D. Kapua‘ala Sproat '98

  • Assistant Professor of Law


  • BA Mills College 1995
  • JD William S. Richardson School of Law 1998


Kapua Sproat joined the law school in 2007 as an Assistant Professor with Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law and the Environmental Law Program. She currently teaches courses in Native Hawaiian and Environmental Law, and Legal Research and Writing. In addition to her teaching, Kapua assists with all aspects of Ka Huli Ao's program work, including student recruitment and retention, community outreach and education, and fund development. Her areas of scholarship and interest include Native Hawaiian law, Indigenous rights, and natural resource protection and management.

Prior to joining the faculty, Kapua spent nine years as an attorney in the Hawai‘i office of Earthjustice, a national, public interest environmental litigation firm. Given her special interest in empowering and supporting Native Hawaiian culture and people, Kapua worked to preserve the resources necessary to perpetuate her culture by litigating state and federal cases under the Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, State Water Code, and various Hawai‘i environmental laws. Kapua developed a special interest in water law and worked on ground-breaking litigation on the Islands of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, and Maui to return diverted stream flows to public trust and other community uses, including traditional Hawaiian agriculture and aquaculture. She remains Of Counsel at Earthjustice where she continues to work on water and other issues.

Kapua was born and raised Kaua‘i's North Shore in Kalihiwai. She is a member of the Akana and Sproat ‘Ohana of Kaua‘i and Kohala, Hawai‘i, and currently resides on O‘ahu with her husband Kahikukala Hoe. Kapua received her Bachelor's degree from Mills College in 1995. While at Mills, she was one of 30 students selected internationally to participate in a nine-country study abroad program focusing on environmental issues with an emphasis on Indigenous Peoples with a colonial history. Kapua received her juris doctor from the University of Hawai‘i's William S. Richardson School of Law in 1998 with an environmental law certificate.


  • D. Kapua‘ala Sproat, Water, in THE VALUE OF HAWAI‘I (Jon Osorio & Craig Howes eds., 2010).
  • D. Kapua‘ala Sproat, OLA I KA WAI: A LEGAL PRIMER FOR WATER USE AND MANAGEMENT IN HAWAI‘I, (Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, 2009).
  • Avoiding Trouble in Paradise: Understanding Hawai‘i’s Law and Indigenous Culture, AMERICAN BAR ASSOCIATION BUSINESS LAW TODAY, Vol. 18 (Nov./Dec. 2008).
  • The NW. Hawaiian Islands Marine National Monument, NATURAL RESOURCES & ENVIRONMENT, Vol. 22, No. 4 (Spring 2008) (co-authored with Aarin F. Gross).
  • D. Kapua‘ala Sproat & Isaac H. Moriwake, Ke Kalo Pa‘a o Waiahole:  A Case Study of the Use of the Public Trust as a Tool for Environmental Advocacy, in COMMON LAW REMEDIES FOR PROTECTING THE ENVIRONMENT (Denise Antolini & Cliff Rechtschaffen eds., 2007)
  • The Backlash Against PASH: Legislative Attempts to Restrict Native Hawaiian Rights, 20 Univ. Hawai‘i Law Review 321 (1998).



  • Ola I ka Wai Grant, OHA, to support student travel for both the Native Hawaiian Rights and Environmental Law Clinics to enable these clinics to service rural, Neighbor Island communities. January 2007 through December 2009.
  • Kūkuluāholo Initiative, Hawai‘i Community Foundation, to enable the Center to implement portions of its recently developed strategic plan, through June 2009.