Protect iwi kūpuna: Sand mining in central Maui must stop!

`Ano`ai kakou…  On June 14-15, 2017, the Trustees held community and Board meetings on Maui.  Several community members who attended the meetings shared their deep concerns about iwi kūpuna being disturbed by sand dune mining in central Maui.

According the OHA’s administration, the sand dunes have “immense cultural value” and are known to contain iwi of kūpuna from numerous historic battles and from ancient burials.  The State Historic Preservation Office within the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Maui and Lāna’i Island Burial Council has primary jurisdiction over the discovery of ancestral remains and their disposition.  However, in 2009, the Maui Lanai Islands Burial Council reportedly asked for an accounting of burials affected by the sand mining, but nothing came from it.

The testifiers informed us that the recent movement of the sand for grading and mining has exposed even more burials.  In her testimony, Clare Apana asked the Trustees to support a moratorium on sand mining and to formally recognize the entire sand dune as a protected area and a known burial site.  Apana said that more than 1,000 iwi kūpuna have been disturbed in the sand dunes and more will be disturbed with every day that sand mining is allowed to go on.

A recent Star-Advertiser article by Timothy Hurley (dated July 2, 2017) reported that “sand has been mined on Maui since before World War II, but the activity increased in the 1970s as Maui’s inland dunes became the source of sand for concrete used to fuel a construction boom.  By 1985, Maui sand started being barged to Honolulu, and over a couple of decades 5.5 million tons were shipped to Oahu for use in construction, according to a 2006 report compiled for the county Department of Public Works and Environmental Management.  The report had estimated the sand could be depleted in less than 10 years.”

Even more disturbingly, the same Star-Advertiser article also stated that the sand mining on Maui has reportedly been a source of sand for the concrete used to build the pillars and guide ways of the Honolulu rail project now under construction.  My suggestion to the Honolulu Authority for Rapid Transportation is that they better look into it because I’m sure it will affect ridership.  Who wants to ride a cursed train?

OHA’s 2015 iwi kūpuna policy calls for the care, management and protection of iwi kūpuna.  Many of the Trustees feel passionately about this issue and some even suggested that OHA go to court.  The consensus was clear that we have to do something now and we can’t wait any longer.

On June 29, 2017, the Board approved the following motion — The Office of Hawaiian Affairs calls upon Maui Lani Partners to cease all sand and other resource extraction and grading to allow:

  •  The Maui Department of Planning to determine if sand extraction violates the Maui Zoning Code;
  •  The Maui Department of Public Works to determine if revocation or suspension of the Phase IX grading permit is appropriate; and
  • The State Historic Preservation Department and the Maui Lānaʻi Islands Burial Council to properly investigate the discovery of burials and whether historic preservation laws and conditions have been fully complied with and enforced.

If you care about our ancestral bones say something, do something.  Call the Maui County Council.  No more shipments of sand from Maui to build rail columns!  Aloha Ke Akua.

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.

The Naʻi Aupuni Election Process

`Ano`ai kakou…  The ballots for the Naʻi Aupuni Election were mailed to certified voters on November 1, 2015 and voting ended on November 30, 2015.  So the Election results should be announced by the time this column is published.

This is an exciting time for Native Hawaiians.  We have not had this type of consensus-building opportunity since the overthrow of our kingdom and we should take hold of this opportunity to start the process of deciding how we want to move forward in unity.

While I am pleased that the Naʻi Aupuni Election was finally able to proceed, I was surprised to see that the candidates’ names were listed on the ballot in a “randomized” order and not in alphabetical order.

Naʻi Aupuni decided to list the all candidates in a random order to give everyone a chance to be at the top of the ballot.  While I can understand why they made this change, an argument could be made about whether the list was truly “random.”  For example, two of the top five names listed on the Oahu ballot were OHA employees.  I’m sure this was just a coincidence, but most voters would agree that it seems suspicious.

According to a Honolulu Star-Advertiser article dated November 3, 2015, Hawaiians’ election for constitutional convention begins, reported that the Naʻi Aupuni election suffered from a rash of candidates dropping out and one calling the election “fixed.”  There have been other complaints in the community that OHA is trying to control the process.  Having OHA employees at the top of the ballot doesn’t help to dispel this negative impression.

To make matters worse, both of the OHA Employees have also run for a seat in past OHA Board of Trustees elections, giving them more name recognition in the Hawaiian community than candidates who have never run in a Hawaiian election.

