My name is Leilani Maxera, and I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I use she/they pronouns. I am a daughter of the Hawaiian diaspora. I was raised in Martinez, California, by the Carquinez Strait and in the shadow of Mount Diablo. I grew up in the homeland of the Karkin and Muwekma Ohlone Tribes and was called home to Hawai’i in my early 30s. I currently live in Mānoa Valley by the Mānoa stream, at the base of Pu’upia of the Koʻolau Range.

I have a Master of Public Health degree with an emphasis in Aging from the University of California – Berkeley and a Master of Social Work degree from Hawaiʻi Pacific University, where I wrote my thesis on home funerals and their effects on grief. I have worked and volunteered in harm reduction since 2007 and feel strongly about reducing the stigma of drug use. I previously managed a statewide syringe exchange and overdose prevention program, and currently work with other syringe exchange and service organizations to support their staff.

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Kaipuokaualoku is a Hawaiian phrase that translates literally to the ipu of torrential rains. An ipu is a bottle gourd that may be used as a vessel for many things, including water. While ua loku’s literal translation is that of a strong rain, the figurative meaning is intense emotion. As the torrential rains collect in the ipu, the ua loku in the ipu becomes still and calm. I chose Kaipuokaualoku to be the name of my practice as it is my kuleana to be this – a container for the pain and sorrow of those who I serve in my community.

Mahalo and deep respect to Kumu Raymond Uwekalanikauponomekealoha Alejo for this humbling and beautiful gift.


Designed by Kavika Puahi, this logo is a stylized representation of an ipu (see above section about the name for more information).

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