HONOLULU, Hawaii – The ways of the Hawaiian konohiki could return to modern-day Hawaii if House Bill 2375 passes into law.
The state is considering authorizing the Aha Moku Advisory Committee to “provide advice to the Chair of the Board of Land and Natural Resources on establishing and applying traditional Hawaiian konohiki management practices to restore fishery food stocks and environmental well-being in consultation with specified fishing communities.” The bill was introduced by Puna councilwoman Faye Hanohano.
In testimony of support, Leimana DaMate of the Aha Moku Advisory Committee wrote:
Since original habitation in ancient times, indigenous Hawaiians have understood that their survival depended on the conditions of the areas they lived in. Understandably then, a strict and effective resource management foundation had to be established for determining the behavior in which the people ofthe islands gather food from the land and the ocean. Centuries of observation and practice not only honed practitioner’s efﬁciency in gathering but insured, through judicious maintenance, well-stocked areas at all times. And since those earliest times, people relied on the konohiki- the ones who were wise in the ways of the land and the ocean, who came with knowledge from their ancestors, who continued teaching, assessing, and learning generationally in an unbroken line of distinguished performance outcomes unmatched by resource management methodology in HaWai’i today.”Leimana DaMate in written testimony
The Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, and Kelson Poepoe of Hui Malama 0 Mo’omomi also support the measure.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources has said that the bill is unnecessary because nothing in the current law precludes the consideration of such previously used practices.
Since (Aha Moku Advisory Committees) became operational in July 2013, it has strived alongside the Department to address these mandates, and the issue of konihiki management rights arose during an AMAC meeting in Kalaupapa, Molokai. However, priority during the last nine months has been on organizational development of AMAC and individual aha moku committees on each island statewide. Without a solid structure in place, implementation of the mandates under Act 288 will not be effectuated without proper adequate resources to operate.”William Aila, DLNR Chair in testimony
Not everyone is in support of the bill as its written. Kenneth R. Conklin, PhD of the Center for Hawaiian Sovereignty Studies submits:
The language proposed for part (8) explicitly restricts consultation to be “with members of ﬁshery communities who engage in traditional Hawaiian ﬁshery sustainability practices.” But that would contradict the part (1) objective of “lntegrating indigenous resource management practices with western management practices.”
This committee must choose whether the primary goal is to serve a political purpose of racial separatism and gloriﬁcation of a single ancient approach to ﬁshery management and sustainability, or whether the primary goal is to utilize all available knowledge, both ancient and modern, of all ethnic groups, to serve the purpose of long-term ecological sustainability and productivity of the ﬁshery.”Kenneth R. Conklin in testimony
Greg Holzman was blunt in his written opposition:
This is another attempt by the Robinsons to get control of public resources and State waters. Why would anyone want to give two brothers more control over it’s tenants and the people of Hawaii? Give Niihau to the people of Niihau let them govern their affairs. Let them decide without the fear of being kicked off Niihau. Do not give more power over the people to a oppressive dictator. Konohiki’s should not be dictators for their own personal greed. This needs to be studied by a task force on the Socio-economic impacts to Kauai and Niihau and the State before making rules that would make more division on Kauai nui. We have a constitution in Hawaii not a feudal system.Greg Holzman in testimony
The bill has already gotten approval from two of its three House committee referrals (Committee Ocean, Marine Resources, & Hawaiian Affairs, and Committee on Agriculture) It will now go to the Committee on Finance, where supporters of the bill hope a $110,000 appropriation will be considered.
Status of bills represent up-to-date information via State Legislative website
HB2357 – Authorizes the Aha Moku Advisory Committee to provide advice on establishing and applying traditional konohiki management practices to restore fishery food stocks and environmental well-being, in consultation with fishery communities.
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