I believe that Naʻi Aupuni should have just done what the state election office has been doing all along – list the candidate names in alphabetical order.  Voters are used to seeing candidate names listed alphabetically and it would make it easier for them to find the candidates they support, especially since Oahu voters had to sort through an incredible 103 candidates!

They should have also made it easier for Oahu voters by breaking up the island into smaller sections (such as rural and urban Oahu) with fewer names.  Voters on Oahu needed a lot of time and stamina to search through all those names.

I am surprised that Naʻi Aupuni would turn to such a radically different voting process than what Hawaii voters are used to for such a historically important election.  There was already a high level of scrutiny regarding the integrity of the election and I believe they should have stuck with what works.  Instead, they just added to the confusion.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the voting process, please contact Elections America at or call Elections America toll-free at (844) 413-2929.  Aloha Ke Akua.

Governor should consider transferring Mauna Kea Lands to OHA

`Ano`ai kakou…  As many readers know, Mauna Kea is a ceded land asset belonging to both Native Hawaiians and the general public.  OHA Trustees are also mandated by state law to advocate for all Native Hawaiian and to protect and preserve sacred sites.

On May 26, 2015, Governor David Ige announced that he had asked UH, which subleases the summit area from the state, to make ten changes to improve its stewardship of Mauna Kea.  One of the ten changes included UH voluntarily returning to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) full jurisdiction of more than 10,000 acres that are not specifically needed for astronomy.

I commended Governor Ige for his commitment to make Mauna Kea whole again.  Transferring such a large portion of Mauna Kea out if UH’s hands is a wonderful idea and provides Native Hawaiians with a positive first step in revising the way Mauna Kea is safe-guarded.

However, I have recently heard through unconfirmed reports that DLNR has been resistant to taking control over the Mauna Kea lands because they lack the resources to properly manage it.

If it is true that DLNR is unable to take responsibility over the lands, I would like to suggest that the state encourage UH to turn over the lands to OHA.  It would make perfect sense since all 11,300 acres of land within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve are public land trust lands classified under section 5(b) of the Admissions Act.  The revenues from public trust lands must be dedicated to specific purposes including the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

OHA’s administration has built up its capacity to manage both commercial and preservations lands by establishing an in-house land department and a land committee at the board level.

I believe that transferring responsibility over Mauna Kea lands to OHA would produce the best “win-win” situation for the State, the University of Hawaii and all of OHA’s Native Hawaiian beneficiaries.  What better solution could there be than to put Hawaiian lands in Hawaiian hands?


On April 1, 2015, the Board of Trustees rescinded its support of Mauna Kea as the site of the TMT.  As a result OHA has no position as to whether or not the TMT should be located on the mountain.

Nonetheless, on July 10, 2015, OHA opposed DLNR’s proposals to use emergency rulemaking procedures to ban outdoor gear and nighttime presence in an 18,000 acre corridor leading to the summit of Mauna Kea.  OHA testified that there were a number of technical, statutory, cultural, environmental, public safety, and constitutional concerns, as well as the potential for unintended natural, cultural, and public safety concerns.

Despite OHA’s strong opposition, the BLNR passed the following rules: (1) A rule change that will allow for the BLNR Chairperson to close public hunting areas for up to 30 days; and (2) A rule closing the Mauna Kea Observatory Access Road, including one mile on either side, from 10:00 p.m. – 4:00 a.m.  Aloha Ke Akua.

UH should not be managing Mauna Kea

`Ano`ai kakou…  On May 26, 2015, Governor David Ige announced that he would “protect the rights of the builders” of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea.   He also admitted that the state has failed the mountain in many ways and he wants to change the management of the summit to give more consideration to culture and natural resources. (Star Advertiser, 5/27/15)

The Governor has asked UH, which subleases the summit area from the state, to make ten changes to improve its stewardship of Mauna Kea.  His requests included making the TMT the last telescope on the mountain; getting rid of at least 25 percent of the telescopes by the time TMT is ready for operation in the 2020s; and returning more than 10,000 acres not being used for astronomy.

Governor Ige’s proposal provides us a positive first step in revising the way Mauna Kea is safe-guarded, but he needs to go much further.  The 11,300 acres of land within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve are public land trust lands classified under section 5(b) of the Admissions Act.  The revenues from public trust lands must be dedicated to specific purposes including the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

OHA receives a portion of revenues generated from the use of these public land trust lands.  The State should ensure that OHA and its beneficiaries receive adequate compensation for any future subleases.

To avoid possible fiscal impacts to the UH’s educational mission, any proposed general lease for Mauna Kea lands should require UH to charge a more appropriate rent for the sublease or use of such lands.  This would ensure that OHA beneficiaries and the State receive appropriate compensation for the use of these public land trust lands, and ensures that UH also receives adequate revenues to support its broader educational mission.

