to sail on a leg of the Te Mana o Te Moana voyage, an overnight sail from Papeʻete to Huahine, on the Marumaru Atua (Rarotongan canoe).
Upon my return to Hawaiʻi, I started volunteering for dry dock on Hōkūleʻa. There I met Bonnie Kahapeʻa-Tanner and Kānehūnāmoku during the island wide sails preceding the World Wide Voyage. Thus, as luck would have it, the job of Admin Assistant opened up soon after I had retired from blood banking, which means sometimes things are just meant to be. I joined the KVA crew in November of 2014 and have watched the organization grow and develop into a family who influences the lives of young people in Hawaiʻi in so many positive ways. There is no place I would rather be than here helping to support this mission and I am very grateful to be a part of this ʻohana.
Mieko Mahealani Treaster
Papahana Hoʻolauna Program Coordinator
ʻO wau ʻo Mieko Māhealani Treaster. Noho au i Kāneʻohe. I am the Program Coordinator for our Papahana Hoʻolauna program, which works with schools PK-12. I first met Kānehūnāmoku in 2008 as a kumu at Hālau Kū Māna Charter School and always appreciated the power of the waʻa as an outdoor classroom to make learning relevant and meaningful for the students. In 2015, I joined the crew at KVA to help further this mission and over the years have watched this vessel transform many lives, including my own. I love the ʻohana and community that the waʻa helps to build and am so grateful to be here on this journey.
Malanai N. Kāne Kuahiwinui
Kū Paʻa Mau Program Coordinator and Captain in training
Aloha kākou, my name is Malanai Kāne Kuahiwinui and I live in Ahuimanu, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. In 2013 I was a part of Hālau Holomoana’s first cohort, papa Kaʻupu and haven't been able to part from Kānehūnāmoku ever since. I love working with our schools and community. My favorite part about this organization is bringing the lāhui closer to the ocean one sail at time.
Kau ka peʻa, holo ka waʻa!