COE Faculty and Staff > Educational Administration > Erin Kahunawai

  • No Photo AvailableErin Kahunawai Wright

    Assistant Professor


    • Educational Administration


    • 2003 PhD Higher Education UCLA
    • 1997 MA Higher Education UCLA
    • 1995 BA Hawaiian Studies UH Mānoa

    Area(s) of Interest

    • Native Hawaiian higher educational journeys, Indigenous student success

    Brief Biography

    I am Kanaka ʻŌiwi Hawaiʻi (Native Hawaiian) from Kalihi, Oʻahu raised on the land that has fostered my mother’s family for the last five generations. My genealogical ties extend to West O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, and Southern China. Currently, I serve as an assistant professor for the Educational Administration program in the College of Education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Previously, I served as the founding Director of Native Hawaiian Student Services (NHSS) at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, an award-winning program designed to support all Native Hawaiians interested in pursuing higher education in ways that are culturally-grounded and community-minded. My scholarly work focuses on understanding the intersections of Native Hawaiian and Indigenous Pacific Islander identities and higher education and the ways these insights inform educational environments and kuleana lāhui. My scholarly endeavors focus on centering Indigenous voices and epistemologies and prioritize partnerships, collaboration, justice, and relevance beyond academia. Thus, I've disseminated and utilized my research in a variety of ways including successful grant proposals, book chapters, technical reports, and journal articles. Among my most recent publications are two co-edited books, A Nation Rising: Hawaiian movements for life, land, and sovereignty (with Noelani Goodyear-Ka‘ōpua and Ikaika Hussey, 2014, Duke University Press) and Kanaka ʻŌiwi Methodologies: Mo‘olelo and Metaphor (co-edited with Kapā Oliveira, 2015, University of Hawai‘i Press).

    Contact Information

    Office Phone



    Wist 222



    No home page provided.

    Curriculum Vitae


    Scholarly Works

      Book Chapters

    • Wright, E. K., & Balutski, B. J. N. (2015). Ka ‘ikena a ka Hawai‘i: Towards a Kanaka ‘Ōiwi Critical Race Theory. In K. R. K. N. Oliveira & E. K. Wright (Eds.), Hawai‘inuiākea Book Series IV: Kanaka ‘Ōiwi methodologies: Mo‘olelo and metaphor. Honolulu, HI: University of Hawaiʻi Press.