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You are here: /main/research/NOWRAMP 2002/interviews/Kanekoa Shultz


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Kanekoa Shultz, of Waiau, O`ahu, M.S. candidate in Botany at the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa.
Posted by Scott Kekuewa Kikiloi, Education Team Member
September 27, 2002

Kanekoa Shultz.What are you studying at school now?
"I'm in graduate school getting my masters, and hopefully go for a Ph.D later. Right now I'm focusing on marine botany, and the percent cover and species distribution of limu on Kaho`olawe."

What's your role on the NOWRAMP 2002 expedition?
"Basically I'm on a REA team, which does rapid ecological assessments. We focus on determining the percent cover of limu at each site. We're following up on previous expeditions where they did the qualitative research, generating species lists of what they found. This year we're doing quantitative research, which is the percent cover of various limu, using photoquads."

Do you have a mentor?
"Many mentors… my primary mentor is Dr. Isabella Abbott. There are other kupuna that I have great respect for also. She is a scientist and a Hawaiian whom I admire."

How has your trip been so far?
"It's just a great privilege and honor to be on this expedition. I'm just so grateful that I've been given this opportunity… it's very humbling…. "

What have you experienced so far on this expedition?
"I've just been really surprised to find so much limu. I had the impression that these areas were going to be coral dominated, but that's not the case. At Maro Reef we went to this site where the water was very murky, and it was dominated by this one limu called Halimeda. You could see the different levels of it growing inside. On top there is a turf Halimeda with some epiphytes growing on it, and when you remove it there is a whole different story level under it."

What were you interested in as a kid?
"I've always been connected with the ocean since I was young. One of the experiences I had when I was really young was that we went with my uncle to Coconut Island. We got to look at the sharks and thought it was awesome. I used to go to the beach, and go snorkeling on the North shore. I always loved the water."

In terms of Hawaiian identity, what has this trip meant to you so far?
"There is much of our culture that is not revealed, and held by kupuna. When we are ready for that knowledge it will be revealed to us, one way or another. Since many of us don't have access to that kind of knowledge, experiences like this are valuable for us, since we're gaining insight to how things once were. When I see what we have here in the Northwestern Hawaiian Island, it scares me to think what we have lost in the main islands. What is even worse is that many of us back home, have not recognized what we've lost. This expedition has been a great opportunity, but with it comes responsibility. In terms of self- determination we really need to look at sustainable futures for our people. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands can serve as a model for this. This trip is about knowledge and our people can use these kupuna islands for spiritual and educational sustenance."

What would you like to see as an outcome for this expedition?
"I think it would be really great if we could bring more Hawaiians up here. It would be great if we find ways to either pay for them to do internships or give them other incentives to do work up here. The bottom line is that we need to involve more Hawaiians in these job roles."

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Scott Kekuewa Kikiloi

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