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Abercrombie appoints Kiaaina as DLNR deputy director


Gov. Neil Abercrombie has announced the appointment of Esther Puakela Kiaaina to the deputy director position of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

Kiaaina fills the vacancy left by Guy Kaulukukui who resigned in August. She begins Oct. 15, 2012.

“Esther is committed to public service and is passionate about our land and natural resources,” Abercrombie said. “Her breadth of experience in policy and land management complements what we are doing in our New Day plans.”

“I couldn’t be happier knowing that Esther will be a part of the DLNR team,” DLNR Director William Aila said. “She is eager to get to work and I’m looking forward to working with her.”

Kiaaina has more than 20 years of experience in developing and implementing policy on issues that concern the State of Hawaii. She is the former chief advocate at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and former land asset manager of The Kamehameha Schools’ Land Assets Division.

Kiaaina has worked for U.S. Sen. Daniel Akaka, Congressman Robert Underwood, and Congressman Ed Case.

Some of the initiatives that she worked on include: the Kalaupapapa Memorial Act, the Coral Reef Conservation and Protection Act, the Compact-Impact Reimbursement Act, the Brown Tree Snake Control and Eradication Act, the Apology Resolution, and the Hawaiian Home Lands Recovery Act.

After 20 years of service in Washington, D.C., Kiaaina returned home and now resides in Nanakuli, Oahu.

A graduate of the University of Southern California, Kiaaina holds bachelor’s degrees in political science and international relations. She also holds a juris doctor from the George Washington University Law School.

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