Wishing our dear Princess a very happy 90th birthday

`Ano`ai kakou…  Before the Kingdom of Hawaii was illegally overthrown in 1893 it was a thriving, internationally recognized nation with a royal family that was beloved by the people.  While many of the institutions of the Kingdom of Hawaii may be gone, the royal family continues to live on and flourish to this day.

It is with great admiration and respect that I dedicate this column to honoring Her Royal Highness Princess Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawananakoa who celebrated her 90th birthday on April 26th.

The great grandniece of King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapi‘olani, Princess Kawananakoa was born in Honolulu and was adopted by her grandmother, Princess Abigail Kawananakoa, who was the widow of Prince David.  She grew up learning from the keepers of our traditions – many of whom had served the monarchy.

Princess Kawananakoa is best known as a philanthropist who has helped sustain authentic Hawaiian history, music, hula, literature, and language.  As president of the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace for nearly 30 years, she was the moving force behind the palace’s monumental and historic restoration project.  The palace operates as a “living restoration” that tells the story of Hawaii’s monarchy.  Visitors leave understanding how advanced a society Hawaiians had created before the overthrow.

Princess Kawananakoa has supported many projects throughout the state, from the first Hawaiian language immersion schools to the historic renovation of the Hawaiian Hall at Bishop Museum which named the kahili room in her honor.  She nurtured the Merrie Monarch from its earliest days and continues to be a faithful and generous sponsor of halau.

In 1978, she established the Abigail K. Kawananakoa Foundation to continue her commitment to the preservation of Hawaiian culture and a wide range of charities throughout the world, and she later formed Na Lei Ali‘i Kawananakoa, which serves and represents the interests of Native Hawaiians and has preserved many Hawaiian artifacts.

Known globally for her love of horses and her support of animal rights, Princess Kawananakoa endowed a university chair for research on equine orthopedics at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University from which more than 160 Hawai‘i students have graduated.  She has been a pioneer in the use of advanced veterinary science with her horses.  These successes have led to her becoming an advocate for translating breakthroughs in veterinary medicine into techniques and therapies that would assist humans.

In 2009, the University of Hawaii conferred an Honorary Doctorate and in 2016, Colorado State University did as well, both recognizing her extraordinary commitment and contributions to civic life.

As holder of the largest share of the Estate of James Campbell, she has encouraged its support of important community programs throughout Ewa.  Her dedication of land to create the UH West Oahu campus is another important contribution our Princess has made to education.

Age has not slowed her efforts to help the Hawaiian people and to preserve and protect in perpetuity the legacy passed down to the present generation.  She has used her persuasive voice to seek proper stewardship of our natural resources including Mauna Kea and Haleakala.

A matter of common knowledge, but never revealed, is her personal assistance to literally thousands of individual Hawaiians and Hawaii groups in times of distress.  Much of what we take for granted as part of the “Hawaiian Renaissance” only exists because of her devotion to seeing that our true heritage is not lost.  Aloha Ke Akua.

Accomplishments During Chairmanship of the OHA Board of Trustees

By: Trustee Rowena Akana, Chairman
October, 2000

Source: Kai Wai Ola o OHA

With all of the battles, sword crossing, and legal maneuvering this Hawaiian agency has experienced during the last few months, it is important that we not lose sight of the positives that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has accomplished.

Our office has been instrumental in reaching the Native Hawaiian community and serving the beneficiaries of this trust, despite the hardships that this office has had to endure.

Among the accomplishments achieved during my chairmanship of the Board of Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs:

* We created a half-time Community Affairs Coordinator position for Lanai.

* Gladys Brandt became director of OHA’s Education Foundation

* We rectified errors discovered in our investment profile, creating a new income formula

* We passed a policy that required a two-thirds vote for all unbudgeted items

* We established a policy for bonds by which our fixed-income managers would not be allowed to invest in below yield investments

* We approved ll grants totaling $425,428 for projects ranging from transportation to Hawaiian immersion schools to prenatal programs for hapai Hawaiians. Just six months ago, our grants department was nine months behind schedule. Now, it is almost a full year ahead of schedule

* We authorized OHA’s continued participation in the Kukui o Molokai, Inc. water case.

* We signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the state for improvements to the Queen Kaahumanu Highway in Kailua-Kona.

* We voted to appropriate more than $500,000 for the renovation of Ke Kula Niihau o Kekaha immersion school, which will provide classrooms and a cafeteria on Kauai.

* We approved a two-year extension of the administrator’s contract and clarified his responsibilities in order to streamline operations.

* We resolved four workers compensation claims that have been pending for more than a decade.

* We awarded $10,000 to OHA’s Education Foundation for operations.

* We hired a personnel manager to align OHA with accepted employment practices.

* We appropriated more than $500,000 for a legal “dream team” to represent our interests in Rice vs. Cayetano.

* During our trips to Washington DC, we learned of a presidential health directive for Pacific Islanders and Asians. We were instrumental in inserting language into the executive order that added our people to the list of ethnic groups eligible for funds and recognition. The order defines a Pacific Islander as “the aboriginal, indigenous native people of Hawaii and other Pacific Islands within the jurisdiction of the United States.”

* We implemented an investment policy with the purpose of reviewing our trust asset allocations.

* We developed an Individual Development Account Program (IDA).

* We approved a MOA for an H-3 Interpretative Center in collaboration with state and federal governments.

* We approved funds for the Saddle Road MOA improvement project on the Big Island.

* We appropriated $120,000 for the Molokai Dialysis Treatment Center and $7,200 in transitional funds for home kidney dialysis machines.

* We also welcomed former Department of Hawaiian Homelands Director Kali Watson to our ‘ohana as a crucial player in the ceded lands negotiations.

* Preparations continue for the October Puwalu Conference. We want to educate everyone about self-determination. All Hawaiian groups will be invited. We have hired a specialist to assist with this historic event.

* OHA, the Bishop Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution are planning an exhibit in Washington highlighting the history of our people, scheduled for about the time the Supreme Court will hear Rice.

* Our steadfast commitment to our kupuna is the basis for a Native Hawaiian Health Task Force to be implemented by the end of this year.

* We launched a successful initiative in Washington DC, winning Hawaiians and the state the support of US Solicitor General Seth Waxman in Rice vs. Cayetano. He filed one of two dozen briefs urging the Supreme Court to consider constitutional OHA’s election.

* We approved amendments to S. 225, a federal bill extending the Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act to Hawaiians.

* We awarded $116,996.00 in grants for Native Hawaiian projects.

* We appropriated $1.2 million to guarantee a loan supporting Hawaii County Department of Water Supply’s application for federal funds for road construction and clearing homestead lots in Kikala-Keokea.

* We approved funds for initiatives in alternative education.

* We voted to support the Dollars-to-Classroom Act.

* We amended the Native Hawaiian Health Care Improvement Act to widen its scope.

* We included in our money monitor’s contract a provision for a “wrapped” fee.
* We resolved our Ho’oulu Mea Kanu native plant project to the ANA for funding.

* We approved more than $574,000 to the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to assist beneficiaries in bringing claims against the state for the breaches of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.

It is my sincere hope that the Hawaiian community will unite during these
extraordinary times. It is important to keep focused on the positive, so that we can continue to strive forward together as a people.