(BIVN) – On Wednesday, the Hawaiʻi Land Trust announced it had closed on the purchase of 642 acres of land at Mahukona, which will now be permanently protected after a lengthy, community-driven effort.
Both the Hawaiʻi Land Trust and the Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources shared video of the Mahukona lands, as well as short interviews featuring the thoughts of those involved in the preservation work.
“Purchasing 642 acres, it seemed like such a daunting task at first,” said Shae Kamakaʻala, the HLT Director of ʻĀina Protection. “Starting in 2020,we began this journey together and from every support petition, to support letters, to testimony before County state and federal, everything fell into place. With our total campaign goal of 20 million, we still have a little over a million left to raise. We decided to take the opportunity to close the transaction and will be continuing to fundraise to support the ongoing stewardship and education work.”
“Twenty years from now, I can see that Koʻa Heiau Holomoana will continue to be that school — it will continue to write the stories from this generation now, to allow them to see the importance of caring for place,” said Chadd Paison, Senior Captain, PWO Navigator and Executive Director of Nā Kālai Waʻa.
“The protection of Mahukona in perpetuity means that Hawaiʻi’s people will always have a foundational site of navigation that connects us to all of the Pacific,” said Department of Land and Natural Resources Deputy Director Laura Kaakua. “The Legacy Land Conservation Program under the State Department of Land and Natural Resources provided critical matching funds for the purchase. Mahalo piha to the Kohala community; nonprofit, County, and Federal partners; the State legislature that supports the Legacy Land Conservation Program; and the many private donors. May traditional Hawaiian navigation and ʻāina stewardship practices thrive forever more at Mahukona and across Hawaiʻi.”
“The youth of Kohala, having them here every week, we teach them about certain things that we learn, and their their eyes open wide,” said Keone Emeliano, the HLT Mahukona Steward and Educator. “That’s a good feeling to see. It takes everybody’s effort and love to keep it special, because this is… it’s home to us. We are so grateful and thankful it’s being protected and now we can say we’ll always have Mahukona.”
“This effort is is huge for our County,” said Mayor Mitch Roth. “One of the things that we’ve been focusing on is sustainability. There’s so many things that sustainability means to me. It means the ability to raise our kids here in Hawaiʻi, and in order for that to happen you have to have some anchors and this project really solidifies those anchors that we have. It’s got the culture, it’s got the ʻāina, and most importantly it has the people. When you put all those things together, it makes this place such an amazing place. We’re providing a place where our keiki can raise their keiki, and their keiki can raise their keiki, for now until the end of time.”