Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law

Our Mission

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach and collaboration on issues of law, culture and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples.

Who We Are

Ka Huli Ao was established in 2005 at the Law School through a Native Hawaiian Education Act grant. Ka Huli Ao focuses on education, research and scholarship, community outreach, and the preservation of invaluable historical, legal, traditional, and customary materials. It also offers new courses and supports Native Hawaiian and other law students as they pursue legal careers and leadership roles.

What We Do

Education, Research, and Scholarship

Ka Huli Ao facilitates wide-ranging programs to promote education, research and scholarship on the unique aspects of Native Hawaiian law, and the intersection of local, federal and international laws affecting Native Hawaiians. Ka Huli Ao also offers new courses on Native Hawaiian and Indigenous law, and offers the first-ever Native Hawaiian Law Certificate.

Community Outreach

Ka Huli Ao facilitates discourse between the legal community, the Native Hawaiian community, and the community at large. Law students and faculty – through workshops, symposia, and meetings – inform and educate, and are educated and informed by, the community about significant Native Hawaiian issues, history, and law.

Accessing Hawaiian Legal and Historical Materials

Because access to early Hawaiian legal and historical resources is currently limited, Ka Huli Ao is transcribing and creating an online archive of Hawaiian legal and historical materials for use by law students, lawyers, scholars and the community.

Advisory Board

Ka Huli Ao is guided by a group of distinguished attorneys and community leaders who serve on Ka Huli Ao's Advisory Board.

  • Beatrice K. Dawson, Esq.
  • Moses K.N. Haia III, Esq.
  • Neil Hannahs, Director of the Land Assets Division at Kamehameha Schools
  • Lea Hong, Director of Trust for Public Lands' Hawaiian Islands Program
  • Summer Kupau, Esq.
  • Dee Jay Mailer, CEO of Kamehameha Schools
  • Jonathan K. Osorio, Director of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence People in a Meeting.JPG

Advisory Board Meeting Front row: Jonathan K. Osorio, William S. Richardson, and Dee Jay Mailer
Back row: Beatrice K. Dawson, Moses K.N. Haia III, Summer Kupau, Melody MacKenzie, and Avi Soifer


Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie '76

Associate Professor of Law
(808) 956-0828

Download Brochure