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March

Updated: 6 days ago

Our series of ʻōpio spotlights highlight some of Hawaiʻi Island's strengths and serves to redefine success, proving that the best and brightest aren't leaving—they're contributing, leading, and making a significant impact in our communities.


Keahikaaiohelo "Naoho" Kanahele, 23, was born and raised on Moku o Keawe. She comes from a strong Hula family line that raised her to love and excel in the art. Her childhood was filled with traveling, performing, and worldwide cultural exchanges through the Hālauʻs of Hālau O Kekuhi and Unukupukupu. Naoho went to college for a year after graduating from Waiākea High School and received a few college credits, but decided not to continue because she did not yet know what she wanted to become.


"In 2020 while living in Oʻahu, I assisted my mother-in-law with a few accounting clients and decided to open a Bookkeeping business to support my family. My bookkeeping knowledge is purely based on my real-life experiences with my clients and the work I put into learning more about the business."


After moving back to the Big Island in 2021, Naoho went through Uniki training to become a Kumu Hula under her mom, Kekuhi Kealiikanakaole, and her dad, Taupouri Tangaro. It had always been a dream of hers to have her own Hula Hālau. Naoho graduated from her training in April of 2023. Shortly after, she started her first young adult class in her garage in Hilo and slowly began learning the ropes of what it truly means to be a Kumu Hula. "Now, I am a mother of 3, a "Wife", a bookkeeping business owner, and a Kumu Hula. I decided to pursue the path of being a Kumu Hula because of the way I was raised. Hula was the stepping stone to all the adventures I had experienced growing up - adventures that allowed me to view life differently and refreshingly. I wanted to provide that stepping stone for my children, my students, and community members who want to experience what life has to offer you through the lens of HULA. I plan on opening more classes of all ages and creating opportunities for them that allow them to experience the world."

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