O Moana Akana ko'u inoa. My mo'opuna, Nahoa, is indeed very happy to be a part of your halau, Ke Kula Mele. Nahoa is very shy and lacks self confidence. Always loved music, especially, Hawaiian music and playing the ukulele. What has these sessions done for Nahoa?
A lot, because he now sings and plays with confidence.
Also, learning 'olelo Hawai'i through music is so crucial to the survival of our Kanaka Maoli. I highly recommend taking ukulele lessons and all lessons from you.

Mahalo Ke Akua,

Grandparent of student





















Alan Akaka (Director) received his BEd in music and MEd in administration. Alan began his music career in high school and enjoys a successful career in music and education with a long stint at the Halekulani and Waikiki Beach Marriott and Spa. He taught at Kahuku High & Intermediate, University Lab School and the Kamehameha Schools and was the director of the Performing Arts Academy at Kamehameha and president of the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association. He established the Na ‘Opio Singers and Ensemble program at the Kamehameha Middle School and is a master traditional artist in the Folk Arts Apprenticeship Program of the Hawaii State Foundation on Culture and the Arts. Alan made numerous appearances in television and radio including KGMB's "Island Music Island Hearts", KHON's Morning News, Hawai News Now, PBS’ "Hawaiian Treasures", ‘OLELO Channel’s “Ho‘oulu Lahui Aloha”, KSSK's "Perry and Price Show", Hawaiian 105 KINE, AM940's "Na ‘Oiwi ‘Olino", TV specials for Japan as well as Japan Airline's in-flight program. He was asked to speak on music and education for the Hawaii Music Educators Association, the Hawaii Association of Teachers of Japanese, and the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Association.

Alan has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles

Times, the Honolulu Advertiser, the Star Bulletin, TGIF and on the front covers of the Mid-Week, the Hawai’i Magazine and the AAA Westways. In 2000, he was invited to do a performance in Washington D.C. for President Clinton. That same year he was a featured soloist at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. and returned again in 2001 for a repeat performance. In 2009, he emceed and performed at the Hawai‘i State Society’s Presidential Inaugural Ball in Washington D.C.

This past April, Akaka produced and participated in the Maui Hawaiian Steel Guitar Festival, a 3-day event featuring school visits and steel guitar presentations by a variety of amateur and professional players.

Michiko Akaka (Co-Director) is a medical doctor in internal and integrative medicine, with a focus in wellness and the human brain. As a general practitioner she wanted to find the key for better health. She owned and operated the Medical Clinic in her hometown of Nagoya, Japan for 10 years and relocated to Hawai‘i to spend her life together with Alan. Michiko has a deep passion for music and has done research on the effects of music on learning, memory, and wellness. Studies show that musicians and singers are more likely to carry a positive attitude and display confidence on and off the stage. Michiko has played the keyboard in a band in Japan, participated in Hawaiian concerts dancing the hula and studied ‘ukulele. One of her hobbies is playing Hawaiian slack key on her guitar. Michiko co-created Ke Kula Mele Hawai‘i program as a viable way to engage people in music and to make music an everyday part of their lives, their family's lives, and her own life.

Edward Punua, Co-Coordinator of the STEEL the ONE! Program and Certified Public Accountant, holds a degree from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and has a CPA practice on Kaua‘i. Punua studied with Barney Isaacs and has been performing on Kaua‘i at hotels and other venue as well as South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Tahiti and the continental U.S. Since the age of seven. His musical upbringing was encouraged and enhanced in his familyʻs Polynesian show and lū‘au - the Victor Punua Polynesian Revue. There that he gained much experience with Polynesian music performing as a musician and percussionist. Punua has instructional experience assisting his mother, Kumu Hula Ku‘ulei Punua who taught the hula on Kaua‘i for over forty years.


NA KOKUA (Assistants)

Addison Ching
was born and raised in Honolulu. While growing up, he received training on the piano and upright bass and taught himself the guitar. After graduating from high school, his studies in electrical engineering took him to California and he ended up pursuing a career in computer programming and Information Technology (IT) administration. Now retired, he and his wife Sharon split their time between California and Hawaii. Their friendship with the Keawe Ohana (Addison's uncle George was the first to record Aunty Genoa Keawe on the 49th State Record label) has provided Addison with an opportunity to reacquaint himself with Hawaiian music and style. In addition to learning the Hawaiian Steel Guitar (which he now realizes that he had an interest in as a young child) he also spends his time with his other hobbies in electronics and personal computers and helps relatives and friends by developing and hosting websites on the Internet.


Gale Warshawsky
earned a B.A. in Theatre Arts Drama from San Jose State University, a M.S. in Computer Information Systems from Golden Gate University, and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Chaminade University of Honolulu. Gale is retired from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where she was the Coordinator for the Computer Security Training, Education, and Awareness Program. She wrote policy documents, built and maintained a Computer Security Awareness Website, and taught Information Security courses. Gale is a published author of Creative Puppetry for Jewish Kids, © 1985. Gale and her husband Arnie relocated to Oahu in 1999. She has served as part time faculty at the University of Phoenix, College of Education. Gale is a member of the Rotary Club of Waikiki. Gale has been a Ke Kula Mele student since Dec. of 2009 and loves to play her ukulele and sing.


Andrea Tolentino is a mom that puts her energy in supporting her daughterʻs numerous music activities and works behind the scenes to prepare the Ke Kula Mele students to look good on the stage. She volunteers her skills to do the hair for the Ke Kula Mele wahine at performances. In addition, she collects forms, distributes materials and tee shirts, moves music stands, and jumps in to help whenever necessary at rehearsals and events. Ke Kula Mele is grateful for all the things Andrea does to help our Ke Kula Mele ohana.