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Maui Mournes Loss Of “Na’i” Kana, “Tuku” Kana and Tyson Latham

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In a story today in the Maui News, "Young men mourned by community" a tribute to the three young men is cause for all of us to pause and bow our heads. The three are 20-year-old Na’ilimakuwai’oleokekulamehamehaokaluna’iu’iuokeahua "Na’i" Kana; his 17-year-old brother, Kalamakuokana’auao "Tuku" Kana, both of Waihee; and their cousin, 20-year-old Tyson Latham of Wailuku. Th crash occurred on Kahekili Highway on 30 September.

KANA FAMILY photo courtesy of the Maui News

Na‘ilima Kana poses with his 1-year-old daughter, Kaha-li‘aoku‘uhaola Kana-Yarborough. Kana was 20.

St. Anthony Church holds services for the three in the Keanae YMCA gym. Burial will follow at the St. Gabriel’s Church Cemetery. The Maui News story shows the loving nature of the family and highlights the devastating loss.

"I don’t know what words to express our heartfelt sympathy to such a loving family," said Kapono’ai Molitau, co-kumu hula of Na Hanona Kulike ‘O Pi’ilani, where the Kana brothers’ younger sister was a student.

Molitau said the brothers sometimes picked up their sister from hula practice.

"They were very respectful kids," he said. "They would always make sure they would say aloha. If they’re anything like their parents or anything like their sister, they’re very respectful gentlemen and very loving.

"It’s just too soon. They were just getting started in their adult life."

Latham worked in the county Aquatics Division as a summer lifeguard where he was remembered as "respectful, kindhearted and fun" by Fran Yamamoto, an Aquatics Division official. Latham had been talking about going to college.

"They just remember him to be just a great guy to work with," Yamamoto said.

The single car crash occurred on Kahekili Highway north of Wilipohaku Street in Waihee.

Na’i Kana was driving a 2004 Mazda sedan headed north when he lost control of the car. The vehicle crossed the centerline before returning to the northbound lane and continuing off the highway, hitting an embankment, where it overturned and came to rest against a tree, police said.

Lei, ti leaves and candles have been placed at the crash site on Kahekili Highway. According to the maui News:

Na’i Kana worked at Akaku: Maui Community Television, editing the Maui Daily weekly news program. His brother, Tuku, also known as "Kalamaku," was a senior in the Hawaiian language immersion program at King Kekaulike High School. Susan Scofield, principal at King Kekaulike High School, remembered Kalamaku:

"We are all very sad he didn’t have that opportunity to fulfill his dreams," she said. "It’s pretty sad when a young person goes so early."

School counselors, behavioral health specialists, and Maui Police Department chaplains and crisis workers are helping friends and all students with counseling sessions. Counselors remained available to students through the end of the week, she said. Tuku Kana was still alive in critical condition at the time.

In the Maui News story Scofield said she appreciated the support extended to the school, especially by police.

"They are really angels to us," she said.

Both Na’i and Tuku Kana started their Hawaiian language immersion education at Punana Leo O Maui preschool. Na’i continued in the Hawaiian immersion program until his freshman year of high school, when he was accepted into Kamehameha Schools Maui.

Henohea Kane, lead teacher for Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Kekaulike, the Hawaiian language immersion program at King Kekaulike High School, knew both brothers from the time they were young children.

The program is like a family, she said. "To lose two Kaiapuni students whose mother was a Kaiapuni teacher for many, many years is really difficult," she said by e-mail.

"What I remember most about Na’i is his heart that showed in his personality and in his smile," Kane said. "Na’ilima was warm, sweet and very respectful. He was definitely someone who could light up a room when he walked in. Always smiling, always considerate of others, I always saw his mother in his ‘ano (personality) every time I was around him, such a nurturing kanaka Hawai’i (Hawaiian man)."

She said Kalamaku, a student at Kula Kaiapuni ‘o Kekaulike, was set to graduate in May.

"Kalamaku enjoyed life, he was a very talented singer, such a beautiful and soulful voice!" she said.

Hulali Canha, a classmate and friend of Na’i, remembered his involvement in many school activities at Kamehameha Schools Maui. He played volleyball as a freshman and sophomore, served as sophomore class representative, junior class president and senior class vice president.

Na’i enjoyed working in media, graphic design and video production and helped with the school newspaper and production team, Canha said.

"Everything he did, he did with a passion," she said. "He had so much fun doing what he did while making lifelong friends and memories along the way. His easygoing, fun-loving energy and his smile were contagious."

Friends also said the brothers had a passion for Hawaiian culture and enjoyed working in the loi, or taro patch.

Yamamoto said Latham had just started working as a summer lifeguard in September and worked at various pools on Maui.

"He left a wonderful impression on the public as well as his co-workers," she said.

I have written two articles on this tragedy. The losses will be remembered. These young men will not be forgotten.

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  1. Maikalani says:
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    im guna miss my cousins. Three beatiful souls and three amazing people to grow up with. You will never be forgotten and even though its been a month since you passed it feels like it was just yesterday when i was with you boys. I love you na’i, kalamaku & tys