(BIVN) – Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Commissioners got an earful from a handful of testifiers over the plan to provide grant funding to groups interested in stewarding Kāwā.
Uncle Abel Simeona Lui, a long time resident and caretaker of Kāwā until his controversial eviction in 2012, was joined by Kittrena Morgan and Shelley Stephens Mahi for the public testimony portion of the special meeting. Lui told the PONC commission that Kāwā was not their kuleana, while Morgan complained that important communication documents were not being made available to the public.
The County of Hawaii acquired 234.293 acres of land at Kāwā in January 2008 and then another 550.871 acres at Kawa’a Bay in October 2011. The purchases were prioritized by the PONC commission and funded, in part, using a 2% percent of real property tax collections.
Lui, who claims allodial title to the parcel and whose supporters recognized him as a konohiki of Kāwā, opposed the purchase. The courts did not see things his way, and signed off on his expulsion.
On Monday in Hilo, the PONC commission considered two Stewardship Grant requests to take care of the Kāwā lands from Na Mamo O Kāwā and the Hawaii Island Hawksbill Turtle Recovery Project.