KALAKAUA GARDENS is Oahu’s premier senior living community. Just steps from the heart of Waikiki, Kalakaua Gardens offers a one-of-a-kind senior living experience. The Kalakaua Gardens team has carefully designed spaces for seniors who desire to embrace a vibrant and healthy lifestyle with countless opportunities for meaningful engagement.

Our friendly, dedicated team members embrace a heart for service and a passion for living. We strive to always be kind, serve others with joy, inspire respect, live with honor and continuously improve. We believe each individual is a living treasure of unequaled importance.

Our People

Steve Nawahine

General Manager

After living on the U.S. Mainland for more than 30 years, Oahu born and raised Steve Nawahine is happy to be back in Hawaii leading Kalakaua Gardens.

Nawahine’s career has seen him travel across the globe after graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in International Business Management and Information Systems. He began his career in computer software engineering before transitioning to the healthcare industry almost 10 years ago.

Nawahine was the administrator of an award-winning skilled nursing facility in Utah and the Chief Executive Officer for one of Arizona’s leading senior rehabilitation centers. More recently, Nawahine was the Executive Director of the Chandler Health Care Center in Greater Phoenix, leading a team of 150 people in the operation of a 120 bed skilled nursing and short-term rehabilitation facility.

Nawahine’s leadership style is focused on respect, kindness and a genuine concern for others where ohana, both at home and in the workplace, is top priority. His vision for Kalakaua Gardens is to lead a team that not only possess the necessary skills, qualifications and experience a senior living community requires, but to identify people that embody the true spirit of aloha as individuals in their own right.

The father of six is passionate about coaching which stems from growing up in a football loving family where his father was both a coach and an educator. Nawahine’s other biggest passion and hobby is his six children, who range in ages from four to 22 years. Nothing gives him greater satisfaction than seeing his children happy and successful.

Noreen Cadawas-Padilla

Director of Community Relations

Born and raised on the island of Kauai, Noreen Cadawas-Padilla brings more than 17 years experience in the senior living and healthcare industries to the role of Director of Community Relations at Kalakaua Gardens.

Padilla began her career as a medical assistant before transitioning into the role of Resident Relations Manager at The Plaza Assisted Living. It was in this role where Padilla honed her expertise in anticipating the needs of others and bridging the gap between providing professional care with genuine compassion and personalized care.

For individuals interested in making Kalakaua Gardens their new home, Padilla is often the first person they come into contact with. She enjoys getting to know each and every resident, their families and bringing everyone together in the spirit of Ohana Style Living.

Giving back comes naturally to Padilla who in her spare time enjoys volunteering with various other senior living communities on the island. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and traveling to Seattle to visit her daughter.

Derek Takamoto

Executive Chef

Derek Takamoto has been dishing up delicious meals in Hawaii for more than three decades. He’s cooked for celebrities including the likes of Marlon Brando, held positions at five-star hotels and worked the kitchen at Zippy’s. He is immensely passionate about Kalakaua Gardens leading the way in redefining the culinary experience at senior living communities.

Chef Takamoto previously held positions at Leeward Community College and The Plaza Assisted Living. He thrives on the challenge of catering for all tastebuds and dietary restrictions and views food as a way of bringing people together. Chef loves to celebrate culinary holidays and special occasions through customized menus. His greatest delight is the joy on residents’ faces when tasting his dishes.

With three children and seven grandchildren, Chef Takamoto sees the team and residents at Kalakaua Gardens as an extension of his own ohana.

Bobbi Lyman

Business Office Manager

Bobbi brings over 30 years of administrative experience to Kalakaua Gardens having previosuly worked at a variety of companies including over 10 years experience for senior living community. There Bobbi was responsible for planning and developing office goals, policies and procedures.

At Kalakaua Gardens Bobbi oversees business and administrative operations as well as fulfilling the role of human resources. What she loves most about the many hats she wears is that it keeps her daily work life interesting and that she gets to know each and every Kalakaua Gardens associate, who she says “have truly become ohana.”

Born and raised on the island of Oahu, Bobbi loves being able to make a difference in people’s lives and share that same spirit of aloha with her team.