UH should be required to conduct a financial review of all public land trust revenue it receives.  This will help to identify gaps in revenue from public land trust lands, as well as clarify what revenues may be generated from specific lands, such as Mauna Kea.

The state should also require UH to develop a Master Plan that will return Mauna Kea to its original, pristine state once all of the current telescope leases expire and the lands are returned to the people of Hawaii.

Finally, UH’s authority to manage public trust lands must be reevaluated because of its continual abuse and mismanagement of our precious lands.  The state and the legislature should revisit the autonomy that they have given to the UH.  At the very least, they need to pull back some of its power.  They frequently complain about crumbling infrastructure and the need to raise tuition.  It’s should be clear to everyone that UH is not a fiscally sustainable institution, and such a desperate organization should not be in charge of Mauna Kea.

UH has failed to live up to its commitments and it is OHA’s responsibility as advocate for our beneficiaries to take whatever actions are necessary, legal or otherwise, to make things right on their behalf.

The mountain means many different things for many different people, but the bottom line is if you’ can’t manage it properly then the state should give it to someone else who can.

Moving a Mountain: The Real Problem

`Ano`ai kakou…  For the past several months, there has been a tremendous focus on Mauna Kea.  OHA, as a Hawaiian agency created to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians, is tasked with administering ceded land revenues to address this mandate.

Because of this responsibility, OHA is frequently asked by the state agencies such as the University of Hawaii (UH), nonprofits, and even private entities to comment, help, or, in some cases, take legal action on issues important to Native Hawaiians.

Hawaiians are not against science

Today, Mauna Kea is an issue that has gone global with Hollywood celebrities joining the protest to stop the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) at the summit.  The Star Advertiser says OHA lacks leadership because we are not telling Hawaiians to stand down because the state needs revenue and everyone benefits from science.  They also feel we need to stand by our previous decision.  The newspaper needs to do their homework before making blanket statements.

Six years ago, the majority of the Board of Trustees accepted Mauna Kea as the sight for the TMT.  OHA also weighed in on a contested case hearing asking UH and the Mauna Kea Management planners to force them to do an Environmental Impact Statement and ensure they do what was necessary to culturally protect the site for future generations.

OHA lost the lawsuit and, when approached again last year, the Board took no action for many reasons.  The most critical being we no longer had standing to sue since we lost the first case and two Native Hawaiian workers on the Big Island testified that they needed the jobs the telescope construction would provide.

The real problem

The bigger issue here is UH and the state legislature.  The state has been a poor trustee of our ceded lands.  They are leasing our lands for only a $1 per year and it allows UH to sublease the lands for millions, perhaps billions of dollars.  Why isn’t UH making the builders of the telescope give something back to our community for the desecration of our sacred mountain?  Why isn’t UH requiring the builders to clean-up their mess and take down their telescopes that aren’t operational?

Where is all of this money going?  Is it really going to science?  Has the state ever conducted an audit of the University to verify where all of the millions generated on Mauna Kea each year are truly going?  UH is frequently complaining they are broke.  Where is the accountability?  Revenues generated on Mauna Kea are both Hawaiian and taxpayer monies and yet who really knows how the dollars are being spent?

The state and the legislature needs to revisit the autonomy that they have given to the UH and pull back that power.  UH should not have the power, in the name of science, to do anything they want with our aina.

Hawaiians are concerned about access to worship afforded to them by the PASH Law.

UH does not own the mountain and the state should make them return it to the people of Hawaii in the same pristine condition it was in when they took it from us.

A strong voice in support of Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs

`Ano`ai kakou…  Thanks to my close working relationship with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA), OHA was able to partner with them for a second year in the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show from March 2-9, 2015.  Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs were once again represented in this prestigious event.

The ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show provides a tremendous opportunity for our Native Hawaiian beneficiaries to develop their self-sufficiency by giving them greater control over the marketing of their history and culture internationally and by bringing about a stronger, more authentic Native Hawaiian identity in the minds of travelers around the world.

I have served on the AIANTA board of directors for over two years.  AIANTA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit association formed in 1999 to help federally recognized tribes market their unique stories to visitors and to facilitate the ease to which travelers can explore Indian Country.  The association is made up of member tribes from the following regions: Eastern, Plains, Midwest, Southwest, and Alaska.  The Pacific region is now being represented thanks to my participation.

