About Us

Kumu Pono Associates LLC is a husband-wife team, made up by Kepa and Onaona Maly. They have worked together on historical and ethnographic studies for more than thirty-six years. Since 2006 they have been working on Lanai helping the community create a museum and archive, and in the development of place based cultural curriculum and resource stewardship (see Lanai Culture & Heritage Center).

Onaona is a beneficiary of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust, and is descended from families with ancestral ties to Hawaii (Puna, Kau and Kona), Maui (Koolau-Hamakua region), Lanai (Keomoku Vicinity), Molokai (Kona), Oahu (Waialua), and Kauai (Koolau and Puna). She assists Kepa with historical research, transcribes recordings of oral history interviews, and manages project development.

Kepa was raised on the islands of Oahu and Lanai. While growing up on Lanai, Kepa was taught the Hawaiian language and cultural practices and values by kupuna (elders), and he developed a great aloha and interest in learning about many aspects of Hawaiian culture, including land and ocean management practices, mele and hula (chants and dances), material culture, traditions, and ethnobotany. For more than forty years, Kepa has continued to learn about Hawaiian traditions and practices from kupuna and kumu ao (teachers) from Hawaii to Niihau learning from native Hawaiians who have lived their culture as handed down by their elders before them.

Kepa & Onaona Maly

Since the 1970s, on-going research and study development by Kepa and Onaona has included conducting detailed historical archival studies; indexing and translating Hawaiian language accounts from historic Hawaiian newspapers, journals, and land records; conducting detailed oral history studies; writing cultural assessment studies, site preservation- and cultural resource management plans; and contributing to the development of integrated resource management plans. Research and studies have been undertaken as a part of State and Federal historic preservation review programs, and community based resource stewardship programs throughout the State of Hawaii.

  Kii Pohaku

Kii Pohaku ma Poaiwa, Lanai Petroglyphs an early record of Hawaiian History (KPA Photo - C276r)

The work has been undertaken and continues in the capacity as independent consultants (Kumu Pono Associates LLC), with Kamehameha Schools-Bernice Pauahi Bishop Estate; Belt Collins Hawaii; the Institute for Sustainable Development and Geo-Insight; the Native Lands Institute; Planning Solutions; Group 70 International; the State of Hawaii (DLNR-DSP & -DOFAW); the University of Hawaii; the County of Hawaii; Ipukaiole Fishpond Restoration Project; International Archeological Research Institute, Inc. (IARII); NOAA Marine Fisheries Program; Tom Dye & Associates; P. H. Rosendahl, Ph.D., Inc.; Robert Rechtman, Ph.D.; Department of Defense; Bio-Systems/GANDA; PBR-Hawaii; and R.M. Towill; the Lanai Archaeological Committee and Ahahui Imi Pono o Lanai (formerly, Hui Malama Pono o Lanai); the Nature Conservancy-Hawaii; and the Community Conservation Network.

As a result of this research, the Malys have published more than 300 ethnographic studies, and conducted nearly 1,000 oral history interviews. Most of the research has been undertaken as a part of the Historic Preservation Review process, and includes development of cultural historical studies performed in compliance with — the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966, as amended in 1992 (36 CFR Part 800); the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s “Guidelines for Consideration of Traditional Cultural Values in Historic Preservation Review” (ACHP 1985); National Register Bulletin 38, “Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional Cultural Properties” (Parker and King 1990); the Section 106 Process; the Hawai‘i State Historic Preservation Statue (Chapter 6E), which affords protection to historic sites, including traditional cultural properties of ongoing cultural significance; the criteria, standards, and guidelines currently utilized by the Department of Land and Natural Resources-State Historic Preservation Division (DLNR-SHPD) for the evaluation and documentation of cultural sites (Title 13, Sub-Title 13); guidelines for cultural impact assessment studies, adopted by the Office of Environmental Quality Control (November 1997); and Chapter 343 – Environmental Impact Statements (as amended by Act 50; May 2000).

In June 1999, the American Planning Association (Hawaii Chapter) awarded Kumu Pono Associates and Belt Collins Hawaii its 1999 Environment/Preservation Award for development of the Kaupulehu Integrated Resources Management Plan. Maly has also volunteered on/been appointed to various cultural advisory panels, covering lands of Kaohe & Humuula, Mauna Kea; Kekaha, Kona; and the Puu Waawaa Advisory Council, appointed by the director of the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

As a result of his background, Kepa has also been qualified as an expert witness in a variety of agency proceedings, including: Planning Commissions and County Council Hearings; BLNR-Land Use Commission hearings; and in ethnographic and oral historical studies associated with court actions — in areas such as Laie (1995); Kaupulehu (1996-1998); the Ipukaiole Fishpond (1997-1998); Kawaihae/DHHL-Co-Generation Plant (1998-1999); the Mauna Kea Master Plan Update (1999-2000); and the Hokukano Vicinity (Oceanside 1250) Land Use Cases before the Third Circuit Court (2001-2002).