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UHWO Senior Project Capstone by Maxine Aulelava

Hui.........  Come Listen!

Ever wondered why so many native Hawaiian families from Hawaii, also known as kānaka maoli, chose to leave their homeland to reside somewhere else? Why is it that there is a mass migration that takes many local people outside the islands, especially the kānaka maoli? 


Polynesians of history are known to be navigators that migrated from one area to another in search of new lands with opportunities abroad.  We are currently experiencing a new type of migration among the native people of Hawaii, also known as the Hawaiians or the kānaka maoli people, to different parts of the world.

Sharing why so many of these families decided to transplant themself to another land is valuable information to this research.  Was relocating meant to be temporary or permanent?  In other words, are they planning to return home to Hawaii one day?  Also, inquiring if they currently practice any Hawaiian cultural traditions would be valuable information.  If so, what are they?  And finally, “What do they want to say to Hawai’i?”  

This podcast intends to share the voices and stories of native Hawaiians, aka KĀNAKA MAOLI, that relocated away from our homeland of Hawaii.

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Hui! Aloha mai, and welcome to the "Hawaii Abroad" audio podcast. I'm your host Aunty Max.  I am a senior undergraduate student at UH West Oahu working on my capstone project to fulfill the graduation requirement. I chose this topic because I notice Hawaii has been losing more and more kānaka maoli residents each year, my family members included, and we find the top common relocating reason is due to the high cost of living in Hawaii’s economy. 


Join me as I talk story with several brave kānaka maoli that had the courage to migrate away from their homeland as they share their journey, culture preservation, culture values, migration statistics, and overall living abroad as a native Hawaiian. 

Aloha MaiHAAP Trailer
00:00 / 03:19

 HAAP Season One Series
Journeys on Living Abroad

The outcome of this project consists of information gathered through personal interviews.  Interviews were conducted both in person or virtually online and in some cases by phone.  I am very grateful for the individuals who have participated in this research. 

The commentary and response are not meant to persuade the vast audience but to share the experiences of transplanting oneʻs self and family away from their home state.  This information does not represent the views of all Hawaii's kānaka maoli who have either chosen or needed to move away.   However, this conversation will hopefully give individuals who are contemplating a move for whatever reason an opportunity to understand why this topic is so important.

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Nicole “Koko” Mendez

Nicole is an island girl who is in her early 30ʻs and was born and raised on the island of O’ahu, Hawaii.  She is currently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a Kamehameha School Alumnus and is now a creative and energetic entrepreneur in the digital marketing industry. 


She shares her journey of relocating from Hawaii to Las Vegas and her life experiences of living away from home.

Ep.1: Part 1Nicole Mendez
00:00 / 20:00
Ep.1: Part 2Nicole Mendez
00:00 / 09:30

Mailikapu Heanu

Maili is also an island girl in her mid-40ʻs originally from O’ahu, Hawaii, and is currently a resident of Colorado Springs, Colorado.  She attended Kalaheo High School on Oahu. She is currently a chief home officer and has executive power over her household.  

She shares her journey as a military wife relocating multiple times away from Hawaii and living away from home.

Ep. 2: Part 1Mailikapu Heanu
00:00 / 19:02
Ep. 2: Part 2Mailikapu Heanu
00:00 / 11:43

Tiffany Zuttermiester

Tiffany, yet another island girl who is in her mid-40ʻs, from O’ahu, Hawaii, and is currently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  She is a graduate of Castle High School on the island of Oʻahu and now an administrator in Education.  


She shares her journey as a mother raising her children and how she continues to perpetuate her cultural practices while living away from Hawaii and comes from a line of prominent cultural practitioners and musicians.

Ep. 3Tiffanie Zuttermeiser
00:00 / 28:18

Sarah Kamano

Sarah is an island girl originally from Oahu, Hawaii resided in several locations such as San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., Richmond Virginia, and Los Angeles.  She's a Punahou High School alumnus, an artist, and a strong Hawaiian activist as a protector of the land. 


Sarah shares with us her journey of living abroad for many years and then returning to Hawaii to reside back in her homeland. 

Ep. 4: Part 1Sarah Kamano
00:00 / 16:40
Ep. 4: Part 2Sarah Kamano
00:00 / 14:00
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Alexaanne Isaacs

Alexa is an island girl in her 30s originally from O’ahu, Hawaii, and currently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Waianae High School alumnus and started her own thriving photography business.


She shares her journey as a mother raising her child abroad and supporting other family members.

Ep. 5: Part 1Alexa Isaacs
00:00 / 18:14
Ep. 5: Part 2Alexa Isaacs
00:00 / 12:44

Javen Correia

Javen is an island boy in his mid-30s originally from Waianae, O’ahu, and currently a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada.  Heʻs a Maryknoll High School alumnus, attended College in Colorado completed his degree in Interpersonal and Organizational Communications.  


He shares his journey on leaving Hawaii for college and relocating to the mainland for a better career opportunity to support his family.

Ep. 6: TrailerJaven Correia
00:00 / 04:40

UNFORTUNATELY, this file had technical difficulties so the transcription of the interview is provided instead.  HEREʻS HIS FULL STORY

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Talaole Kainoa Charles

Kainoa is an island boy young adult in his early 30ʻs originally from Kaneohe, Hawaii and now resides in San Jose, California. Heʻs an alumnus of Hakipuʻu Academy, formally known as Hakipuʻu Learning Center which is a Hawaiian Culture public charter school in Kaneohe.

Kainoa is a hardworking, responsible and caring family man with five children and one more on the way.  

Ep: 7 -Talaole Kainoa Charles
00:00 / 21:53

Final Reflection

In this final episode, I recap this podcast season and share my experience producing this senior project as a Creative Media student at UH West Oahu.  

I share the challenges and benefits to share the content topic and project process as the sole producer of this podcast series.

If you, my listeners found value in this podcast please share the information with your family and friends. Plus I would appreciate comments and feedback, so, please use the comment area below or email me at:

Final Reflection EpisodeMaxine Aulelava
00:00 / 05:52
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It’s hard not to feel compassion and even a sense of sadness when listening to these stories. Itʻs incredibly heart-wrenching to realize what so many of our brave kānaka maoli went through and the factors that led them to make such drastic decisions. Leaving their home, especially from an island in the middle of the great pacific ocean, that in itself takes much courage. Our native Hawaiian population is decreasing rapidly, and many continue to relocate to other communities throughout the nation and sometimes the world. My hope is that this research will enlighten others, bring awareness to the topic, and encourage more conversation to help our native Hawaiians who are contemplating a move away from home, and provide evidence of our kānaka living aboad.


The purpose of this page is to support my graduation requirement on a senior capstone project as an undergraduate student at UH West Oahu pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Media.

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