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


Kali Watson, Chairman 

Kali Watson was appointed Chairman of the Hawaiian Homes Commission by Gov. Josh Green and confirmed by the Senate on March 23, 2023. He previously served as Chairman from 1995 to 1998 under Gov. Cayetano where he was responsible for coordinating the development of over 3,100 residential lots on Hawaiian Home Lands, and implementation of the $600 million State settlement, including the transfer of 16,518 acres of State lands to make the trust whole. He was also instrumental in the passage and transfer of over 900 acres of Federal lands into the trust under the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act of 1995.

As the President & CEO of the native Hawaiian nonprofit Hawaiian Community Development Board, he worked with Nanakuli Hawaiian Homestead Community Association and oversaw the development of the Nanakuli Village Center, which includes a commercial center, several medical clinics, the Kalaniho’okaha Cope Hawaiian Cultural-Learning Center and a 48-unit Hale Makana O Nanakuli affordable housing project.

Over the last 10 years, to expand HCDB’s reach into the private non-homesteading areas, Kali established successful HCDB partnerships with various private developers of low-income housing tax credit projects primarily located on Oahu, Maui and Kauai. Projects include single family residential, townhouses, mid-rise and high-rise buildings.

He is a graduate of UH Law School, Business School and Kamehameha Schools. Wife Judith Pavey and 3 sons Kala, Kealii and Nainoa.



Sanoe Marfil

  • Oʻahu
  • Pending Appointment

Sanoe Marfil is a nonprofit leader with 20 years of experience in people, programs and project management. Marfil currently serves as Chief Program Officer at the Institute for Native Pacific Education and Culture (INPEACE) a Native Hawaiian nonprofit organization. She is a graduate of Leeward Community College, University of Hawaiʻi, West Oʻahu, and currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Education at Fielding Graduate University.

Marfil is a beneficiary of the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, active alumni of Nānākuli High and Intermediate school, President of the Nānāikapono Hawaiian Civic Club and an advocate of ‘Ōlelo Hawai‘i. She and her husband Byron raise their three daughters, Mālie, Māhie & Mahina on their ‘āina ho‘opulapula in Nānākuli.


Walt Kaneakua

  • Oʻahu
  • Pending Appointment

Walt Kaneakua serves as a Director for the Hawaii Pacific Foundation (HPF), a non-profit Native Hawaiian Organization based in Honolulu, Hawaii. His duties include the Strategic Planning Committee, and he oversees the partial HPF portfolio for charitable giving in the Native Hawaiian community. He grew up as on the mainland and Europe, returning to attend the Kamehameha Schools followed by undergraduate education at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He currently teaches as an adjunct professor at Pacific Rim Christian University and as well as a professor for the U.S. Naval War College at Pearl Harbor. Kaneakua serves on the Board of Governors for Shriners Hospital for Children (Hawaii). He serves as a commissioner for the Department of Defense Advisory Committee on Diversity and Inclusion. He served as a business analyst for the Daniel K. Inouye Asian Pacific Center for Security Studies at Fort Derussey. He formerly worked as a congressional staff for United States Senators Daniel K. Inouye and Mazie Hirono and Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. The congressional career included military and veteran affairs, aviation, immigration, social services, medical care, education, military force structure, land use, urban planning, emergency management, governance, and Hawaii military support.


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, 2026

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 is a Native Hawaiian beneficiary residing in Anahola Kaua’i. He has over 30 years of public service and 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 Hawaii Department of Transportation – Airports as the Kauai Airports District Manager. He was responsible for airport operations and maintenance at Lihue and Port Allen airports. As the Airports District Manager representing the state Dennis served on the Kauai Visitors Bureau Executive Board and the Royal Coconut Coast Association Board and represented the state during emergencies in coordination with the County of Kauai. Dennis retired from the state in December of 2017. His experience and knowledge in problem solving, critical thinking, project management and evaluating performance for the City and County of San Francisco and the State of Hawaii will be beneficial to the commission.  

Dennis served in the U.S. Army and was a Vietnam combat Veteran with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. After returning from his military service Dennis became active serving in several Hawaiian clubs on the continent and was a participant and supporter of Hawaiian events and cultural activities. Keeping his Hawaiian identity alive always knowing he would eventually return to Hawaii and become emersed in the soil. Dennis has committed himself to becoming a voice to promote the rehabilitation of our people. He is dedicated and passionate about working towards fulfilling the mission of Prince Kuhio by improving the lives of our beneficiaries and those on the waitlist. Being on the DHHL waiting list for 40 years, he truly understands the needs and urgency of all our beneficiaries.  


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.


Makai Freitas

  • West Hawai’i (Hawai’i Island)
  • Term: January 2023-June 30, 2025

Makai Freitas is an experienced labor leader grounded in collaborative solutions to support the needs of today’s working men and women, all the while balancing this with 21st-century economic, social, and cultural realities.

He has 20 years of labor experience that has led to elected leadership within the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). His kuleana has included all aspects of union representation. Concurrently, he works on the docks across the state as a Longshoreman and understands the daily work conditions, health and safety, and core issues of working men and women.

Freitas is a long-time youth sports volunteer coach and a member of the Waimea Community Association. He lives in Waimea with his wife, Aulani, and two daughters, Wailea and Mahina.

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