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Shaftton (Brook) Kaupu-Cabuag


On May 18, 1982, Brook Ka’upu-Cabuag was born to a fishing village on the south shores of Kona, Hawai’i. Brook and her siblings were raised by their single grandmother who taught Brook about lei making, shoreline pole fishing, and coastal urchin gathering practices and rituals. Brook’s kinship relationship to the ocean is not observed so much by many these days but Brook has dedicated her life to fostering this type of relationship to aina with her nieces and nephews. After her paternal grandmother passed away, Brook was sent to live with her maternal grandparents. This time of her life was dedicated to love and family. Brook is the oldest grandchild of her maternal grandparents. They gave Brook everything she needed to grow up understanding what love is founded on; God.

Throughout Brook’s childhood, she gained perspective on both sides of social class. Her paternal side was poverty and her maternal side was well-fed. She was raised in a fishing village where food stamps were the means for meals and trade but later moved to a paniolo community where her classmates’ parents owned 2 or more cars and at least one horse. Brook grew up with the realization that a lack of education, resources, and understanding may result in unobtainable goals but as a child raised with the ability to learn, parents who praised God, and an extended family that appreciated culture, Brook was able to capture 2 Master Degrees in education, a career as a Hawaiian immersion classroom teacher, a community leader status who still returns to Miloli’i to teach every summer, and a reputation of a person who genuinely cares. Brook is not a candidate for Governor of the State of Hawaii, rather she is more effective at the community level, face-to-face, and hands-on change.

She was an elementary teacher for 15 years and understands their needs, and lack of understanding, but they are deserving of an amazing life. Her students were treated as if they were her own children. They were given the same opportunities and resources granted to her as a child. In 2022, Brook decided that she has promoted and supported the growth of many young minds and now she must protect and serve the legacies from which these young minds are accountable; the Kupuna. The Kupuna are the retainers of precious knowledge and traditions and is the catalyst that created this beautiful world. Brook has committed the next decade of her life to protect Kupuna and creating a space of comfort and eliminating confusion and frustration. It is our turn to malama those who have paved the way for us to prosper. Brook is committed to easing the golden years of her kupuna in the most comfortable way possible. Her devotion to her grandparents are the reason why she is committed to helping kupuna thrive. E ola mau e na kupuna! Let our ancestors’ legacies live on through the work we do today!

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