Each March, AIANTA sponsors an expansive Native American Indian booth located within the United States Pavilion at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show with more than 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 trade visitors and over 10,086 exhibitors from 180 countries.  The Pavilion attracts large crowds of participants and hundreds of international travel agents.

The success of our experience in 2014 encouraged another Hawaiian organization to participate with us in this year’s ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show.

Pohai Ryan, Executive Director of the Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NAHHA), accompanied us to ITB Berlin this year.  NAHHA had never participated before but after recently joining AIANTA, they have learned the value of promoting our indigenous cultures collectively to the European market.  It is NAHHA’s goal to promote guided Huaka`i conducted by Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs, to promote the programs of NAHHA and advocate for a greater Hawaiian cultural presence in our state’s tourism industry.  As part of their participation with AIANTA, NAHHA has worked to arrange private meetings with wholesalers who have been carefully vetted to meet with them, matching the profile they have specified.

Also as a result of my involvement last year, five Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs from Kauai decided to participate in this year’s ITB Travel Trade Show.  Hopefully, next year we will be able to have even more Hawaiian businesses participating.

I look forward to working with NAHHA on other projects to ensure that only authentic and quality representations of Hawaiian culture are portrayed in the hospitality industry.  We will also look for more opportunities to provide a strong voice in support of Native Hawaiian entrepreneurs.

An untapped market for authentic Hawaiian travel experiences

`Ano`ai kakou… I would like to thank the Trustees who voted to support OHA’s partnership with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) to participate in the 2014 ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show.

Each March, AIANTA travels to ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show with more than 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 trade visitors and over 10,086 exhibitors from 180 countries. The event attracts hundreds of international travel agents. For the first time, Native Hawaiians were represented at this very prestigious event.

The purpose for this trip was to give an opportunity to our Native Hawaiian businesses, which have not been able to reach international travel markets, to promote their businesses. After distributing hundreds of Native Hawaiian business brochures from all of the islands to international travel agents, I am positive that we made a significant impact. The European market was very receptive.

For many, many years, Hawaiians have wanted to see our local tourism industry focus on authentic Native Hawaiian experiences, but this has not occurred. I believe that OHA can assist our Native Hawaiian businesses by helping them reach international markets that they previously could not afford to reach on their own. Travelling to ITB Berlin allows OHA to further develop a potentially lucrative market for our people and improve their economic self-sufficiency.

If we don’t tell our story, who will?

After speaking first hand with ITB Berlin attendees, I discovered an untapped market of wealthy European travelers eager for authentic cultural and historical travel experiences. These travelers were hungry for experiences that someone on a tour would never be able to experience. These travelers want to stay at a location far longer than the average stay. They want to stay for weeks and immerse themselves in a new culture so that they can make their long distance travel more worthwhile. OHA is in a perfect position to use its expertise in Native Hawaiian culture and history to develop strategies to assist our beneficiaries to tap this potentially lucrative international niche market.

I also made personal connections with nearly 50 travel agents and forwarded their contact information to the appropriate staff members within OHA, including Waimea Valley, which OHA manages through the Hi’ipaka LLC.

I believe OHA can increase its presence at next year’s ITB Berlin Trade Show by sponsoring our own booth within the Native American and Alaska Natives’ section. By focusing on our unique culture and history, we can bring about a stronger, more authentic Native Hawaiian identity in the minds of travelers around the world.

I heard over and over again from everyone I spoke to at the trade show that they did not want to travel like a tourist in “Waikiki” watching “dancing hula girls.” They wanted to see authentic Native cultural and historical sites and have a unique Native Hawaiian experience. They pointed out the harsh truth that if they wanted to experience warm, tropical weather, they could just go to Mexico or Florida.

Finally, I would like to thank the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) for inviting OHA to participate in the ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show.

Tourism through a Native perspective

`Ano`ai kakou… On February 6, 2014, the Board of Trustees voted to support OHA’s partnership with the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) to participate in the 2014 ITB Berlin Travel Trade Show.

This action is part of an effort to provide Native Hawaiian beneficiaries with greater self-sufficiency by giving them greater control over marketing their history and culture internationally and bring about a stronger, more authentic Native Hawaiian identity in the minds of travelers around the world.

The knowledge brought back from ITB Berlin will also assist our beneficiaries to develop authentic Hawaiian cultural travel experiences to market in the future.

Partnering with AIANTA

I have served on the AIANTA board of directors since February 12, 2013. AIANTA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit association formed in 1999 to help federally recognized tribes market their unique stories to visitors and to facilitate the ease to which travelers can explore Indian Country. The association is made up of member tribes from the following regions: Eastern, Plains, Midwest, Southwest, and Alaska. With my participation, the Pacific region can now be represented.

