North Shore EcoTours, strives to preserve the cultural integrity of Oʻahu’s natural resources by restoring native forests and creating fun and engaging educational tours for our guests. We promote ‘āina (environmental) appreciation; respect for ‘ike Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian knowledge), sustainable communities. Our goal is to hoʻomana lāhui (empower our island community) by contributing to the local economy, promoting healthy living, and strengthening cultural identity. We believe in: E ola pono, e ola nō (lit. live complete, live well).
North Shore EcoTours provides educational tours in an outdoor setting. Our goal is to provide the highest quality nature and Hawaiian culture tours in the industry. With the help of talented staff and a location that reflects Oʻahu’s incomparable natural environment, we believe that we are well equipped to do so. Meet our ‘ohana.
Noah “Keola” RyanHula, Chant, & Hawaiian History
Keola is a Native Hawaiian born and raised on Oʻahu. His Hawaiian ancestry descends from Kaʻū & Kona on Hawaiʻi Island. His grandmother, Elsie Liko Hummel (AhNee), was born in Haleʻiwa, Oʻahu. As a child, Keola developed an affection for Hawaiian culture and the outdoors. He grew up hiking, surfing, spear diving, canoe paddling, and camping. As demonstrated through his achievements in the Boy Scouting program (Eagle Scout, merit badge counselor, etc.), Keola’s love for nature is also matched by his outdoor abilities and skills.
Keola is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools, a private school for Hawaiian children. He also has a Bachelor’s of Arts and Master’s Degree in Hawaiian Studies with a specialization in mālama ʻāina (Hawaiian natural environment) and kumu kahiki (comparative Polynesian studies). Eager to share his love for Hawaiʻi, Keola has been involved in Hawaiian educational programs throughout the years. He has since taught Hawaiian studies, culture, and history to students ranging from primary-age children to college adults. Most recently, he has taught at Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies, at the University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa.
It was Keola’s deep passion for cultural understanding that brought him to discover one of his true joys: Hula. Hula has been his constant connection to Hawaiian cultural traditions. It has provided him with a solid Hawaiian identity and a special connection to his natural surroundings. As a hula practitioner, Keola has been privileged to participate in a variety of performances, workshops, and competitions ranging from the Hawaiian Islands to the South Pacific, the continental U.S., and several foreign countries. Gaining from every experience, Keola remains eternally grateful to his kumu hula (hula teacher), kūpuna (elders, ancestors), and hula itself.
If there is anything that gives Keola joy, it is sharing his Aloha for Hawaiʻi with others. Therefore, if you’re ever visiting Oʻahu make sure to stop by North Shore EcoTours and “talk stories”!
Keoki NaylonChef & Guide
Keoki was born in the bustling plantation town of ‘Aiea, Oʻahu, headquarters of legendary sugar producer, C&H Sugar. A product of Hawaiʻi’s massive sugar and pineapple industry, Keoki was immersed in an exciting atmosphere of multi-ethnic culture, values, and food. Under his grandfather’s tutelage, Keoki learned to incorporate the flavors of his youth into his culinary creations of today.
Keoki’s achievements are as colorful as his personality. Upon graduation from St. Damien High School he moved to the Big Apple to study dance at New York’s Broadway Dance Studio. Keoki’s relationship with dance is almost as passionate as his relationship with cooking. From performing at football half-time shows to instructing jazz routines at aerobic studios to competing on the prestigious Merrie Monarch Hula stage, Keoki has maintained his great love for dance throughout his life.
Keoki’s magnetism can be attributed to his warm nature and jovial personality. He is a genuine “people person.” His professional talents span multiple service industries – airlines, cruise ships, and restaurants. Keoki has entertained, served, and cared for thousands of people over the years. Most recently, Chef Keoki had the honor to cook for President Obama during one of his recent trips home to the islands.
Building upon a culinary foundation established by his grandfather, Keoki graduated as a chef from the respectable Gros Bonnet Culinary Academy. Since then he has worked as a Saucier and Sous Chef for many fine Honolulu restaurants. Chef Keoki’s humorous personality, plantation roots, and most of all Aloha is always present in his culinary creations. As Head Chef for Indigo’s catering department, Chef Keoki not only possesses the tools and talent to meet the unique demands of “outdoor cuisine”, but the ability to make a “sack lunch” taste out-of-this-world! Your taste buds will think they were in a fine dining restaurant! Prepare to be delightfully surprised with a culinary experience that remains unsurpassed by any other tour operation on the island – Bon Appétit!
