In the barren ʻāina pele of Hawaiʻi Mokupuni, pockets of native forest serve as spaces for the regrowth and proliferation of new landscapes and ecosystems. These spaces, known as kīpuka, become the foundation for transformational change of forms, both seen and unseen, which then become the catalyst for the growth of the larger forest.  


As practitioners, we cultivate reciprocal relationships with these spaces that are rich in resources and provide the necessities for the continuation of our lifestyles. Just as our kūpuna were intimately grounded in our ʻāina and strategically understood the location of kīpuka for rest, restoration, and replenishment, we too continue to rely on these vital spaces as a physical signifier and reminder of rebirth, life, and transformation. 

As we move forward in redefining our new normal, we celebrate the huakaʻi, transition, and transformation of one of our key community figures. After 37 years of service, Gail Makuakāne-Lundin will retire this summer in her roles as the Director of the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo’s Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center and as the Executive Director of the University of Hawaiʻi System’s Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao. 


Endearingly known as Aunty Gail to many, her life’s work has contributed to the development and shaping of Hawaiian leadership on University of Hawaiʻi campuses and beyond. Her values are grounded in the idea that the regrowth, bolstering, and expansion of Native Hawaiian students is dependent on the presence and advocacy of Hawaiian faculty and staff on campuses. As part of a group of early trailblazing Hawaiian educators at the University of Hawaiʻi, her influence has been integral in reclaiming both tangible and intangible spaces, for Hawaiian students, faculty, and staff in higher education.

Her revolutionary and innovative contributions can be attributed to her commitment to place the voices of Native Hawaiian students at the forefront of her collaborative and community-centric approaches, allowing for the growth of resources for student success. For those that have crossed paths with Aunty Gail, you may know that her motivation is to humbly do the right thing because, “It’s the right thing to do,” which has inadvertently and collectively impacted our community. Just as kīpuka have offered rest, restoration, and replenishment for many, Aunty Gail continues to feed and nourish the community through her encouragement, guidance, and mentorship to countless individuals, leaving an indelible impact on their huakaʻi. 


E māpu mau mai ke ʻala kūpaoa o ka maile ʻauliʻi o Puna. Ka waipuna lau aloha e mālama milimili nei i nā lehua ʻōlinolino e liliko mai ana ma nā kihi a pau o kēlā ʻāina, kēia ʻāina o Hawaiʻi haʻaheo. Hāʻaleʻale o loko i ka manu kau halalī i luna, me ona naʻau kauhaʻa e apo aloha aʻe ana i ka nui ākea o ke kaiāulu. Ua ulu aʻe ka ulu lehua i ka lehua kū hoʻokahi nāna i lū aku i nā ʻanoʻano o ke kūpaʻa a nāna pū hoʻi i hoʻomalu nā kupu a kū mai ke kīpuka. Na ia kīpuka nō e hoʻomalu i kekahi hanauna aku a kekahi hanauna aku i ola nui ehuehu ai nā hana kupaianaha a ka wahine ʻeʻena o Puna ʻala onaona. Me ʻoe mau nō, e Aunty Gail, ke aloha hanu lipo o ka wao kīpuka au i hoʻokumu mai ai i malu ola e kupu a kawowo mai ai kānaka. 



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