E Kipa Mai – Welcome!

Established in 2001 by the Friends of Moku‘ula, a 501c(3) nonprofit cultural organization, Maui Nei Native Expeditions grew out of community interest to conserve and restore the historic site of Moku‘ula’s natural and cultural resources while providing an engine for economic development and revenue. As a program of Friends of Moku‘ula, Maui Nei has kept history and culture alive for Maui’s residents and visitors, sharing Hawai‘i’s traditions, stories, arts, skills and a sense of place.

Since then, over 16,000 visitors have experienced a guided Maui Nei walking tour of Lahaina’s historic sites, including Moku‘ula and Mokuhinia. More than 12,000 residents, teachers and students have received educational tours and presentations at the Moku‘ula restoration site.

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Maui Nei Native Expeditions supports the principles of sustainable tourism as established by the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Association, which addresses operating principles in the following content areas:  Environmental Management; Cultural Interpretation Management; Staff Management; Consumer Evaluation Management and Marketing Management. To learn more, click the Hawai‘i Ecotourism Certified logo. 

Meet Our Kumu (Teachers/Guides)

Maui Nei tours are guided and presented by Native Hawaiian cultural practioners, who weave their own family stories handed down through generations with historical facts and traditional skills for a uniquely personal look at the real Hawai‘i.

Keoki Sousa
Keoki Sousa
Keoki is one of Maui Nei’s first kumu and has been working continually with the organization. He thoroughly enjoys sharing his ‘ike (knowledge) and aloha with students, residents and visitors, entertaining them with his voice and charisma.

Returning to his ancestral home of Maui in 1989, Keoki was trained and nurtured by respected Hawaiian elders who shared their cultural knowledge and wisdom with him, and encouraged him to perpetuate their traditional practices. He is acknowledged as a practitioner of Hawaiian healing traditions, including la‘au lapa‘au (using prayer, medicinal plants and herbs to facilitate healing individuals and their families), lomilomi (hands-on healing) and ho‘oponopono (traditional protocol to restore spiritual and emotional harmony with an extended family).

Keoki’s formal education includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology and Asian philosophy, and graduate studies in educational psychology at Stanford University.

Wainani Kealoha
Wainani Kealoha
Born in Honolulu, Wainani lived on O‘ahu for nine years until her family moved to California where she finished her academic education. Returning to Hawai‘i, she settled in Kailua-Kona and danced in local hula shows, starting with special engagements at the Mauna Lani Bay Hotel and then for several years at the Kona Village Resort.

When Wainani joined Halau Na Lei O Ka Holoku with Kumu Hula Nani Lim Yap and Leialoha Amina, she delved deeper into Hawaiian culture. There she learned the art of oli (chant), how to do research for mele (song), the Hawaiian protocol for ceremonies, and to understand life from a Hawaiian perspective. She has been privileged to travel to Aotearoa (New Zealand), Tahiti, the U.S. mainland and share hula with the world. After moving to Maui, Wainani began working with Maui Nei in 2003 and continued studying Hawaiian culture and history. As kumu, Wainani enthusiastically shares her knowledge of history, kalo (taro) cultivation and lauhala weaving. She is also a talented hula performer.

Kalapana Kollars
Kalapana Kollars
An entertainer and educator of 20-year tenure, Kalapana has for the past 16 years been part of the acclaimed production, ‘Ulalena, as a musician and stage performer. Kalapana also performs traditional Hawaiian music throughout Maui and loves to share the stories behind Native Hawaiian language songs.

As an educator, Kalapana has worked with the Kamehameha Schools Extension Education Services, teaching cultural-based curriculum to Hawaiian children. He also works with the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s education program as a teaching artist in public schools on Maui.

As a hula dancer, chanter and Hawaiian nose flute maker, Kalapana has traveled internationally. He has been sharing Hawai‘i’s rich history and culture with Maui Nei guests as kumu since 2008 as well as his knowledge of Hawaiian cordage making.

Maile Keawe Bryan
Maile Keawe Bryan
From the sandy shores of Kailua on O‘ahu, Maile is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and is firmly rooted in Native Hawaiian culture. She learned hula with Bella Richards in Kailua and danced professionally with Kamoiwa Productions. After high school, she traveled to Japan to dance hula and share her culture with the world.

Maile worked as a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines in Hawai‘i and Delta Airlines on the U.S. mainland, traveling extensively through Europe, Hong Kong and Japan. She returned to Hawai‘i to get married and start a family. Maile and her husband have four children together.

Today, Maile works as a Hawaiian cultural practitioner, teaching visitors Hawaiian arts and skills, including traditional printmaking, weaving, feather lei making, hula and history. She has been a kumu with Maui Nei since 2010.

Anuhea Yagi
Anuhea Yagi
Anu is a true Maui girl and award-winning writer. An animated orator with heartfelt zest for Hawaiian culture, she aims to contextualize Hawai‘i’s complex history to reveal real relevance in our modern world. In 2012, her slice-of-life insights in the local publication MauiTime earned Anu the Association of Alternative Newsmedia’s award for best weekly column in the U.S. and Canada (a first for Hawaiian writers).

Anu was diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia on Day of the Dead 2009, and ever since often says, “I love my cancer—let me tell you why!” In perennial pursuit of kanaka maoli studies, Anu is a dedicated student of Dr. Mitchell Eli and Kahu Lyons Kapi‘ioho Naone, exploring the Hawaiian disciplines of traditional medicine and warrior arts. Maui Nei welcomed her as kumu in 2015 and she has been sharing her cultural knowledge with guests ever since.