The Friends of Iolani Palace announced Thursday that its board of directors has selected Paula Akana as its new executive director, effective July 8.

“As a well-respected journalist and community leader, Paula brings with her a deep love of Hawaii, our history, and our culture, and will be instrumental in helping us continue to promote our mission and share the stories of our monarchy and the Palace, here in Hawaii and around the world,” said Lissa Guild Eveleth, president of the board, in a press release.

Paula Akana. 

Akana has spent more than 30 years in communications with KITV, a Civil Beat media partner.

“I am humbled and honored to be asked to help lead the Friends of Iolani Palace. The Palace has always held a special place in my heart,” said Akana. “I want to mahalo KITV for allowing me to share stories of the Palace and our Hawaiian culture for the past 35 years. I now look forward to not only sharing the Palace’s story with the world, but also, along with the board, staff and volunteers, to continue to restore and protect this wahi pana.”

Akana is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools and received her bachelor of arts degree in journalism with a minor in Hawaiian anthropology and archeology from the University of Hawaii Manoa, according to the press release.

She is also involved with local nonprofit organizations.

Akana succeeds Kippen de Alba Chu, who left in January after more than 12 years in the position.

Iolani Palace was the home of Hawaii’s last reigning monarchs and served as the official royal residence until the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893. It is a registered National Historic Landmark.

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