The Rama Tree Board of Advisors ​​

Cultural and Scientific Advisors

RUTH ALOUA:    Organic farmer, Po'o Kia'i loko (lead pond guardian/caretaker), researcher, educator, Kaloko Pond, National Park Conservation Association.  After working on her MA in Archeology at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, with a research focus on the history of Kaloko Pond and its potential restoration, Ruth was thrilled to discover that her family, the Hoapili family, was Kia’i loko for generations.  A passionate defender of the land and the wa’a culture, Ruth exemplifies the knowing that not all elders arekupuna and not all kupuna are elders.

POMAI BERTELMANN is a local and global educator, cultural advisor, Ohana Wa’a (Extended canoe family) member, Hokule’a and Makali’i crewmember and Captain.  Pomai’s family and Na Kalai Wa’a community built the 54’ sailing vessel Makali’i to educate people from around the world on Malama Honua.  Pomai emphasizes the greatest importance of her work planting trees, and the connection of the voyagers to the forest, the Koa tree, the ‘aina.  Pomai is passionate about restoring the forests and teaching the children Aloha ‘Aina (love of the land).  

SHORTY BERTELMANN is a co-founder of Na Kalai Wa’a Moku O Hawai’I with his beloved brother Clay, a Mentor Captain, a very active canoe builder and teacher, and Master Navigator with 32 years of apprenticeship under Master Papa Mau Pialug.  Nā Kālai Waʻa is dedicated to the maintaining of cultural values and customs through the teaching and applying of non-instrument navigation and open ocean voyaging.  He and Clay were early Hōkūle’a voyagers before building their own canoe for the island of Hawai’i.  Shorty is President of the Board of ‘Oiwi, dedicated to restoring and sharing ancestral knowledge.

BOBBY CAMARA  Born and raised in Honoka’a, retired Park Ranger from Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Bobby has lived in and loved Volcano for more than three decades.  He is a naturalist, geographer, ethnobotanist and researcher, and is passionate about learning and sharing information about his ‘aina.  He is a volcano expert and tracked the recent 2018 eruption daily in his remarkable blog, Dispatches from Volcano.

YVONNE YARBER CARTER & KEOKI APOKOLANI CARTER, Kupuna for the Ka’upulehu Dryland Forest Restoration and Education Project.  In a very special way, through awakening the people to listen, they are working to sustain this fragile endangered dry forest ecosystem and share its unique historical, cultural, restoration, and scientific aspects to educate and benefit Hawai’i residents and visitors from around the world.

DAVID CHAI  Director of Natural Resources, has been restoring and maintaining the natural ponds at Ka'upulehu since 1990.  First brought on as a consultant, David restored the Resort’s many native ecosystems to preserve the ponds' natural resources. Continuing his commitment to preserving the ocean and its natural resources, he trains students in Aquatic Resource Management and develops management plans for coastal communities on Hawaii Island. 

Chai, who is part Hawaiian, is trained as a scientist. However, what makes his work special is the community-wide focus and culturally based approach that he brings to it. The coastal waters at Ka‘upulehu were once famous for moi, he’e (octopus), and large gatherings of opelu(mackerel scad). These natural fisheries have been depleted by unrestricted fishing. To revive them, Chai has been working with cultural, community and conservation groups on developing an area-wide marine resource management plan.

KEALA CHING,   A UHM graduate, Kumu Keala Ching is the well known and loved Kumu Hula for Ka Pa Hula Na Wai Iwi Ola in Kona, a composer of chant and mele, and a Hawaiian cultural advisor.  Fluent in Hawaiian, Kumu Keala lives, breathes, and emanates aloha.   It is said he speaks softly and carries big mana.  He graduated as a Kumu Hula under Braddah Frank Kawaikapuokalani Hewett, with whom Calley had the honor to study intensively for several years on Oahu.  

Keala is co-founder and Executive Director of Na Wai Iwi Ola (NWIO) Foundation, and travels broadly sharing the Hawaiian culture through hula and chant.

ANDY COLLINS   Director, Mokupāpapa Discovery Center for Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument    A brilliant and creative research scientist, Andy has been working for NOAAʻs Office of National Marine Sanctuaries since 2001. He has led several expeditions and teacher education programs in the remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.  Andy works on education and outreach to share the stories these kupuna islands have to tell us.  Andy was born in New York City and received his Dual BS in Forestry and Ecology from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse NY.

