Eight original members founded Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in the Spring of 1980.


Eugene “Geno” Kaupiko Jr.

Eugene “Geno” Kaupiko was first elected president of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in 1980. A lifetime resident of Miloliʻi, Uncle Geno attended the Kamehameha Schools on Oahu and lived in Honolulu as a Waikiki Beachboy in the 1940ʻs and 1950ʻs. Uncle Geno was always the life of any Miloliʻi luau and he would often treat the audience to an impromptu Hula that would have made even Uncle George Naope proud..


Peter Kahele

Peter Kahele was born to Peter and Rebecca Kahele in Miloliʻi. He served his country in the United States Army before he retired and moved back to Miloliʻi. He was an avid fisherman and always involved in community activities. He passed away from cancer at a young age in 1987.


Francis Halena

Francis Halena was a founding member of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in 1980. A lifetime resident and fisherman he always went out of his way to help someone in the village.


Delfredo Llanes

Delfredo Llanes was a founding member of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in 1980. An expert fisherman and lifelong resident of Miloliʻi, he lived his life on the ocean. He was active in the community and was instrumental in the filming of the documentary “Song of South Kona” in 1985.


Eugene Chang

Eugene Chang was a founding member of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in 1980. The Chang family home is situated right next to the Miloliʻi county beach park and has been there for generations.


Wilfred Kaupiko

Wilfred Kaupiko is from Miloliʻi, the Last Hawaiian Fishing Village. His parents are Eugene and Sarah Kaupiko. He grew up in Miloliʻi, attended high school at Lahainaluna boarding program. After high school he served the country during the Vietnam war in which he served four years. He is a Vietnam War veteran. During his early years he lived on Oahu in which he was a beach boy and life guard on Oahu, he paddled for Waikiki Beach Boys. He later returned to Miloliʻi to help his parents business and raise his family. Uncle Willy as many of his friends refer to him as is an avid ocean person and loves to fish & dive. He owns his own refuse removal business and hauls potable water. He attends the Hau’oli Kamana’o Church in Miloliʻi, and he continues to advocate for causes that protect the precious resources of Miloliʻi, especially the ocean. He is strong beleiver that it is your kuleana to malama your place and to be thankful for what you have, thus as a community leader he always works to protect the cause and fights for what he believeʻs is right.



Robert Yanabu

Robert Yanabu was born June 13th 1942, in Pahala. His parents were Jiro and Sato Yanabu. Bob was raised in Hilo and graduated from Hilo High School in 1960 just after the tsunami hit Hilo. He has lived his whole life in the islands except for a few years in Los Angeles which he found too cold. He met his wife, Jane on Ala Moana Beach. They have been married 47 years and are still deeply devoted to each other. They have one daughter. He attended UH Manoa, UCLA and USC, graduating with a Masters in Civil Engineering. Bob worked for the County of Hawaiʻi for almost 40 years and at one point was Chief Engineer of the Department of Public Works Engineering Department. He is politically liberal, fiscally conservative and socially easy going. He likes to read newspapers and magazines and watch football and the news. He likes beef stew, chili with hot dogs and donburi. One of the highlights of his life was Nixonʻs resignation. His latest passions are Okinawan history and beating cancer for the second time.


Gilbert Kahele

Gilbert Kahele was born in Kalihi on May 15th 1942 to Peter and Rebecca Kahele. Gil spent the early years of his life growing up in Miloliʻi before Peter and Becky moved to Hilo to pursue an education for their children.  After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Gil moved his family back to Hilo and he started to return to the place of his youth, Miloliʻi.  Realizing the village needed a voice to champion its concerns he was the driving force behind the establishment of Paʻa Pono Miloliʻi in 1980. Through the years he has been an active member of the organization, co-produced the documentary the “Song of South Kona”. In 2011 Governor Neil Abercrombie appointed Uncle Gil to the Hawaiʻi State Senate. One of his shining legislative achivements in his first year was the establishment of the South Kona Wilderness Area, an area roughly 6000 acres from Honomalino to Kalanamauna dedicated to nature and conservation for perpetuity. Sadly, Uncle Gil passed away on January 26th 2016, he was 73 years old.