The Edith Kanakaʻole Foundation leadership structure can be demonstrated in our loko i’a (traditional Hawaiian fishponds) design.


The concept is based on loko iʻa and outlines the various components of this system and how each must function together for a successful environment.


The Puhiokaoka is a priest versed in all aspects of the profession. The Puhiokaoka is depicted as the current, the constant movement of water sustaining the life of the pond. The Puhiokaoka are the eldest living generation who provide a thread of constancy but allows movement and change. Like the incoming current flowing from the greater ocean, the Puhiokaoka connect us to the ancestors allowing us to tap into traditional ancestral knowledge.


The Kālaimoku are Councilors. The Kālaimoku is depicted by the pā pohaku (stone wall) which is the physical structure of the loko providing a safe environment for all the poʻe who dwell here. The pā pōhaku symbolizes strength, nurturing, and our connection with the kai and ʻāina. The Kālaimoku are the directors of the board who protect the organization from threats and are tasked with caring for its health.


The Ilāmuku is the Executive Officer, the Kākāʻōlelo is the Communications Officer and the Kuhina is the Director of Research and Innovation. These administrators work together to manage the daily activities of the organization. They are depicted as the makahā. In every loko iʻa there must be a minimum of two makahā for adequate water movement. The makahā regulate the movement within the loko iʻa. The Ilāmuku, Kākāʻōlelo and Kuhina bring new opportunities into the organization, develops and manages projects and serves as a regulating system to provide the optimum environment for the success of the organization.


The Noʻeau are the skilled workforce who implement and support our initiatives. They are depicted by the kai in the loko, the element that supports all within the loko. The Noʻeau include the Noʻeau Hoʻokele (administrative support), Kiaʻi (guardians), Kumu (teachers), and Paʻi Kiʻiʻoniʻoni (media specialist). The Lehulehu are those we serve.


The Lehulehu are depicted as the iʻa (fish) who dwell within the calm waters of the loko iʻa. They are the students, the workshop attendees, the hula spectators, the cultural practitioners, and others who benefit from our various initiatives. The iʻa are the motivation for the loko iʻa.


The Mālama Ola are the donors who provide support for our initiatives. They are depicted by Kānehoālani (the sun), illustrated in the overall shape of the design, which nourishes life in the loko allowing seaweed and phytoplankton to grow and feed the iʻa. The generosity of individualsʻ donatins and support of partner organizations sustain the life of the Edith Kankaʻole Foundation.


Every aspect of the fishpond is needed to successfully raise fish just as every individual is necessary for a successful organization. The loko iʻa is a cycle within a cycle, each part playing an important role in continual harmony.