Kohala Institute at ‘Iole Welcomes Crabbe as CEO

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Dr. Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe. Courtesy photo.

The Kohala Institute at ‘Iole (KII) is welcoming Dr. Kamana‘opono M. Crabbe as chief executive officer, effective Oct. 28, 2019.

Members of the board unanimously agreed to approve Dr. Crabbe as the organization’s first CEO. Dr. Crabbe will be tasked with forging a path to better serve the community at large, providing a deeper sense of authentic cultural experience and striving towards greater sustainability in Hawai‘i.

“This is an exciting time for Kohala Institute,” said Thuy Fujimoto, co-founder of KII. “Kamana‘o understands the sacredness and reverence for the land and culture and is a recognized next generation leader in Hawai‘i. He brings with him a vast network of organizations and community experience to strengthen our future. I look forward to the next phase of our growth under Dr. Crabbe’s leadership.”


“After a thorough succession planning to a new board of directors and a comprehensive search process, the board is pleased to have found the best individual to assume the helm of KII,” said Bennett Dorrance, co-founder and owner-operator of Kohala Village Hub, which provides the community with resources to support sustainable agriculture. “Kamana‘o has a track record of strong leadership both in the Hawaiian community and in public service. This combined with his deep cultural knowledge and institutional tenure makes him uniquely qualified to lead KII successfully in the ensuing evolution of the institute.”

Crabbe’s selection draws to a close a three-month search for a CEO to lead KII. For more than seven years, he served as the Ka Pouhana-CEO for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). Prior to OHA, he was the research director from from 2010 to 2012 charged with providing baseline data and research to achieve the results and outcomes of the OHA strategic plan for 2010 to 2018.

“I’m honored and very grateful to the board for the opportunity to lead this exceptional organization of dedicated, innovative and talented professionals,” Dr. Crabbe said. “We hope to build upon the foundations set before us as the stepping stones to produce creative, relevant and insightful programming to collaborate with stakeholders leading Hawai‘i in ‘āina (land) place-based education, ‘ahupua‘a land stewardship best practices, and contribute to the collective impacts of climate change and sustainability in Hawai‘i and when possible far beyond on our shores. This is a terrific opportunity that any leader would welcome.”


Dr. Crabbe, 55, holds a PhD and Masters in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa where he also received his bachelor’s degree. Prior to OHA, he was a practicing licensed clinical psychologist and director of training with the Wai‘anae Coast Comprehensive Health Center. He has been recognized for his professional and community contributions through distinctions such as the Mary Kawena Puku‘i and Abraham Pi‘ianai‘a scholarship, and the 2014 Hawai‘i Psychological Association’s Pat DeLeon Lifetime Achievement Award. Most recently, he was recognized with the 2019 Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award, and honored in September at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement convention.

Aside from his professional career, Dr. Crabbe is the founder and advisor of ‘Aha Kāne, a nonprofit aimed at the advancement of Native Hawaiian men. He is a cultural practitioner in chant, ceremony and haku ho‘oponopono, or conflict resolution. Dr. Crabbe’s ancestral lineage has deep roots and connections to Kohala, Hawai‘i and he is a descendant of the Kana‘auao-Huewa‘a clan who also hail from Kīpahulu-Hana, Maui.

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