KEAUKAHA, Hawaii – The scenic Palekai, home to Keaukaha’s Hōkūalaka’i double hull sailing canoe and the location where the Hōkūleʻa began its Malama Honua worldwide voyage a few years ago, is now officially under the stewardship of the Keaukaha community.
The Department of Transportation held a small ceremony at Palekai on Monday, signing over a revocable permit to the Keaukaha One Youth Development non-profit. Long standing members of the Keaukaha community, state senators, and officials from the DOT Harbors Division were present for the event.
We spoke to Hawaii DOT Deputy Director Darrell Young at the conclusion of the signing.
BLNR SUBMITTAL – April 2016
ISSUANCE OF A REVOCABLE PERMIT TO THE KEAUKAHA ONE YOUTH DEVELOPMENT AT HILO HARBOR, HAWAII, TAX MAP KEY NO. (3) 2-1-0022 PORTION OF 32
Chapters 171-13 and 171-55, Hawaii Revised Statutes, as amended.
Keaukaha One Youth Development (“KOYD”) whose mailing address is 67 Keokea Loop, Hilo, Hawaii, 96720
CHARACTER OF USE:
To be a headquarters for KOYD to support its programs designed to reconnect children living in the County of Hawaii with the cultural heritage of Hawaii related to ocean activities, including (1) physical fitness; (2) instructional use and maintenance of one-and six-man canoes; (3) perfection of swimming skills; and (4) training Hawaiian youth to become qualified crew members of Hōkūalaka’i double hull sailing canoes. The programs are designed to enhance learning, self-respect, family life wellness, opportunities for secondary and post-secondary education, and employment.
Portion of Government lands, situated at Hilo Harbor, Waiakea, South Hilo, Hawaii, Tax Map Key No. (3) 2-1-002, portion of 032, as shown on the attached map labeled Exhibit “A.”
4 acres, more or less
Gratis, pursuant to its continued usage for the intended purposes of stewardship and youth development
State of Land Use Commission: Urban County of Hawaii: MC-la
TERM OF REVOCABLE PERMIT:
Twelve (12) months. Harbors Division has option to extend an additional 30 calendar days. Extensions beyond the 30 days will require Land Board Approval.
To be determined by the Director of Transportation
CURRENT USE STATUS:
Land is presently undeveloped, wooded brush lands and beach area adjacent to operational pier and cargo areas of Department of Transportation, Harbors Division, Hilo Harbor. Pursuant to the Harbors 2035 Master Plan for Hilo Harbor, the land is intended for future development of cargo and laydown areas in support of shipping operations, when warranted, and this parcel is depicted in this plan as a set aside for the Keaukaha Canoe Club.
Adjacent to the subject parcel is a two-acre parcel to be paved and fenced by the Department of Transportation, Harbors Division, to accommodate additional cargo yard space in the very near future. However, the uses for these two adjacent parcels are compatible with each other.
Historically, this undeveloped land had been plagued with drug use, drug dealing, illegal dumping and homeless camping that became a cost and logistical burden to Department of Transportation, Harbors Division’s, operations. Approximately 15 years ago, an informal arrangement was made with the Keaukaha community and the then district manager for use of this area for keiki canoe paddling programs and voyaging canoe training. The community erected a storage pavilion that is constructed of two 40 foot containers with a roof connecting them, which is used for the canoe paddling and other youth programs. The community members, with practical lessons imparted to and followed by the youth that participate in the programs, have served as the caretakers, custodians, and guardians of the property. Ever since this arrangement was formed, the illegal activities in the area have stopped, and the homeless have, at their own choosing and not at anyone’s request, moved out of the area.
LAND TITLE STATUS:
Owned by State of Hawaii; management and control of the property was transferred to the Department of Transportation by Executive Order No. 3962.
CHAPTER 343 – ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT:
A Declaration of Exemption from the preparation of an environmental assessment has been made by the Director of Transportation for the proposed revocable permit. This is exempt from Office of Environmental Quality Control (OEQC) requirements pursuant to Sub-Chapter 11-200-8 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules that exempts the construction of small facilities or structures under Class 3, and minor alterations in the conditions of the land or vegetation under Class 4.
KOYD shall be required to:
a. Responsibly steward this undeveloped parcel on a temporary basis;
b. Adhere to prior arrangements and agreements made between Department of Transportation, Harbors Division, and KOYD; and
c. Indemnify the State of Hawaii for any liability.
Keaukaha is the first Hawaiian Homestead on Hawaii Island created by the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended, and is a piko that continues to bridge traditional Hawaiian cultural practice with contemporary tools and technologies of today and into the future.
Currently in Keaukaha, as it was in the past, there is a lot of effort, time and support focused on coming generations that grow and make this community thrive. Despite the demographics and statistics that challenge the well-being of the youth and families of this community, KOYD has found that when communities and partnerships are built with strong relationships of trust and action, conflicts are opportunities to create positive change.
KOYD directly supports youth ages 8-18 involved with the Keaukaha Canoe Club. Since KOYD’s establishment, the club has maintained immense and consistent grth by serving approximately 100 youth paddlers during the Moku O Hawai‘i Canoe Racing Association (MOHCRA) annual regatta season (March through August). The success of KOYD inspired the idea of a new venture to expand their community service efforts to Hilo youth through supporting a 21St Century After School Program known as Revealing Individual Strengths for Excellence (RISE) as a program that runs from September to May annually. KOYD feels that the mission, vision, and objectives of RISE are supportive to the overall purpose of the non-profit’s establishment and envisions being able to continue expanding the positive development opportunities for Hilo youth.
The RISE 21St Century After School Program was established in 2011 by Keahi Warfield and Naomi Ahu to serve as a community resource bank for underprivileged, native Hawaiian youth ages 8-18 in the Hilo district. The main focus is to aid in revealing their individual strengths and passions for future career and academic success. A variety of mediums are used to build Individual Student Success Plans (ISSP) such as, but not limited to: apprenticeships, Hawaiian cultural practice, internships, multimedia, performing arts, project exhibitions, student exchange, and work study initiatives. As youth discover their potential strengths and passions, RISE helps connect them with voluntary mentors from the immediate community and abroad who share similar strengths and passions to share knowledge, foster and develop self-esteem, and to bridge the generational gap between adults and youth. RISE also provides opportunities to support physical well-being, cultural identity, and leadership.
By implementing this mission, RISE envisions that when the youth participants graduate from high school, they will have a clear and stronger idea of what their future career and academic pursuits will be. The relationships they have gained through the program will help motivate and encourage them to become valuable contributors to the well-being and sustainability of the Hilo community.
In addition to these programs, KOYD will also support the community initiative of restoring the Hōkūalaka’i, a voyaging double-hull canoe. The vessel, owned and built by ‘Aha Punana Leo, was donated to the community of Keaukaha as its new caretaker. KOYD envisions this generous donation as a new domain to further solidify its goals of creating cultural learning places for youth and their families alike to contribute their talents and learning engagements through their unique voyaging heritage.
That the Board authorizes the issuance of a Right-of-Entry to the Applicant, its contractors and sub-contractors covering the subject area for the purposes cited above, subject to the terms and conditions outlined above and incorporated herein by reference, and such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by the Director of Transportation.