HHC – Hawaiian Homes Commission

Pursuant to section 202, Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Department is headed by an executive board, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, whose nine members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. Three of the members are residents of the City and County of Honolulu; two are residents of the County of Maui, with one being a resident of the island of Moloka‘i; two are residents of the County of Hawai‘i, one being a resident of East Hawai‘i and the other a resident of West Hawai‘i; one is a resident of the County of Kaua‘i; and the ninth member is the Chairman, who is appointed by the Governor from among the members of the Commission. Members must be residents of the State at least three years prior to their appointment. At least four of the members must have not less than one-fourth Hawaiian blood. The Chairman of the Commission serves as the full-time administrator of the Department. Other members of the Commission serve without pay.

Governing Documents

Hawaiian Homes Commission Members


William J. Ailā, Jr., Chairperson

  • Term: Through Dec. 31, 2022

William J. Ailā, Jr. was confirmed as Chairperson of the Hawaiian Homes Commission on February 10,  2020. He previously served as Interim Chairperson after being appointed by Governor David Ige on May 17, 2019. Prior to the Chairperson role, Ailā dedicated time to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands as Deputy to the Chairperson.

Ailā is the former chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources and former head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources. In that capacity, he directed the agency’s activities, including the management of public lands; forest, fish and game resources of the State; and of the forest reserve, state parks, small boat harbors, and historic sites. He formerly served as the Harbor Agent for the Wai‘anae Boat Harbor from 1987-2010.

In addition, Ailā has participated on several boards and task forces centered around native Hawaiian rights and natural resource management, including the Hawai‘i Invasive Species Council, Mohala I Ka Wai, Hui Malama ‘O Makua, and others. Ailā holds a B.S. degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.


Patricia (Patty) Kahanamoku-Teruya

  • O’ahu
  • Term: July 1, 2019 – June 2023

Patty Teruya has served as an elected board member on the Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Association for several years. She has years of extensive public service along the Wai’anae Coast.  Kahanamoku-Teruya was employed under Mayor Jeremy Harris, Mayor Mufi Hannemann, Mayor Peter Carlisle, and Mayor Kirk Caldwell with the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, as the City’s Special Events Coordinator, and with Senator Mike Gabbard in his City Council seat as his Legislative Community Liaison for West O’ahu.

She serves as the President of the Wai’anae Coast Community Foundation, which oversees two Hawaii Food Bank distribution centers along the Wai’anae Coast. Kahanamoku-Teruya is involved in the U.S. Marine Reserve Toys for Tots Program islandwide, Nanakuli High School’s after-school sports program, and with special community cultural events that provide economic development for the Wai’anae Coast.  She is an active member of the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement, Nanaikapono Protestant Church Outreach Team, Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Association, Nanaikapono Hawaiian Civic Club, a Message of Peace Ministry Outreach Project Coordinator, and is on the O’hana of Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Fest Committee.   

Russell Kaupu

  • O’ahu
  • Term: January 2020 – June 2023

Russell Kaupu is the owner and operator of Pohaku Development LLC, a real estate development consultation and project management company. He was the former Corporate Counsel for The MacNaughton Group in Honolulu, providing in-house legal services for TMG and its projects and principals, and a former practicing attorney for Goodsill Anderson Quinn & Stifel in Honolulu.

Kaupu is a member of the Hawai`i State and American Bar Associations and is a past Chair, Board Member, and current committee member of the Hawai`i Conference Foundation’s Real Property, Finance & Investments and Audit committee.

He is a graduate of Willamette University in Salem, Oregon and Kamehameha Schools.


Randy Awo

  • Maui
  • Term: September 2017 – June 30, 2023

Randy Awo most recently served as the Administrator for the Department of Land and Natural Resources for the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement.

A longtime beneficiary of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Awo brings over 32 years of experience in government and community relations to the Commission. He has an extensive background in conservation, being one of the creators of the Ahupua’a management model, which is aimed at protecting, managing, and conserving Hawaii’s natural resources.

Awo is a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science.


Pauline Namu`o

  • O’ahu
  • Term: October 2018 – June 30, 2022

Pauline Namuʻo has spent recent years as a substitute teacher in the Hawaiʻi public school system with several long-term assignments, including one at Dole Middle School, where she works with students living in public housing. Prior to teaching, she spent most of her professional career in State government. During the Cayetano administration, Namu`o served as the Governor’s Legislative Liaison and as the Deputy Director for Administration in the Department of Public Safety. 

In addition, she has held roles as a Probation Officer and as the Administrator of the District Court’s Division of Driver Education, worked as a Consultant to the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission, and has been active in various Hawaiian organizations. She is currently the Pelekikena of Ahahui Kaʻahumanu and has served on various boards and commissions. Namuʻo is a member of the Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club. 

Zachary Helm

  • Moloka’i
  • Term: April 2018 – June 30, 2024

Zachary Helm has 30 years of experience working with the Department of Parks and Recreation for the County of Maui, with most of his tenure spent as the District Supervisor for the Molokaʻi District.

Helm is active in his community, serving on various boards, including the Kalamaʻula Hawaiian Homestead Association, Friendly Isle United Way, Molokai Catholic Community Council, and Molokaʻi Little League Association. 

Dennis Neves

  • Kaua’i
  • Term: April 2019 – June 30, 2025

Dennis Neves currently serves as the second Vice President of the Kalalea Anahola Farmer’s Hui. He brings over 27 years of public service and has an extensive Executive Management background, including a role as executive manager for the San Francisco Airport, reporting to the Director. In 2012, he accepted a position with the State of Hawaiʻi as the Kauai Airports District Manager, which he held until December 2017.

As a native Hawaiian beneficiary residing in Anahola, Kaua’i, Neves is dedicated and passionate about working towards fulfilling the mission of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole and improving the lives of beneficiaries and those on the waitlist.


Michael Kaleikini

  • East Hawai’i (Hawai’i Island)
  • Term: January 2020 – June 30, 2025

Michael Kaleikini has worked in the power generation field for the past 34 years, having spent six years in the United States Navy and 28 as an employee with Puna Geothermal Venture in Pahoa, Hawaiʻi Island. His responsibilities have ranged from plant operations to administration to his current role in business development. 

Kaleikini resides in Waiakea, Hawaiʻi Island.  He is active in his community, serving on the East Hawai’i Advisory Council for the American Red Cross, the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai’i, the Hawai’i Island Chamber of Commerce, the Hawai’i Island Economic Development Board, the Hawai’i Leeward Planning Conference, and the Mainstreet Pahoa Association Boards, respectively. 

He attended college in California and at Brigham Young University – Hawaiʻi.

David B. Ka’apu

  • West Hawai’i (Hawai’i Island)
  • Term: April 2018 – June 30, 2022

David Kaʻapu is a practicing attorney at law in Kailua-Kona, Hawaiʻi Island with an emphasis in quiet title, business law, wills and trusts, general litigation, and land use.

He graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi with a BA in anthropology (Hawaiian archaeology) and received his JD from Santa Clara University in 1988.

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