Photo courtesy University of Hawaii
D. Kapuaala Sproat has been named Associate Director of
the Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. The
Center, headquartered at the William S. Richardson School of Law,
specializes in teaching and producing scholarship about Hawaii's
unique culturally based legal framework.
Sproat is a UH Manoa associate professor of law who has won
numerous awards as a teacher and scholar. Her particular expertise
is in the complex realm of water rights.
In 2014, she was a Regents' Medalist for Excellence in Teaching,
the University of Hawaii's highest award for teaching. She also
was named an Outstanding Professor at Richardson Law School in 2013.
Last year, Sproat was singled out for the Distinguished Environmental
Law Education Award for Emerging Scholars by the Academy of Environmental
Law of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. During
the IUCN's recent World Conservation Congress in Honolulu, she was
tapped to offer her expertise as a speaker for the global conference
that drew more than 10,000 delegates to Hawaii from 192 nations.
Sproat recently co-published a 1,400-page research volume on
Native Hawaiian law that touches on everything from traditional
and customary rights to self-determination to securing land titles
and water rights. The volume, titled Native Hawaiian Law: A Treatise,
was co-edited and largely written by Ka Huli Ao Director Melody
Kapilialoha MacKenziewith Sproat and Susan K. Serrano as executive
editors. The book offers a comprehensive overview as well as historical
background for Native Hawaiian law as it relates to state, federal
and international law.
Dean Avi Soifer said Sproat's decision to help lead Ka Huli
Ao is a significant step in what is already a remarkable career.
"People tend to think that Kapua can do anything, and that may be
accurate," Soifer said. "She is a demanding teacher, a first-rate
scholar and a terrific lawyer. She more than encourages her students
and the many others whom she teaches; she actually inspires them."
MacKenzie called Sproat an outstanding colleague who is dedicated
to her students and her community. "Kapua's appointment as Associate
Director recognizes the responsibilities that she has taken on to
increase Ka Huli Ao's administrative capacity and financial resources,"
MacKenzie said. "She is not only an outstanding scholar and teacher,
her advocacy work with rural and Neighbor Island communities speaks
to the core of Ka Huli Ao's mission. We are very fortunate to have
her at the Law School and particularly at Ka Huli Ao."
Sproat joined the Richardson Law School faculty in 2007 as an
Assistant Professor with Ka Huli Ao and the Law School's Environmental
Law Program. She is Director of the Environmental Law Clinic and
teaches courses in Native Hawaiian and Environmental Law, as well
as Legal Research and Writing. Before joining the faculty, she spent
nine years as an attorney in the Hawaii office of Earthjustice,
which is a national public interest environmental litigation firm.
Sproat has a BA from Mills College and a JD from the William
S. Richardson School of Law.