KEAUKAHA, Hawaii – A large group of beneficiaries told the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands they don’t want to renew an agreement with another state department to manage lands on Humu’ula.
During a consultation in Keaukaha on Thursday evening, several Hilo-area residents told DHHL a’ole to a proposal that would continue leasing out three DHHL parcels that are a part of the Aina Mauna Legacy Program (map below).
“In 1992,” DHHL wrote in a meeting notice, “the Hawaiian Homes Commission approved a 20-year license agreement with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to help manage the remote forested lands. The 20-year license agreement has since lapsed and DHHL is in the process of considering renewal of the agreement with DLNR.”
DLNR wants to continue the lease agreement for another 10 years, paying a “fair market” rent to be negotiated. DHHL would still have the right to economic development and revenue-producing uses on the lands. DLNR would also have to submit an inventory of all existing structures and improvements on the land, and submit an annual report to DHHL.
The proposal comes at a time of heightened tension between DHHL and the state. The state is currently appealing a recent Circuit Court ruling (the Nelson case) which found the state failed to meet its constitutional duty to sufficiently fund DHHL.
Another meeting was held in Waimea the night before.
There will be a 30-day Beneficiary comment period (comments can be submitted to Andrew Choy: firstname.lastname@example.org), after which a Beneficiary consultation report will be submitted to the Hawaiian Homes Commission in March of this year. A potential agreement would need Board of land and Natural Resources and Hawaiian Homes Commission approval, and could come as early as spring or summer 2016.
- Serving as meeting facilitator, DHHL Planner Andrew Choy gives an overview. (start)
- DHHL’s Mike Robinson talks about the Aina Mauna Legacy Program. (3:34)
- Dave Penn of DLNR talks about the DLNR’s 20-year license agreement for the non-exclusive right to operate, maintain, and manage the premises for wildlife management, forest reserve and public hunting purposes. (11 mins.)
- The public speaker begins to speak out, opposing the renewal of the agreement. (31 mins)
- Herring Kalua speaks for twenty minutes on how the Aina Mauna acreage could be used to address the Hawaiian Homes wait-list, and how the beneficiaries need to take the lead. (34:30)
- Hawaiian Homes Commissioner Wally Ishibashi questions how the lease renewal will help and rehabilitate the people, declaring that “nobody can control our land except us,” and that all leases should be cancelled on Mauna Kea. (54:40)
- Iokepa Kaolulo Kaeo and Lakea Trask present the beginnings of a plan to manage the lands according to the will of the beneficiaries. (1:16:30)
- Kihei Ahuna, president of the Keaukaha Panaewa Farmers Association, talks about the ongoing budget battle between DHHL and the state administration concerning millions in funding for Hawaiian Homes. (1:34:00)