When she is away from Kalakaua Gardens, Bobbi can be found with her husband of 34 years, two children and four grandchildren.

Vanessa Bruns

Director of Memory Care

Vanessa Bruns has dedicated her entire career around caregiving. She is a 15 year veteran in assisted living however has transitioned into memory care in more recent years.

Vanessa believes that she has found her perfect niche at Kalakaua Gardens, who offer memory care in a supportive, stimulating and safe environment for residents. She feels honored to be working at a community that embraces its daily commitment to deliver “ a heart for service and a passion for living.”

Vanessa is a strong advocate in creating understanding of ADRD (Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders) and is extremely passionate about providing support to residents, families and staff. She has created a community at Kalakaua Gardens where individuals who experience Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders (ADRD) feel safe, comfortable, loved, engaged, empowered and in control. She believes that People Centered Care is the heart and foundation to caring for anyone at any age.

What Vanessa loves most about working at Kalakaua Gardens is the family atmosphere and camaraderie between residents, family, staff and community. Her passion for care extends into the community. She is associated with the American Society on Aging, Certified Care Management, and Ketchikan Elks #1429.

Vanessa moved to Hawaii in 2015 for the opportunity with Kalakaua Gardens. She is mother to two sons who live in Alaska and a sibling of five. Her hobbies include fishing, exploring nature, golfing, Geocaching, reading, crocheting, spending time with family and friends, and continuing her further education and learning.

Vernon Hulihe'e

Director of Environmental Services

Kalakaua Gardens Director of Environmental Services, Vernon Hulihe’e comes from a diverse background, predominantly working for some of Hawaii’s most luxurious hotels and resorts. The 33-year hospitality veteran decided to make a career change into the senior living industry after a personal experience with his mother that left him seeking a career where he could truly impact the lives of others.

The appeal of Kalakaua Gardens to Hulihe’e was that it was more than just a facility, it was a community, with a focus on ohana rather than ‘guests.’ Also, Hulihe’e recognized that Kalakaua Gardens offered familiar resort-style amenities to the five-star resorts he worked at, providing a luxurious care-free environment centered around an exceptional quality of life.

Hulihe’e’s career has seen him work in top management roles for world-renowned hotels and brands including the Halekulani Hotel, the Sheraton Group (now Starwood Hotels & Resorts Hawaii), the Kahala Hotel & Resort and Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows. He has won every possible industry accolade for hotel sales, helped open hotels and mentored small and large-sized teams.

Hulihe’e’s role at Kalakaua Gardens sees him spearhead new amenities and activities and take charge of the logistics to make them happen. This may involve curating live entertainment, through to facilitating the in-house movie theater programming.

An avid musician, Hulihe’e loves to perform ukulele, guitar, drums, piano and keyboard with friends and family and regularly performs for Kalakaua Gardens guests. He also loves DIY projects, stand-up paddling and spending time with his wife Sharon and 18 year-old son, Mack.

Nathaniel Stillman

Recreation Director

Nathaniel Stillman is no stranger to fun. As Kalakaua Gardens Recreation Director, he is excited to head the program that helps seniors live exciting and exhilarating lives. He sees every day as a new adventure at Kalakaua Gardens. He is passionate about connecting residents to various resources around town to bring the world to Kalakaua Gardens, and in turn, bring Kalakaua Gardens to the world.

As a new community, Nathaniel welcomes the opportunity to shape recreation programs in collaboration with residents trying new activities and seeking feedback along the way.

Nathaniel’s former position as “Enrichment Coordinator” at another senior living community taught him event planning and activity coordination skills. Creating unique experiences for the residents and watching them learn a new skill, or remembering an old one brings him joy.

Born and raised on Oahu, Nathaniel is a Kamehameha School graduate. He enjoys playing music in his spare time and was nominated for a Na Hoku Hanohano Award for “Most Promising Artist.” When not at Kalakaua Gardens, you can find him spending time with his wife Sharon and three King Charles Cavaliers or eating his favorite plate lunch: Rainbow Drive-Inn’s Teri beef plate.

Our Commitment

“We embrace a heart for service and a passion for living”

Our Story

Kalakaua Gardens was founded on our personal experiences