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Our Purpose 

The purpose of the Foundation is to manage, protect, maintain, and interpret the historical and cultural resources of the ahupua‘a of Kaūpūlehu. The Foundation seeks to take an active role in the management of cultural resources throughout the ahupuaʻa and the coordination of educational and interpretive activities with respect to those cultural resources. The Foundation seeks to run programs that will assist homeowners, lessees, or other visitors to the ahupua‘a in interpreting and appreciating those cultural resources.

About Us

Our Mission

Amplify Kaʻūpūlehu’s Hawaiian traditions and practices by protecting the natural, cultural and historic resources upon which they depend.

Our Organization

The Ka‘ūpūlehu Foundation is a 501c4 non-profit organization. The Ka‘ūpūlehu Foundation is made up of seven Board of Directors comprised of four (4) seats held by Kamehameha Schools, one (1) Community/Kama‘āina seat (selected by Kamehameha Schools), one (1) Hualālai Community Association seat, and one (1) Ka‘ūpūlehu Lot 4A Community Association seat.

Our Board of Directors

Nāmaka Whitehead

President, Vice President, & Secretary 

Kamehameha Schools Director

Bio Coming Soon 

Kanoe Puuohau 


Kamehameha Schools Director

Born and raised in Honolulu and Hilo, Kanoe now resides with her ʻohana in ʻŌlaʻa, Hawaiʻi. A KS

Kapālama alumnus, Kanoe has a B.A. in Marine Science from UHH, Juris Doctorate with a focus in Native Hawaiian and Environmental Law from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) William S. Richardson School of Law, and a M.B.A. from UHM’s Shidler College of Business.

Prior to joining Kamehameha in 2017, Kanoe taught Business Law at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, worked as a Senior Business Advisor at the Hawai‘i Small Business Development Center, and managed Operations at the Energy Excelerator (now Elemental Execelerator).

As a Senior Planning & Development Manager at Kamehameha Schools, Kanoe advances KSʻ strategic priorities within the built environment with projects focused on sustainable development and clean energy, creative industries, food manufacturing and processing, and housing affordability. Other responsibilities include ensuring alignment with KS’ commitment to Hawaiian culture and ‘āina stewardship; advocating for educational opportunities and community needs; and increasing multiple bottom line returns through the entitlements, community engagement, and portfolio management


Jennifer Tom

Kamehameha Schools Director


Born and raised in Honolulu, O‘ahu, Jennifer is a Senior Asset Manager with Kamehameha Schools overseeing a portfolio of commercial properties in the Waikiki and Hawaii Island regions.

A graduate of Punahou School, Jennifer received a Bachelor of Science in Hotel Administration from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and a Master of Business Administration from Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management in Evanston, Illinois.

Jennifer is a board member for Ka‘ūpūlehu Foundation. She also serves on the boards for Hawai‘i CCIM Chapter, Waikiki Improvement Association, and committee member for Waikiki Community Center. She previously served on the board for the Hawai‘i Chapter of U.S. Green Build Council (USGBC) helping to lead a conference featuring interactive property visits to future focused green buildings in West Hawai‘i.

Jennifer enjoys learning to play the ukulele. She is also a big supporter and learner of Hālau ‘Ōhi‘a Hawai‘i, a stewardship program to engage with our ʻāina and kānaka communities.

Vern Yamanaka

Kamehameha Schools Director

A Fourth generation Kama’aina to the island of Hawaii, He graduated Hilo High and then the University of Oregon in Real Estate Development and Marketing and returned to Hawaii to work in real estate consultation, marketing and development in 1972. His work has spanned Asia to North America. Ka’upulehu Ahupua’a has always been a part of his life and work. His father consulted and managed these lands for Signal Oil (Lessee) since the 60’s. In 1983 Vern was involved in the master Lease to Ka’upulehu Developments (Barnwell International) and has managed, consulted on and marketed portions of Ka’upulehu till the present. His studies in Archaeology, Marine Biology and Land management facilitate his work here. He represents Ka’upulehu Developments, Lot 4-A & 4-C and sits on the KMLAC and KS Foundation.

A father of four children and eight grand children, passing on the knowledge and care of this Ahupua’a is an important obligation he shares with his wife Cathi.

Jay Uyeda

Hualalai Homeowners Association Director

A kama`āina of Hawai`i, Jay was born and raised on the Island of O`ahu in the small town of Aiea and now lives in Kailua-Kona, Hawai`i. He graduated from the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa and received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. He also received his Licensed Professional Engineer, Civil in Hawai`i and Washington in 1995. With his civil engineering background and development experience, he later joined the Hualālai Resort in 2001. Jay is the current VP of Development and manages the Construction
and Development projects for the resort. To balance all his responsibilities Jay is committed to his family and enjoys golfing and supporting his
daughters in the sport of tennis by attending their matches and always being there for them. 

Lei Lightner

Ka‘ūpūlehu Lot 4A Community Association Director

Aloha my name is Carol Leina’ala Keakealani Lightner, a.k.a Aunti Lei. I am employed at KUKIO as the Curator at the Kalaemano Interpretive Center. I am the daughter of Robert and Margaret Keakealani, and was born in Kealakekua-Kona, Big Island Hawaii. I attended various public schools in the Kona district and graduated from Konawaena High School. I continued my education attending a Man-Power program sponsored by the State in the Hotel Industry field.  And then attended Ricks Jr. College in Rexburg,  Idaho  graduating with an Associates Degree in Social Science.


Returning to Hawaii I applied for employment at the Kona Village Resort at Kaupulehu, thus being employed for the past 36 years there at the resort. My ancestral ties to the Ahupua’a of Kaupulehu go back 8 generations which has allowed me to feel grounded in my place here today at Kalaemano-Kaupulehu. Currently, I am a board member of the Kaupulehu Foundation as the Kukio Development representative.

Kuulei Keakealani

Native Hawaiian Community Representative Director

Born and raised in the uplands of Pu‘uanahulu North Kona, Roberta Ku‘ulei Keakealani comes from a family of hard-working men and women who have taught her the value of hard work and living close to her ‘āina aloha. Ku‘ulei has been in cultural education since the early 1990’s and continues in this field until today. The ahupua‘a boundaries merge and fade one into the other as Pu‘uanahulu, Pu‘uwa‘awa‘a and Ka‘ūpūlehu are the places she is privileged to call her kulaiwi, homeland, are the areas she continues to mālama presently.
You may find her one day on the upper slopes of Hualālai restoring tomorrow’s native forests to being waist deep in the fishpond Ka loko o Kīholo the very next day or on the ancient ala loa walking in the footsteps of her ancestors. No matter where you may find her, you may hear a story being conveyed or significant place names spoken.

Our Staff


Makamae Quinn

Executive Administrator 

In the moku of Kona, Makamae was born in the mountains of Kealakekua and raised in the coastline of Holualoa. During her childhood, she would play in the waters of Kaloko, fish on the cliffs of Miloli'i, surf in the swells of Kahalu'u, and paddle in the currents of Kailua Kona. Makamae continues to have a strong passion and love for the 'āina that feeds her and her family for centuries. She strives to better herself and her community to give love and care back into these lands. 

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