By: OHA Trustee Rowena Akana
Source: Ka Wai Ola o OHA, April 2004
‘Ano’ai kakou… On March 6-7, 2004, OHA sponsored a successful Hawaiian governance event in Las Vegas. The affair featured OHA’s Hawaiian Registry Program; workshops on Hawaiian culture, genealogy, and history; and a “Kau Inoa” registration drive. Kau Inoa is a separate program from OHA, and is the first step in identifying indigenous Hawaiians who want to be a part of the formation of a Hawaiian governing entity.
We have now established many valuable contacts within Nevada’s Hawaiian community, estimated to be 80,000 strong, and have made an important contribution to our goal of registering 100,000 Hawaiians nationwide.
This event would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the following OHA staff and volunteers:
* Administrator Clyde Namu’o who strongly supported the event from the beginning. I commend the Administrator for the latitude he afforded staff to explore new territories and gain new skills. His consistent positive attitude and encouragement of staff made the event a true pleasure.
* Public Information Officer Manu Boyd, who conducted workshops on hula, ka’ao, genealogy, and Hawaiian history. His command of the Hawaiian language and his musical talent are an invaluable resource to OHA.
* Luci Meyer, who conducted workshops on mo’oku’auhau (genealogy). I was impressed by the quality, depth, and insight of her presentations.
* Staff members Jennifer Chiwa, Lani Hoomana, Ruby McDonald, Gladys Rodenhurst, and Francine Murray.
* Las Vegas Volunteers Jeannie Wong, Ransen & Lehua Borges, Ladd Haleloa, Bruce Willingham, Lucille Calario, Lorna Andrade, and Paul Meyer.
* Special thanks to the Makaha Sons, Moon, John and Jerome who performed in concert and virtually assured a huge turnout.
This experience has left me very encouraged about coordinating future events and activities. I also appreciate Trustees Waihe’e, Dela Cruz, and Apoliona for making the trip and sharing their mana’o.
On another note regarding the Native Hawaiian Trust Fund…
Trustee Mossman wrote in his article last month that he did not believe OHA has ever been in a better financial position and that it was all thanks to Trustee Stender. Before we begin to sing the praises of someone, perhaps we should first put things in their proper context.
OHA’s portfolio was over $400 million in 2000 and then took a nosedive in the following year to $250 million. Who was the chair of the Budget & Finance committee for most of that time? You guessed it, Trustee Stender. I pleaded with Trustee Stender for months to stop the bleeding, but nothing happened. OHA’s Chief Financial Officer finally came up with the idea of hiring “managers-of-managers” to do our investing. This was finalized by February 2003, but and by then, the damage to the Trust had long since been done.
The new managers-of-managers, Goldman Sachs and Frank Russell, make all of our day-to-day investment decisions and choose which money managers to hire. The Board’s role now is to simply set the investment policy and listen to quarterly report presentations.
There is no doubt that the growth of the Trust has more to do with our two manager-of-managers than any particular Trustee. The problem now is that OHA is forced to pay higher fees for Goldman Sach’s services even though they have consistently underperformed the Frank Russell Group.
While the total Native Hawaiian Trust Fund is still far shy of the $400 million OHA once enjoyed in its heyday, at least it is growing again.
Imua Hawaii Nei…