Each March, AIANTA sponsors an expansive Native American Indian booth located within the United States Pavilion at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel trade show with more than 170,000 visitors, including 110,000 trade visitors and over 10,086 exhibitors from 180 countries. The Pavilion attracts large crowds of participants and hundreds of international travel agents.

AIANTA Invitation to ITB Berlin: March 5-9, 2014 in Berlin, Germany

Thanks to my close working relationship with AIANTA, OHA has been invited to share a portion of AIANTA’s booth space in their Pavilion at ITB Berlin. Until now, Native Hawaiians were the only Native people in America not participating in this prestigious event.

Future AIANTA Partnership Opportunities

AIANTA President Sherry Rupert, who also serves as the Executive Director of the State of Nevada Indian Commission, was appointed this past June to the U.S. Department of Commerce Travel and Tourism Advisory Board. Rupert’s appointment helps to further strengthen AIANTA’s working relationship with the U.S. Commerce Department. Rupert is also a Benton Paiute tribal member.

The Obama administration, through agencies such as the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the U.S. Department of Commerce, and the National Park Service, is working to promote Native American culture and arts and to demonstrate the contributions they have made to United States.

AIANTA recently worked with the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service (NPS) to develop a historical book on the 20,000 American Indians who fought in the Civil War. A similar historical project could be put together for Hawaii’s National Parks.

The advantages of developing partnerships with these federal agencies are enormous. Hawaii has National Parks that need more federal funding. Being able tell our story through our National Parks, like other Native peoples throughout the United States have done, is only one of the many potential advantages of participating in ITB Berlin with AIANTA.

Both the National Park Service and the Department of Interior have significant funding set aside for the promotion of Native American projects. Why should Native Hawaiians be left out?

Cultural sensitivity and the media

`Ano`ai kakou… My office has recently received several complaints from beneficiaries outraged about a commercial using our Hawaiian language and iconic Hawaii landmarks such as Waikiki Beach and Diamond Head to promote their alcoholic beverage.

The commercial portrays a “local” couple who have set up a cooler on Waikiki Beach (in view of Diamond Head) in the middle of the day to openly consume alcohol.  The commercial ends with the phrase “E ‘imi kou wahi kahaone/Find your beach” appearing across the screen.

It is my understanding that the company’s local distributor was looking for a “fun and effective way” to promote their beer and they were trying to maintain elements of their national advertising campaign (“Find Your Beach”) while including “strong geographical cues that would suggest this commercial was a local production that was focused on reaching local audiences.”

However, after viewing the commercial, I found it to be offensive, misleading and culturally insensitive for the following reasons:

(1) DRINKING ALCOHOL ON WAIKIKI BEACH IS ILLEGAL – Everyone knows you can’t set-up a cooler on Waikiki Beach and start drinking.  Not only is it blatantly illegal, it irresponsibly gives the mistaken impression that this type of behavior is tolerated by the local community.  Let’s hope that any tourist who saw the commercial doesn’t get the wrong idea.

(2) WAIKIKI BEACH IS FOR FAMILIES – The reason why alcohol is banned from Waikiki Beach is that Waikiki is primarily promoted as a family destination and attraction.  No parent wants their child to have to watch young adults dragging huge coolers through the sand and partying drunk while half naked.  Waikiki Beach is not a spring break party destination like Cancun (and we would never want it to be).

(3) NEGATIVE STEREOTYPE – Portraying locals drinking on the beach in the middle of the day also promotes and perpetuates the negative stereotype that all “local” people (Hawaiians) do all day is get drunk on a beach.

The beer commercial is reminiscent of the controversial 2006 ad in a magazine that depicting King Kamehameha’s statue holding a glass of champagne to promote cruises to Hawai’i.  While the beer commercial is nowhere near as offensive, it nonetheless shows that there is a lack of cultural sensitivity within the media, both here and on the mainland, and that OHA must be vigilant and vocal in speaking out against them.

I highly recommend that any ad agency or marketing firm thinking about using the Hawaiian language, culture, or historical figures in their advertisement to show some basic courtesy and take the time to consult a respected Native Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner first.  At the very least, they could call OHA and we will be happy to assist them.

I have sent a letter to the beer company’s local distributor asking that they please show some consideration and courtesy to the Hawaiian Community by immediately ceasing all future broadcasts of the beer commercial.  I also asked them to remove the commercials from video websites such as YouTube.

Let your voices be heard on this subject.  If you have comments to share, please write to our editor or call the local distributor.  Aloha Ke Akua.