Hawai'i State News

Former governor, Big Island CEO, Maui attorney appointed to University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents

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Hawai’i Gov. Josh Green appointed three new members to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents. L-R: Global Resiliency Hub CEO Alapaki Nahale-a, attorney Lauren Akitake and former Hawaiʻi Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

Gov. Josh Green appointed former Hawaiʻi Gov. Neil Abercrombie, Global Resiliency Hub CEO Alapaki Nahale-a of the Big island and attorney Lauren Akitake to the University of Hawaiʻi Board of Regents.

If confirmed by the Hawai‘i State Senate, they will fill Hawai’i County, Maui and Honolulu seats for five-year terms beginning July 1, 2023.

Green chose Abercrombie, Akitake and Nahale-a from a list of finalists presented to him from the Candidate Advisory Council.

Abercrombie’s long and varied public service career spans five decades. The now 84-year-old served the State of Hawai’i from 2010 to 2014 as its seventh governor, from 1975 to 1979 in the House of Representatives and 1980 to 1986 in the Senate.


In 1986, Abercrombie won a seat in Congress in a special election to complete the term of a resigning member Cecil Heftel of the U.S. House of Representatives.

He also served on the Honolulu City Council from 1988 to 1990 before returning to Congress to serve 10 consecutive terms from 1990 through 2010. During his years in Congress, he was especially committed to the protection of the Northwest Hawaiian Islands — Papahānaumokuākea, and he co-authored landmark legislation to build, manage and maintain housing for military families. He is an author and holds an M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Hawai‘i.

Hilo native Nahale-a is the CEO of the Global Resiliency Hub at ‘Iole in Kohala on the Big Island. ‘Iole honors the 2,408-acre historic ahupua‘a being managed by Global Resiliency where it is modeling how regenerative governance can create a world that is not only sustainable, but regenerative, leading to abundance for people and the environment.

Nahale-a has spent more than 30 years serving the community in various roles including director and chair of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and various roles at Kamehameha Schools, including senior director of community engagement and resources for Hawai‘i Island. He also has served on a variety of community boards and commissions.


He is a 1986 graduate of Kamehameha Schools and earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania.

Akitake, born and raised on Maui, is a private practice attorney and per diem District Court Judge who taught business law at the University of Hawai‘i Maui College.

She has more than 15 years of experience in diverse areas of law, including: estate planning, probate and trust litigation, estate and trust administration, civil litigation, business law, collection law, and representing clients in conservatorship and guardianship proceedings.

Prior to starting her law office six years ago, she practiced in state and federal courts for law firms on Oʻahu and Maui. She earned her juris doctor from the University of Kansas School of Law and obtained a Master of Science degree in applied social research from the University of Stirling, Scotland, while on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship.


She also earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in public policy analysis/politics from Pomona College in California. She graduated in 1999 as valedictorian from Baldwin High School.

The Board of Regents is the governing body of UH and consists of 11 non-compensated volunteer members: five from the City and County of Honolulu, two from Hawaiʻi County, two from Maui County, one from Kauaʻi County and one UH student.

Volunteer members of the UH Candidate Advisory Council:

  • Brigitte Yoshino, chair
  • Lance Wilhelm, vice Chair
  • Blair Odo, secretary
  • Amy Agbayani, member
  • Amy Hennessey, member
  • Brandon Marc Higa, member
  • Dale Nishikawa, member

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