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 Ailā, Jr., Chairman

  • Term: Through Dec. 31, 2022

William Ailā Jr. was named interim Chairman by Governor David Ige on May 17, 2019.  As former chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) and head of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Deputy Ailā 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.

Patricia (Patty) Kahanamoku-Teruya

  • O’ahu
  • Term: July 1, 2019 – 2022

Patty Teruya has served as an elected board member on the Nanakui Hawaiian Homestead Association for several years, she has years of extensive public service along the Wai’anae Coast.  Employed under Mayor Harris, Mayor Hannemann, Mayor Carlisle and Mayor Caldwell with the Mayor’s Culture and Arts, as the City’s Special Events Coordinator along 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, US Marine Reserve Toys for Tots Program Island wide and the Nanakuli High School After-School Sports Program, Special Community Culture Events in providing economic and development for the Wai’anae Coast.  An active member of the Council of Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), Nanaikapono Protestant Church Outreach Team, Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Association, Nanaikapono Hawaiian Civic Club, Message of Peace Ministry Outreach Project Coordinator, her O’hana of Duke Kahanamoku Ocean Fest Committee.   


  • O’ahu
  • Term: TBD


Randy Awo

  • Maui
  • Term: September 2017 – carryover

The Hawaiian Homes Commission newest Commissioner hails from the island of Maui and most recently served as the Administrator for the Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) branch of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR). 

A longtime beneficiary of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Mr. Awo brings over 32 years of experience in government and community relations to the Commission. In addition, 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. He holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Pauline Namu`o

  • O’ahu
  • Term: October 2018 – June 2020

Pauline Namu’o’s career spans over 30 years in State government service.  During the Cayetano administration, she served first as the Governor’s Legislative Liaison and during the Governor’s second term she served as the Deputy Director for Administration in the Department of Public Safety.  Over her career in government she served as a Probation Officer and as the Administrator of the District Court’s Division of Driver Education.  Most recently, Commissioner Namu’o spends her time as a Substitute Teacher in the public school system.  She has accepted various long term assignments at Dole Middle School where she works with students living in public housing.  Commissioner Namu’o has also worked as a Consultant to the Kaho`olawe Island Reserve Commission.  She has been active in various Hawaiian organizations and is currently the Pelekikena of Ahahui Kaahumanu.  Over her lengthy career she has also served on various boards and commissions and is a member of the Kalihi Palama Hawaiian Civic Club.  Her interests are in education and public policy.   

Zachary Helm

  • Moloka’i
  • Term: April 2018 – June 2020

Zachary Helm has thirty years of experience working with the Department of Parks and Recreation for the County of Maui. Mr. Helm served most of his tenure at the Parks and Recreation as the District Supervisor III of the Molokai District, where he was responsible for the operations and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities, equipment, and recreation programs. Mr. Helm is also active in the community, serving on various boards such as the Kalama’ula Hawaiian Homestead Association, Friendly Isle United Way, Molokai Catholic Community Council, and Molokai Little League Association. 

Dennis Neves

  • Kaua’i
  • Term: April 2019 – June 2021

Dennis Neves is a Native Hawaiian beneficiary residing in Anahola Kaua’i. He brings over 27 years of public service and has an extensive Executive Management background. Dennis was an Executive Manager for the San Francisco Airport, reporting to the Director. In 2012 Dennis accepted a position with the State of Hawaii as the Kauai Airports District Manager until December 2017. He is currently serving as the second Vice President of the Kalalea Anahola Farmers Hui. Mr. Neves is dedicated and passionate about working towards fulfilling the mission of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole and improving the lives of our beneficiaries and those on the waitlist. Being on the DHHL waiting list for 40 years, he truly understands the frustration of our Hawaiians.


Michael Kaleikini

  • East Hawai’i (Hawai’i Island)
  • Term: 

Mike Kaleikini resides in Waiakea, Hawai’i.  For the past thirty-four years, Mike has worked in the power generation field, having spent six years in the US Navy and then followed by twenty-eight years in the renewable energy industry.  Mike has been an employee with Puna Geothermal Venture (PGV), in Pahoa, Hawai’i for over 28 years, with responsibilities ranging from plant operations, administration and currently with business development.  Mike continues to be very active in the 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.  Mike attended college in California and Brigham Young University – Hawai’i.

West Hawaii Commissioner David Kaapu David B. Ka’apu

  • West Hawai’i (Hawai’i Island)
  • Term: April 2018 – June 2021

David Ka’apu is a practicing attorney at law in Kailua-Kona with an emphasis in quiet title, business law, wills and trusts, general litigation and land use. He graduated from the University of Hawai’i with a BA in anthropology (Hawaiian archaeology) and received his JD from Santa Clara University in 1988.

All correspondence for the Hawaiian Homes Commission is managed through Commission Secretary Leah Burrows-Nu'uanu via this form. Testimony on the "J" agenda may be limited to 15 minutes per HRS 10-2-11. Public testimony on an agendized item may be given on the day of a Hawaiian Homes Commission meeting and may be limited to (3) minutes.

* indicates required field