Kemoeatu Brothers Giving Back

Yu Shing Ting
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Friday - January 26, 2011
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Chris and Maake Kemoeatu

Brothers Chris and Maake Kemoeatu may be living their dreams as football players in the NFL, but the two Kahuku High School graduates have never forgotten their roots.

Chris, a guard for the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Maake, who plays nose tackle for the Washington Redskins, are from Tonga and moved to Hawaii in 1986.

“We moved a lot when we were in Hawaii,” recalls Maake. “The first place we lived was in Kalihi, then we moved to Makaha, then Waianae, Kailua, Waimanalo, Hauula and Kahuku, and we also lived in Waipahu. We lived in all those neighborhoods, all the rough spots.

“But my brother and I grew up around the Boys and Girls Club, and that kind of kept us out of trouble and from joining gangs. Our parents were really strict. When we left the house, the only place we’d go to was the Boys and Girls Club (in Waianae).”

Maake says he’s the more talkative, nice and friendly of the two, while Chris is more of the quiet, rough and tough guy. They both, however, share a great passion for helping kids in Hawaii. So they teamed up to create the Kemoeatu Brothers Foundation, a nonprofit organization to provide assistance in the development of promising young athletes in the fields of football and rugby, and to aid in the educational, social and economic development of children in underprivileged families, particularly those of Polynesian descent.

The foundation offers a variety of programs and services, such as football clinics, homework assistance and SAT assistance, academic and athletic scholarships, assistance with college athletic placement, holiday economic assistance and athletic facility renovation and development.

“We do this because we love the kids in Hawaii,” says Maake. “We’re just trying to help. Also, in the near future hopefully, we want to build a facility to be like a Boys and Girls Club.”

This week, the Kemoeatu brothers return to Hawaii to host the 2011 “Throw-Back” Pro Bowl Bash featuring Grammy Award-winner T-Pain live in concert Jan. 27 at The Waterfront at Aloha Tower. The Bash consists of two separate events - a gala fundraiser and a live concert - both benefitting their foundation.

The gala fundraiser takes place from 5:30 to 9 p.m. and includes a gourmet dinner catered by Chef Chai Chaowasaree and entertainment by Sean Na’auao and Ma’ohi Nui Polynesian dance group. There also will be silent and live auctions. General admission is $275, VIP admission $325. Aticket to the gala also gets you access to the post-gala concert with reserved viewing area.

The post-gala concert featuring rap star T-Pain starts at 10 p.m. and features special guest performances by Savage with support from Monsta and J Boog. Doors open at 9:15 p.m. and tickets are $45 in advance, $50 at the door.

Tickets for both events can be purchased at, and at Local Motion, UH Campus Center, Navy ITT offices, and the U.S. Coast Guard Center MWR.

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