The Mission

The Nakoa Foundation examines the Hawaiian sailing canoe from the forest to the ocean to inspire a thirst for knowledge, promoting good decision-making, self-reliance, sustainability and competent Hawaiian leaders.  Our focus is to create a sense of place and develop the intellectual skills and cultural values needed to navigate life’s challenges.

The Board

The Nakoa Foundation Board Members are volunteers and come from  a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.  What brings them together is their passion for creating a brighter future and  their deep love for Hawaii,  its culture and its people. 


President Nakoa Foundation-Instructor/ Nā Peʻa program

Executive Director of Hui Aloha Kīholo. Watch Captain Hokuleʻa WW Voyage...

Shari Jumalon

Vice President Nakoa Foundation/Nā Peʻa Program Instructor/Educational Consultant

Outreach Instructor, Kanu O Ka 'Aina Charter School

Zara Nicholson

Secretary-Treasurer Nakoa Foundation

Accountant Nicholson Construction  

Abel Aquino

Director/Publicity/Fund Raising/Community Relations

Grafic Artist by Trade Public Relations and promotions  Manager for  "Current Events Magazine Kailua Kona

Bambi Worst


Tour Boat Owner/Operator

Kalani Nakoa

Director/Nā Peʻa Program Instructor

​Owner and operator of Eka Canoe Adventures . 

Raynette (Kalei) Haleamau-Kam


 Interim Director, Hawaiʻi Community College-Pālamanui

Ruth Mersburg


Nā Peʻa Crew Member for 5 years and a senior in High School

Charlene Mershburg


Mom of two Nā Peʻa crew members.  HR Roberts Hawaii

Dale Fergerstrom

Director/Nā Peʻa Program instructor

Maintains equipment.

Alika Mcguire


Advises the foundation on operational matters..

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The Nakoa Foundation

Established in 2008 by Kalani Nakoa, the Nakoa Foundation started out as a one man operation with no money,  What it did have was a lot of ALOHA .  Kalani used his personal outrigger canoes to teach children seamanship, water safety and the core values that guide the Foundation today.  It was his work with the Casey Family Foundation and physically abused children along with his work with the Konawena Middle School "No Child Left Ashore" program,  that caught the attention of members of the larger Kona community.  They  saw  the value in this program and got involved.  Funding and administrative support from the National Parks Service's  Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail ,  its Trail Support Association and  other Kona Community Organizations  has allowed the Nakoa Foundation to grow and its programs to mature.




Nā Peʻa Program Instructor

E. Kalani Flores, Professor Hawaiian Studies, Hawaii Community College, Palamamui,  Volunteers as curriculum content adviser and program instructor.