Tasha Kawamata RyanGeneral Manager
Tasha is of Japanese & Spanish ancestry. Her family roots in Hawaiʻi extend back several generations to the days of sugar and pineapple plantations. Even though her family had established themselves all throughout the islands, Tasha’s father, Clyde Kawamata, is actually from Wahiawā, Oʻahu. After Clyde graduated from Leilehua High School, he joined the Air Force and moved to Colorado Springs where he settled down and eventually raised his family.
An avid outdoorsman himself, Clyde, had instilled within Tasha a great love for the natural world. Some of Tasha’s fondest childhood memories include fishing and camping experiences with her father. With a desire to familiarize herself with her local Hawai’i family, Tasha moved to Oʻahu in 1999 and attended the University of Hawai’i, Mānoa.
Tashaʻs affinity for the natural environment and hard work ethic earned her a Bachelor’s degree in Biology along with numerous awards and honors. Tasha has gained significant experience working in scientific laboratories both in Hawaiʻi and across the country. Over the years Tasha has also become involved with the local farmer’s markets. Developing and promoting awareness for food sovereignty and locally grown foods, Tashaʻs commitment to healthy living is 100%.
Previous professional experience includes being finance director for a non-profit organization, project coordinator for a public relations firm, and marketing director for the state’s Career Technical Education (CTE) program. Tashaʻs business, marketing, and finance experience along with a passion for the environment are unique qualifications that make her a perfect fit for managing the health and business of North Shore EcoTours.
Kele-Marie Leonahenahe SuniaAdministrative Assistant
Kele was born and raised on the lovely island of Oʻahu. Her Hawaiian ancestry descends from the islands of Hawaiʻi and Oʻahu through her mother, Kimberly Puawailani, and father, Edward “Cooke” Kūlaniakea, respectively. Kele’s grandmother, Elsie Liko, was born in a part of Waialua known commonly today as Haleʻiwa.
Kele attended Hālau Kū Mana, a Hawaiian Charter School focused on education through traditional Hawaiian ‘ike (knowledge). Kele’s innate love for the natural world was complemented by the school’s many hands-on, outdoor activities. Her involvement in traditional food production systems, such as, loʻi kalo (wetland taro agriculture) and loko iʻa (fishponds), have allowed her to make profound connections between Hawaiian cultural practices/values and ‘āina (environment).
Kele is a “water baby.” Her special connection to the ocean has led her to participate in various aspects of waʻa or traditional Hawaiian canoe practices. She is a talented outrigger canoe paddler and even sailed inter-island as a crew member aboard the Kānehūnāmoku, a double-hulled canoe. A gifted “waterwoman,” Kele attended the Shoals Marine Laboratory program under Cornell University on Appledore Island, Maine.
Kele has also taken up a treasured family cultural tradition, Hawaiian quilting. Kele’s great grandmother, Deborah Kepola Umiamaka Kakalia, was a renowned master Hawaiian quilter who passed the artform to her granddaughter, Nalani. Under the careful guidance of Nalani (Kele’s aunty) Kele continues the family tradition. She is currently working on two quilts for her children – ensuring that Kupuna Kakalia’s legacy lives on.
Kele’s greatest passion, however, is no doubt her ‘ohana or family. She is the loving wife of Vili Sunia and the proud mother of Etuini Kūpono & Hōkūkuanalia. Kele’s tremendous aloha for her family and Hawaiian heritage makes her a wonderful addition to the team.
The Hawaiian Islands are known throughout the world for it’s tropical beaches, powerful surf, sweet pineapple, and exotic Polynesian culture. Although none of these are false impressions of Hawaiʻi, they barely scratch the surface of what makes these islands special. For Native Hawaiians and many locals who call these islands home, Hawaiʻi’s uniqueness actually lies in ‘āina (land). ‘Āina is a wonder. From an ecological standpoint, the unique characteristics of Hawaiʻi’s natural environment are considered a scientific marvel. For the Native Hawaiian, ‘āina represents the source of cultural beliefs, artistic expression, values, and identity. And of course, for anyone who lives on or visits the islands, ʻāina sustains and provides life to all regardless of how long or short their stay. Thus Aloha ʻĀina or deep abiding love for ʻāina; environmental stewardship; even patriotism for one’s beloved home, is at the heart of our organization. Aloha ʻĀina defines us and guides our actions. It is who we are and what we love to share. E aloha ʻāina! E ola!