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Cliff 'Bruddah' Kapono

Cliff 'Bruddah' Kapono is an anomaly, in the greatest sense of the word.

From independent filmmaking, to involvement in the Mauna Kea and Thirty Meter Telescope dispute, Cliff’s talents range from the arts to the sciences.

Cliff's unsatiated curiosity, coupled with an open mind and grounded demeanor, makes for a very genuine and passionate individual. Refreshing is an understatement.

In so many ways, Cliff is the personification of a bridge - a bridge that spans across the Pacific ocean, connecting the emerald green islands of Hawai'i with California's golden coast and the rest of the 'main land'.

As a born and bread Hawaiian living on the 'main land', a scientist, surfer, academic, artist, and humanitarian, Cliff is attempting to marry two worlds; one of science and the other of the human heart; one of ancient tradition and the other of new technology; one of calculated hypothesis and the other of innate wisdom.

Cliff studies chemistry with an emphasis in coral reef systems at the University of California San Diego. Similar to the Polynesian seafarers, Cliff left his home on the Big Island for a new and foreign land, UCSD, with the intention of 'learning their language' so to speak; he needed a way to bridge the communication gap between his community's traditional approach to conservation and that of the nonindigenous science community.

Fluid communication will be necessary if an ideal resolution is to happen between the scientists behind the Thirty Meter Telescopes on Mauna Kea and the local Hawaiians of the Big Island. Cliff could possibly serve as a conduit for this communication.

In an interview with Mana Magazine, Cliff said:

"A lot of times, when I present my data to the scientific community, it appears [to them] as if I have discovered something new. The only thing I really discovered is it's taking me a whole lot of time, money and resources to say the exact same things our kupuna said a long time ago."

Cliff sees science as a tool to create a (hopefully) positive impact in the community. But there is a discord between science and communities, and Cliff wishes to change this by applying science on a very human level with tradition in mind.

"Having spent much time across our Islands, I have become well aware of the segregation between Hawai'i's developers, contemporary scientists and native community members. I can only hope that, being formerly trained in modern non indigenous science, I can better understand multiple scientific perspectives and qualify them against a very traditional frame of thinking."

We feel very fortunate to welcome Cliff to our Waiakea Ohana.


Bio: Fortunate to call Hawaii his home, Cliff’s upbringing has instilled a strong sense of commitment to both his native ancestry as well as his island community. His work as an independent filmmaker allows him to contribute to a diverse array of clients spanning the surf industry to conservation organizations. As a chemistry PhD candidate at the University of California San Diego, he dedicates most of his time researching the molecular space of coral reef systems in hopes of protecting these precious natural resources. Studying the ocean, both in and out of the classroom, has helped him become an active contributor in both the scientific and surfing community. “If we are not intimately a part of the environment we are trying to protect, we will always fall short of our goals. I am honored to join such an inspirational group of like minded individuals who at the end of the day just want to make our home a better place.”


This entry was posted in Big Island, Hawaii, Waiakea Ohana, Cliff Kapono, Mauna Kea