OHA trustees hear from Big Island residents

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees heard project updates, along with grievances, Wednesday evening at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees heard project updates, along with grievances, Wednesday evening at King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel.

“We are here to listen,” said S. Haunani Apoliona, trustee-at-large, to the roughly 100 people attending the community meeting.

LeAnne Crabbe, vice president of Queen Liliuokalani Trust, laid out the vision for the 3,500-acre Keahuolu ahupuaa at the north end of Kailua-Kona.

“It is our largest ahupuaa, and it is the future of our trust and our ability to grow the benefits and assets for our beneficiaries,” said Crabbe, who described a 20-year plan for a 1,400-acre site, with 1.4 million square feet of nonresidential construction, 6,000 residential units and just under 250,000 square feet of construction for community uses.

“We want our kids to be able to find a good quality of life and challenging employment,” Crabbe said.

Conceptual plans that did not contain specifics included a wastewater treatment plant and 30 percent of the land dedicated to open spaces. The trust is working with Hawaii County to reclaim a portion of Kuakini Highway and turning it into a park-like setting suitable for walkers and bicyclists, Crabbe said.

Concepts also included pathways for children to walk to school without crossing roads, and education stations positioned throughout the zones of the ahupuaa, which roughly follows the north side of Palani Road, up to more than 3,000 feet in elevation.

Laiopua 2020 Executive Director Bo Kahui showed slides of siding being put on the dental center of the new $5 million, 11,000-square-foot West Hawaii Community Health Center in Kealakehe. The framing for the family practice center has been constructed and sidewalks and concrete slabs have been installed.

Laiopua hopes to break ground on a 20,000-square-foot com-munity center in November, Kahui said. The facility has been allocated $950,000 in state funds.

“The plans and designs are ready to go,” he said. “We have put in a request to the governor to release that funding.”

Some speakers aired grievances about the military presence at Pohakuloa, lands being kept from Native Hawaiians and giant telescopes on a mountain they hold sacred.

“The aina is not for sale. It was never for sale,” said Abel Simeona Lui, who identified himself as a homeless Native Hawaiian who traced his lineage back generations.

People standing at the back of the room held signs that read “Kapu Ka Mauna” and “Show Me the Title.”

Many Native Hawaiians have voiced opposition to federal involvement in creating a government for the Hawaiian people, a process that OHA has supported. At public meetings on the Big Island over the summer, some residents called for no less than a return to the Hawaiian Kingdom, and rejected the notion of being treated like an American Indian tribe. The Department of the Interior held the meetings to ask for feedback on an administrative rule proposed by the Obama administration that would begin a formal process for re-establishing a government-to-government relationship.

The process, called “Kanaiolowalu,” began with Act 95 in 2011.


“All these lands are all registered under the Hawaiian Kingdom,” Lui told trustees Wednesday. “We have treaties that still exist. You guys got big homework. Go talk to God.”

The meeting had not concluded by press time. The trustees hold a regular board meeting today at the hotel at 9 a.m.

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