Above: Neil Hannahs with former First Nations’ Futures graduates after being named the 2015 Kama‘a ¯ina of the Year by the Historic Hawai‘i Foundation. Hannahs developed the First Nations’ Futures program, a partnership which cultivates native leaders in cultural and natural resources.
Hawai‘i Foundation are based on helping people save places that matter,” Faulkner said. “Neil’s leadership in the areas of cultural and natural resource management and community enrichment were a natural fit for the foundation. He demonstrated his commitment to cultural preservation at places such as Loko I‘a He‘eia, Waipä Ahupua‘a, Kahalu‘u-Keauhou Ma Kai, and through ongoing programs for other agricultural, natural and culturally significant lands across the islands.” The Kama‘äina of the Year honoree is selected by a committee of the HHF board members and past honorees. The selection hui has expertise in historic preservation, community development, resource management, history and culture of the Hawaiian Islands, nonprofit management, and community relations.
Hannahs graduated from KS in 1969 and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in political science and master’s degree in secondary education from Stanford University. He joined KS in 1974 as an extension education program specialist. Through the years he served in various leadership roles including public affairs director and regional land director. In 2000, he was named director of the KS Land Assets Division where he shifted the paradigm for land stewardship to include a balance of cultural, economic, educational, environmental and community benefits. Upon reflecting on his service to Princess Pauahi’s legacy, Hannahs said
that his land stewardship philosophy has always been simple. “We are who we are because of where we are. Our cultural uniqueness results from our relationship to this land which is like no other place on earth. Caring for land is a way for us to connect to the source of our identity. Land is not ‘äina without people. Our stewardship sustains this relationship. “Although this award is much more than I feel I deserve, it is a memory I will forever cherish.” Hannahs plans to launch an independent business that will sustain and expand his commitment to develop ‘öiwi leadership and support social enterprises that enhance the well-being of the Lähui.
“ We are who we are because of where we are. Our cultural uniqueness results from our relationship to this land which is like no other place on earth. Caring for land is a way for us to connect to the source of our identity. Land is not ‘a ¯ina without people. Our stewardship sustains this relationship.” – Neil Hannahs, former KS Land Assets Director