Kaiwipunikauikawekiu Lipe's profile photo

Kaiwipunikauikawekiu Lipe

Native Hawaiian Affairs Program Officer, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa

Kaiwipunikauikawekiu Lipe's profile photo
Location: Kaneohe, HI
Start Year: 2022
TRHT Pillar: Racial Healing and Relationship Building


First and foremost, Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu Lipe is a mother, daughter, sister, and aunty. And while all of her grandparents are now deceased, she is a granddaughter, nonetheless of Hawai‘i and of her many human ancestors. In particular, her mother’s family comes from Hawai‘i, China, and Europe. Her father’s family comes from India via Fiji. Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu is also the daughter of other genealogies, including that of her traditional hula school, Hālau o ke ‘A‘ali‘i Kū Makani, and that of mentors including but not limited to educators and community leaders from South Texas at the Llano Grande Center; Cleveland, Ohio, at the National Rites of Passage Institute; and MA‘O Organic Farms in Wai‘anae, Hawai‘i.

Kaiwipunikauikawēkiu’s roles in each of these genealogies guide her commitments everyday. In terms of titles, at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa she is the inaugural director of the Native Hawaiian Place of Learning Advancement Office as well as the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center. She is also the interim director of the Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation. She holds a Bachelor’s in Hawaiian Studies, a Master’s in Counseling Psychology, and a PhD in Education Administration.

Future Focus

Using a Native Hawaiian grounded approach, Kaiwipunikauikawekiu is excited about guiding her university campus through a process that will prepare them to make unit-specific plans that advance truth, racial healing, and transformation within and across each discipline. This is especially important to her and her team given that their campus is the flagship of the only public university system in the state of Hawai‘i. She and her team take that role seriously and believe that the internal TRHT work for the campus is critical and interconnected with necessary TRHT work throughout Hawai‘i’s communities.

Post-Institute: Transformative Action Plans

Through her work, Punihei seeks to reconnect with ancestral healing practices, explore stories and lived experiences across boundaries and borders, and redefine healing. She is doing so by elevating practices that promote health and wisdom physically, spiritually, emotionally, and financially.

Punihei is facilitating healing and liberation experiences that inspire healing through the following vehicles: podcast/broadcasting, virtual racial healing circles, webinars, blogging/vlogging, collaborative visioning spaces, and broadcasting debriefs.



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Culture of Health Leaders Institute for Racial Healing

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Program