January Makana Pono
Posted on January 4, 2020
This month’s Makana Pono recipient is giving back to an organization that has been a part of her life since she was a toddler.
Shantashia “Pua” Naki grew up learning hula and ukulele at Na Lei Nani O Waialua. Funded by Queen Liliuokalani Children’s Center, Na Lei Nani O Waialua offers cultural learning opportunities and programs for children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Giving back to my Kumu Hula and the organization itself means a lot to me,” Pua said. “I have shared so many memories with this organization and this donation will benefit the future children of Hawaii in so many ways.”
Pua has been part of the Islands Hospice ohana for almost five years as a Director of Clinical Services Assistant. Based in Kapolei, she works with patients in a facility setting and provides administrative assistance to her Director of Clinical Services.
When she’s not supporting her team and patients, Pua’s passion is teaching and performing hula. At Na Lei Nani O Waialua, Pua dances kahiko, an ancient style of hula performed with chants and accompanied by percussive beats from the pahu (tall drum) or ipu (gourd). She also performs ‘auana, the modern style of hula, accompanied by singing and string instruments like the ukulele, guitar, steel guitar and bass.
“Hula kahiko has strong roots in the past and continues to grow in modern Hawaii,” she explained. “Hula ‘auana is influenced by contemporary times but with old knowledge.”
Members of Na Lei Nani O Waialua volunteer by performing and teaching in the community, promoting an appreciation for Native Hawaiian culture and giving keiki the opportunity to learn and participate in cultural practices. The program is supported by fundraisers, grants, sponsorships and donations.
“Growing up, I was always raised to share aloha and teach people our Hawaiian heritage out of love, from my heart, not asking for anything in return,” Pua said. “I hold my Hawaiian culture dear to my heart and am proud to be Hawaiian.