STAFF

JANE AU, PROGRAM DIRECTOR

Jane Lokomaikaʻikeakua Au was raised on the shores of Māeaea, on the island of Oʻahu. She is a daughter, sister, moʻopuna, artist, and enthusiast of nature. She obtained her BA and MA in Religion at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she focused on Hawaiian Religious beliefs and practices. She has spent several years studying religious theory, focusing in particular on indigenous belief systems and their inherent messages of sustainability. She strives to incorporate traditional Hawaiian aesthetics, genres, and epistemologies in her work. In 2018 she successfully defended her Master’s thesis on Kanaloa, the principle oceanic deity in Hawaiʻi, using rarely accessed Hawaiian Language resources and materials. She currently works as the program director for ʻĀina Momona. Her goal is to work towards a more sustainable future, where humans live in harmony with natural and cultural resources.

MAHINA POEPOE, MOLOKA‘I PROGRAM CO-COORDINATOR

Mahina Poepoe oversees ‘Āina Momona's program activities on Moloka‘i. She has a successful background in business and uses her skills to help with the administration of the organization's projects. She also often works on the land helping to actively care for and restore the island's natural and cultural resources. 

MERCY RITTE MOLOKA‘I PROGRAM CO-COORDINATOR

Mercy Ritte, a wife and mother of four children, invests her time in advocating and promoting healthy lifestyle options in her community. Her experience spans 9 years of community engagement related to issues that impact human health & the environment and 5 years of teaching plant-based cooking classes. She has worked with young children, teens, adults, and kupuna. Mercy currently holds a BA in Psychology, is a certified holistic nutritionist, and is earning her graduate degree in original medicine & naturopathy. 

ALEXA BADER, COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

Alexa Meleana Bader leads ʻĀina Momona's website management, social media, newsletter, and graphics for the organization. Alexa is a proud graduate of Kamehameha Schools and currently holds a BA in Arts Administration with a concentration in Music, Public Relations, Marketing and Communications with a minor in Media Arts from Simmons University in Boston, MA. She is based on Hawaiʻi Island.    

LA‘A POEPOE, ‘ĀINA PROGRAM COORDINATOR

Moloka‘i kua‘āina La‘a Poepoe is a strong aloha ‘āina (Hawaiian patriot) and leads ‘Āina Momona's ‘Āina (land and natural resources) program. He leads the organization's effort to restore land and ocean resources to allow for them to be sustainable and momona (abundant).  

LOHIAO PAOA, WAI PROGRAM MANAGER

Lohiao Paoa leads ‘Āina Momona's Wai (water and sustainability) program. He is a captain with the Polynesian Voyaging Society and leader in restoring fresh water streams on Moloka‘i and restoring health to the island's watersheds. He lives on Moloka‘i with his ‘ohana. 

JOSH PASTRANA, ‘AI PROGRAM MANAGER

Josh Pastrana is an expert in Hawaiian food systems. He has long worked to reopen and mālama lo‘i across Moloka‘i. He leads ‘Āina Momona's ‘Ai (food and health) program, through which he directs the organization's food sovereignty and health activities. He is also directing the organization's efforts to reopen lo‘i in Hālawa Valley.  

KAHO‘OKAHI KANUHA, EA PROGRAM MANAGER

Kaho‘okahi Kanuha leads the organization's Ea (social justice and sovereignty) program. He works with grassroots communities throughout Hawai‘i to raise awareness and capacity around rights, justice, and sovereignty, which are essential to the well-being and future of the Hawaiian people and the Hawaiian Islands. He is based on Hawai‘i Island.