KU'ULEI KEAKEALANI, Keiki o ka’aina and revered lineal descendant of this land, Ka’ulupulehu, Ku’ulei is a Ha’i mo’olelo (master storyteller) poet, educator, author, wisdom holder, Light Carrier, mother, and cultural advisor.  Ka’ulupulehu is the land she belongs to.  Her connection runs deep.  For Ku’ulei, kuleana (responsibility) to place is huge.  Ku’ulei is passionate about the land and the perpetuation of traditional knowledge on behalf of future generations to perpetuate the greatness of the ancestors. 

GRAHAM KNOPP, Environmental Scientist/Engineer, Ph.D., M.S., E.E.S. is the owner and operator of GK Environmental LLC.  Graham has over 18 years of experience in the environmental field.  He specializes in environmental impact assessment and related environmental site studies, as well as performing a myriad of other environmental studies in the State of Hawai’i and the Asia-Pacific Region.  Graham is assisting Calley with maps and terrain, land divisions, and geography.

REGGIE LEE, ​ Kohanaiki Beach Park Cultural Advisor is a highly respected wisdom carrier and lineal descendant of the Kohanaiki area.  He is the son of the famous late master lauhala weaver, Kupuna Auntie Elizabeth Maluihi Lee, perpetuating her wisdom and legacy.  A Living Treasure, Auntie Maluihi was instrumental in keeping lauhala weaving alive.  Reggie is the Hawaiian Cultural Advisor at Kohanaiki Community.  He is very close to his mo’opuna (grandsons) who will appear with him in the mural.

THE MOANA OHANA:  Three generations of this Kanaka Maoli (local Hawaiian) family live, breathe, and work to protect the ocean and all its inhabitants.  Here will be MIKE NAKACHI, USCG Captain and his father, LING, highly respected kupuna, reef and ocean protectors, professional divers, and cultural and marine science educators.  With them will be Mike’s son, KAIKEA, and daughter, ALOHI, who are both talented and dedicated environmental resource management PhD students.  This family represents the living ocean.

CHADD ‘ONOHI PAISHON is the highly respected Captain of the Big Island’s voyaging canoe, MAKALI’I and Executive Director of the Waimea based voyaging and education organization, NA KALAI WA’A MOKU O HAWAI’I.  He is a Master Navigator under Master Papa Mau Pialug, dedicated community and global teacher.    

EARL KAMAKAONAONA REGIDOR, Four Seasons Hualalai Resort Hawaiian Cultural Center Director and Kumu.  Earl is kanaka maoli (native Hawaiian), a musician and teacher.  Fluent in Hawaiian, Earl has been a resident of Kona for over 40 years.  He was born in Pa’auilo and brought up on a sugar plantation with a hard working family, who also were singers, dancers, and musicians.  His parents were pillars, and his mom, the late Mary Mahuna, was a full blooded Hawaiian who, along with Earl’s aunties, filled the house with song and ukulele music.  He has been  at Hualalai for over 20 years, reaching the hearts and minds of visitors through his ever-present spirit of Aloha in stories and songs.   

HANNAH KIHALANI SPRINGER is a beloved Keiki o ka‘aina of Kaʻūpūlehu, highly esteemed kupuna, cultural advisor, teacher, and wisdom carrier.  Hannah is active guiding a nearly endless array of projects, such as the Kaʻūpūlehu Marine Life Advisory Committee, which successfully advocated for a ten year, all species rest period, from shore out to a depth of 120 feet at Kaʻūpūlehu and Kūkiʻo.  The effort, is affectionately called, “Try Wait” now two years in.


CHAD WIGGINS, Marine Program Director, Hawaii Island Nature Conservancy Working to advance marine conservation in Hawaii by combining scientific knowledge and traditional practice to develop and implement strategies that restore coral reef habitat and increase reef resilience.

Specialties: Marine planning, Research project management, Effective communication, Outreach material design, Community monitoring training, Collaborative strategy development

CHAUNCEY WONG YUEN is the District Manager, DOT-A,  Keiki o ka ‘aina (native child of the land) Chauncey was born in Hilo, and moved to Kona when he was nine.  He worked his way up from a “bag boy” at the tiny Kamuela Airport to become the Manager of Kona at Keahole Airport.  Chauncey is a kupuna and visionary leader with a strong commitment to creating a beautiful green airport, using leading edge sustainable and renewable energy and practices.