Founder – North Shore EcoTours
Born in Waikīkī at the old Kaiser Hospital and raised in Kaimukī, Keola has always been fond of Oʻahu’s “South Shore.” However, since his Hawaiian ancestry descends through his grandmother, Elsie Liko Hummel (AhNee), from Hale’iwa, O’ahu, Keola has also developed a deep connection with the island’s North Shore.
From an early age he developed a profound respect for Hawaiian culture and nature. His formative years were filled with island outdoor activities such as: hiking, surfing, spear diving, canoe paddling, etc. Eventually, his aloha for cultural knowledge and desire to serve the Hawaiian community led him to also be involved in hula – Hawaiʻi’s traditional dance.
Hula has become a constant companion for Keola over the years. It is a journey that has been challenging as much as it has been rewarding. Hula has helped to define his identity and has become the lens through which he understands the world. It has provided him with a unique connection to his cultural heritage and the Hawaiian natural environment. Throughout his hula career, Keola has been privileged to perform in a variety of venues ranging from local backyard parties, to prestigious hula competitions, to international dance productions. Keola remains eternally grateful to his Kumu Hula, Sonny Ching, his extended hula ʻohana, and the many hālau supporters who have made his hula aspirations possible.
Keola is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He has a Bachelor’s of Arts and a Master’s Degree in Hawaiian Studies with an emphasis in mālama ʻāina (Hawaiian natural environment) and kumu kahiki (comparative Polynesian studies). His thesis entitled Rapa Nui-Hawaiʻi Connections: A Translation of Geo-Etimoligia de la Isla de Pascua analyzes Rapa Nui place names in comparison to those of Hawaiʻi and the greater Pacific.
Since 2004, Keola has worked as an instructor at the University of Hawaiʻiʻs Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies. He is also a Cultural Specialist for Kamehameha Schools in the Hoʻokahua Hawaiian Culture Development Office.
In 2008, Keola married the “love of his life”, the ever beautiful Tasha Kawamata Ryan. In 2011, they formed North Shore EcoTours (NSET) – an educational tour company focusing on the beauty of Hawaiian nature through the lens of Native Hawaiian values and culture. Today NSET offers hiking, off-road and other cultural experiences for Hawaiʻi visitors, educational groups, and visiting hālau hula.
North Shore EcoTours has allowed Keola the opportunity to merge his diverse backgrounds in Hawaiian academia, traditional cultural practice, and natural Hawaiian environment with his interests in sustainable Hawaiian communities. As such, Keola brings a unique perspective to the topic of Indigenous entrepreneurship and is always more than happy to share his love and knowledge of Hawaiʻi with visitors and conference attendees.
For more information, on North Shore EcoTours, call 1-888-521-HIKE (4453) or visit www.NorthShoreEcoTours.com.