Nakua Konohia-Lind was in 7th grade when Rick Rutiz and a group of high school students from Ma Ka Hana Ka ‘Ike came to build a portable house for his great-grandmother. 

Konohia-Lind was, as his great-grandmother would say, “niele,” and when he wasn’t helping make lunch for the workers, he slipped outside to ask how he could help. Some of the older kids were skeptical. Rutiz wasn’t. 

“If he wants to learn, it’s better for us,” Rutiz said, and handed him a sander. 

Konohia-Lind got to work on some pieces of 4-by-4, and “after that, I pretty much got hooked,” he said. 

The sanding lessons that started in a Hana backyard would take Konohia-Lind from building cottages to repairing the voyaging canoe Hokule’a and later captaining the canoe during its homecoming tour. Now, the 24-year-old hopes to give back to the community with the tools he’s gained at home and abroad.

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