All KUA Staff are API.
Hui Mālama Loko Iʻa Coordinator
Brenda was raised in Waipiʻo, (‘Ewa, Oʻahu). She began volunteering for Paepae o Heʻeia (POH) at Heʻeia fishpond during holiday breaks from Occidental College, where she received her B.A. in Biology with a Marine Biology emphasis. She joined the POH staff as a part-time Ka ‘Ai Kamahaʻo internship coordinator while pursuing her M.S. degree in Marine Science from Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Brenda joined the KUA team in September 2013 and her primary responsibility is to coordinate opportunities for loko iʻa (traditional fishpond) practitioners to network and increase restoration efforts.
Kevin K.J. Chang
Kevin was born in Honolulu and raised in Ahuimanu valley, ahupuaʻa of Kahaluʻu, moku of Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. A proud graduate of J.B. Castle High School, he received a B.A. in Psychology and a J.D. from the University of Oregon. Prior to KUA he was a Land Manager for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, a Field Representative for the Trust for Public Lands’ Hawaiian Islands Program and practiced law as a solo practitioner in the field of entertainment law. His interests include creative writing, film production and he is a singer-songwriter performing often as a member of the band Kūpaʻāina (www.kupaaina.com) which uses music as a tool to raise awareness on the contemporary economic, social, cultural and environmental justice issues of Hawaiʻi.
Alex Puanani Connelly
E Alu Pū Coordinator
Alex grew up in Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu and holds a degree in Natural Resources & Environmental Management from UH Mānoa. As E Alu Pū Coordinator, she helps to organize network governance, gatherings, workshops, trainings and discussions. Alex is mother to two little ones and is a student of Hālau Mōhala ʻIlima.
Community Outreach & Development Coordinator
Ginger was born and raised in Honolulu, Oʻahu. Graduate of Kamehameha Schools and has a B.A. in self-directed degree in Museum Studies through Whittier Scholars Program in California. Prior to KUA, she worked for different kānaka-owned businesses that were all uniquely founded upon Hawaiian culture, values, & community-building. Currently living in the historic town of Hāwī, her weekend holoholo are spent along the shoreline doing intertidal surveys or in the uplands with a community nonprofit, Nā Maka Onaona; and native plant restoration with Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Assistant Limu Hui Coordinator
Malia Heimuli is from Kahaluʻu, Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu. She is finishing her B.A in Environmental Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo. As a native plant nerd and a recent limu enthusiast, she finds her passion in the pursuit of ʻāina momona. You can find her paddling in Kawahaokamanō, hiking in the Koʻolau visiting different wahi and plant ʻohana, making lei in her front yard listening to old records, or reading a book in her favorite armchair.
Limu Hui Coordinator
After 25 years in his dad’s refrigeration/air conditioning business, Wally left to pursue and complete a BS in Marine Biology from Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Along the way he found himself working at the Heʻeia Fishpond for Paepae o Heʻeia, stewarding one of their limu efforts. Today, Wally is passionate about limu, its important role in the nearshore marine environment and its role in the Hawaiian culture. It is his desire to help capture and preserve traditional limu knowledge that is being lost as each generation passes on. He lives in Kapālama where he cares for his mother and keeps the grass green and freshly cut.
Kim is a documentary photographer with 20+ years of experience and a passion for social justice and visual storytelling through an indigenous lens. She has a B.A. in Studio Art & Psychology from the University of Puget Sound and worked as a freelance photographer for several years after completing an M.S. in Photojournalism at Boston University, College of Communication. She began documenting community efforts for KUA in 2013 and joined the staff as Communications Coordinator in 2015. Born on Maui and raised in Ewa Moku, Kim is a veteran grad of Kamehameha Schools and currently lives in the house her grandfather built in Kalauao, Oʻahu with her partner and their daughter and son.
Operations and Administrative Officer
Lauren was born in Honolulu and proudly grew up in Ko’olaupoko, O’ahu. She is a graduate of the Academy of the Pacific and UH Manoa with a degree in Computer Science. Lauren has been with KUA since 2015, first as a tech contractor and now as an administrative jack of all trades. She has over eight years experience in nonprofit administration with a specialty in system design. Prior to that she owned and operated a record label and provided full-stack development for Vans Triple Crown of Surfing, Hawaii Surfing Association, and many other nonprofit clients. She currently lives in Kāneʻohe with her boyfriend, 16 year old miracle dog, black cat, and way too many records.
Lohe Pono Fellow
Kinohi was born, raised and still resides in Waimānalo. She is a mother of five keiki. She has a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies. She worked as an intern at Paepae o Heʻeia in 2008. She then became the Internship Coordinator in 2009 and then also eventually became a restoration manager. She ended her employment journey at POH in December 2020 and became our Lohe Pono Fellow January 2021. She works closely with Ke Kula Nui o Waimānalo and Hoalaʻāina Kūpono in Hakipuʻu.
Niegel is from Makawao, Maui and currently lives in Kaimukī. Niegel completed his BS at UH-Mānoa-Natural Resource and Environmental Management with a focus on coastal ecology and coral disease. He is currently finishing up his Masters in the Department of Urban & Regional Planning with an interest in community and environmental planning. He loves to fish, surf and be near the ocean. He loves to take his wife and 2 keiki to the beach as much as possible.