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Clifford Nae‘ole honored with Historic Preservation Award

By Staff | Jun 11, 2021

A student of Hawaiian chant and hula, Clifford Nae‘ole is an active supporter of Maui’s Hawaiian language immersion schools. PHOTO BY THE RITZ-CARLTON, KAPALUA.

KAPALUA — Clifford Nae’ole, community advocate and Hawaiian cultural advisor for The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, was recently recognized with a Historic Preservation Award from the Historic Hawaii Foundation during its 47th annual Preservation Honor Awards.

The awards recognize and celebrate excellence in historic preservation in the Hawaiian Islands, and Nae’ole’s individual award honors his exemplary achievements in advocacy, education, programming and preservation efforts.

“Clifford is an integral part of our mission to support Native Hawaiian culture and history,” said Andrew Rogers, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

“We are delighted that he has received this prestigious honor and we are lucky to count him as our cultural advisor, friend and colleague.”

During the awards ceremony, Nae’ole thanked his friends, family and colleagues who gathered for a virtual watch party at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.

“I am happy to accept this on behalf of everyone involved with the protection and preservation of Honokahua past and present,” he said. “This is our award.”

As the resort’s Hawaiian cultural advisor, Nae’ole has educated and advised thousands of employees, guests and visitors for nearly 30 years.

He is a pioneer in the development of educational programs for the visitor industry, hotel employees and guests on proper Hawaiian protocol, cultural traditions and mo’olelo (storytelling).

Born and raised on Maui, Nae’ole is dedicated to creating bridges between the Hawaiian culture and the contemporary business world. He was part of the initial planning and serves as chairman of Celebration of the Arts, the annual festival recognizing the people, the art and the culture of the Hawaiian Islands.

He is highly respected for his knowledge of Hawaiian culture, language and history, and as an advocate for the preservation of burial sites and other sacred places.

In the late 1980s, Nae’ole played an instrumental role in the preservation of an unmarked burial site at Honokahua. Now, the burial site is protected as a wahi kapu (sacred place) and listed on the Hawaii Register of Historic Places.

While Nae’ole has been the dedicated steward of Honokahua for nearly 30 years at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua, he believes that everyone — past, present and future — needs to learn about this sacred place and honor it now and forever. Nae’ole and The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua offer a weekly “Sense of Place” video, discussion and walk to the border of the Honokahua Preservation Site, which is open to the public as well as guests and visitors.

To see the full list of 2021 Preservation Honor Award recipients, visit https://historichawaii.org/awards-2021-2. Historic Hawaii Foundation’s preservation awards have been presented annually since 1975. They recognize projects that perpetuate, rehabilitate, restore or interpret the state’s architectural and cultural heritage.

The honorees are selected by a committee comprised of professionals in architecture, history, planning, landscape architecture, architectural history and media. Each nomination is considered on its own merits and not in competition with others.