(BIVN) – Testifiers spoke up in support of lands in Kaʻū on Monday during a special meeting of the Hawaii County Public Access, Open Space and Natural Resources Preservation Commission held in Hilo.
Two members of the public added their voice to those in support of PONC communication 17-010: Kaʻū Agro Forestry Association’s request to purchase Kahilipali Iki, Kahilipali Nui, and Waikapuna. Others have spoken in support of the acquisition in previous meetings.
The commission is about to finalize the ranking of the 2017 Prioritized List of Properties that might eventually be purchased using the 2% public land fund.
Sharon Moraes, a direct lineal descendant connected to the lands, read a letter she wrote in September. “It is very important to my family – my Ohana – and others to continue their legacy through the acquisition by Hawaii County as the fee holder,” she said. “Kahilipali Nui, Waikapuna, is truly a wahi pana, scattered with remains of many heiau, shelter dwellings and walls still intact today, which must be preserved and protected.”
“This is especially true for future generations to be able to see, feel, touch and learn from the labors of our na kupuna for all of us,” Moraes said.
The vice president of Kaʻū Agro Forestry Association also testified, proposing that the county purchase the land and place the management of Waikapuna under the direction of a board of community residents, including members of families with ancestral ties to the land.