News, Events & Awards
Posted on March 18th, 2024

Onaona P. Thoene honored as one of Hawaii Business Magazine's 20 For The Next 20

We congratulate Carlsmith Ball partner Puananionaona (Onaona) P. Thoene, who was selected by Hawaii Business Magazine for its "20 For The Next 20" 2024 class.

Hawaii Business Magazine annually honors 20 accomplished people who are poised to have a major positive impact on Hawaiʻi over the next 20 years. Driven by a strong belief in a sustainable future for Hawaiʻi, Onaona's focus on environmental sustainability, responsible development, and improved dialogue between residents, businesses and government are apparent in her professional and philanthropic efforts that drive a singular goal for a better tomorrow.

The Hilo native and Kamehameha Schools Kapālama alumna left Hawaiʻi in the early 2000s to pursue her bachelor’s degree at the University of San Diego, majoring in business administration with a concentration in international business and a minor in Spanish and graduated cum laude. Upon returning home, she enrolled at the University of Hawaii William S. Richardson School of Law, where she was a Co-Editor-in-Chief of the University of Hawaii Law Review, and graduated magna cum laude, obtaining her environmental law and Native Hawaiian law certificates, which apply well to her current practice in land use, environmental and corporate law.

Onaona concentrates her practice at the intersection of environmental law and corporate responsibility. She provides invaluable counsel on environmental matters for clients and the Hawaiʻi community at large, including projects that will advance Hawaiʻi’s sustainability initiatives, such as energy projects, agribusiness and conservation across the islands. Fluent in Hawaiian and raised with access to both traditional Hawaiian culture and urban life in Honolulu, Onaona recognizes the challenges Hawaiʻi faces in developing an environmentally sustainable economy. As an advisor for both community organizations and developers, she steers clients toward solutions that balance sustainability with progress.

Her environmental and conservation efforts extend to her volunteer service. She was appointed by then-Governor Ige to what is now called the State Environmental Advisory Council, and has served as Chair of the Council since 2018. Onaona also sits on the Oʻahu Island Advisory Council for the Hawaiʻi Land Trust, which works with private landowners, community groups and government partners to integrate permanent conservation into their land use plans.

Onaona is already a leader in the firm and in the community. Her future continues to be bright and we look forward to her contributions over the next 20 years.