Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely

`Ano`ai kakou…  As a senior Trustee, I have managed to live through some very difficult times within the walls of OHA over the past 23-and-a-half years.  As Trustee and staff members come and go, it never fails to amaze me about how they both come into our institution thinking that OHA began with them and they try to re-invent the wheel.  They didn’t bother to learn OHA’s history and the difficult ground we had to cover over the past 30-years to be where we are today.


Like other political offices, when some Trustees take over the power structure here, they manage to bring their “own” people into the organization and place them in strategic places throughout our offices, like the fiscal department, the legal office, and so on.  Consequently, even when they are no longer in the “driver’s seat,” they can still control the board through these staff.  This has become a debilitating factor for OHA Trustees who want to do their best to manage the Trust since these staff members who are loyal to just a few Trustees can put up stiff opposition almost at every turn.

Now, we can’t write anything specific about what goes on within the offices of OHA.  A Trustee is prevented from printing their columns in our newspaper because OHA’s “legal eager beavers,” who want to please those who keep them employed here, will find every excuse to stifle a Trustee and prevent them from talking about things that go on here.

OHA’s leadership will also go so far as to pass a specific policy to stop certain Trustees from calling attention to something they don’t want the public to know.  The kicker is, in my opinion, those rules are made up by lawyers who work for us, but are loyal to only a few Trustees.  This strategy works against Trustees in the minority who usually do not agree with the power structure.

Another trick is to put items on the agenda in an executive session instead of open session, thereby excluding the general public from listening to the discussion.  If this isn’t enough, they further silence the Trustees by telling them that they can’t speak about what was discussed, and then they lock-up the minutes, so that even the Trustees do not have ready access to them.

Even when a super majority of six Trustees vote and approve a money appropriation, the staff members are prevented from acting on the action because they are being instructed to throw up road blocks and make excuses to slow the process or prevent it from happening at all.

For a very long time now, OHA has not been able to really function as a Trust.  It has become a political entity, where power is more important than fulfilling our mission to better the conditions of OHA beneficiaries.  You might say OHA looks more and more like the dysfunctional Congress.

Until the public elects people to the board who truly want to serve OHA’s mission and who have the best interests of the Trust and our beneficiaries in their heart, OHA will continue to function at half-speed instead of full-speed ahead.

Akana selected as Pacific Representative for AIANTA

`Ano`ai kakou…  On February 12, 2013, the Board of Directors for the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association (AIANTA) approved my nomination as one of two Pacific Representatives.  This is a great opportunity for all Native Hawaiians to network with American Indians and Alaska Natives to develop and implement programs that will help our communities build for the future while sustaining and strengthening our cultural legacy.

AIANTA is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit association of Native communities and businesses that were organized in 1999 to advance tourism in territories under the controlled of Native peoples.  The association is made up of member tribes from six regions: Eastern, Plains, Midwest, Southwest, Pacific and Alaska.

AIANTA’s Mission is to define, introduce, grow and sustain American Indian and Alaska Native tourism that honors and sustains tribal traditions and values.  AIANTA serves as voice and resource for its constituents in advancing tourism, assist tribes in creating infrastructure and capacity, provide technical assistance, training and educational resources to tribes, tribal organizations and tribal members.  AIANTA also serves as the liaison between Indian Country and governmental and private entities for the development, growth, and sustenance of Indian Country tourism.

International Outreach

According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, international visitors spent a record $14.3 billion in August 2012.  Each March, AIANTA sponsors an expansive American Indian Pavilion at ITB Berlin, the world’s leading travel and trade show.  This provides Tribal tourism departments the opportunity to showcase their programs and tour packages to the European tourism industry.

AIANTA booth participants have made invaluable contacts with international travel organizations, media and tour operators.  They were featured in the Brand USA Discover America Pavilion, attracting large crowds of participants and hundreds of international travel media representatives.  More than 172,032 trade professionals and consumers participated in ITB 2012.

Public Lands Outreach

Every major national park or monument in the American west has a relationship to a significant Native sacred site.  The upcoming National Parks Service centennial anniversary in 2016 affords Native peoples the opportunity to raise public consciousness on issues such as cultural resource protections, ancestral use of park lands, and participate in the benefits arising from increased visitation to the national parks during the centennial.

In 2011, AIANTA entered into a partnership with the National Park Service and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to insure full, uncensored tribal participation in NPS centennial interpretations, education, tourism and other programming efforts.

Annual conference

The annual American Indian Tourism Conference, co-hosted by various Native American tribes in their homelands, is designed to share knowledge, experience and best practices from both tribal and non-tribal tourism programs around the United States.  Each conference features mobile workshops, networking events and presentations from experts in the travel & tourism industry.

I see many similarities in the missions of both OHA and AIANTA.  We both serve as the voice and as a resource for our Native constituents.  We also serve as a much needed liaison between our respective Native Communities and governmental and private entities for the promotion, growth and development of economic opportunities and programs.

I look forward to working closely with AIANTA over the next few years to help our beneficiaries build for their future while sustaining and strengthening our cultural legacy.  Aloha Ke Akua.

More OHA News


Source: September 2009 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column


Despite the serious concerns voiced by our administrator regarding the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Observatory Project, on July 2, 2009, the board of trustees voted in favor of an OHA resolution supporting the selection of Mauna Kea as the site for the proposed project.  Trustees Cataluna, Waihee, and I were excused from the meeting and did not vote for the measure.

On July 22, 2009, Advertiser Staff Writer Mary Vorsino reported that Mauna Kea was selected for the TMT project despite the strong opposition from Native Hawaiian and environmental groups.  While Mauna Kea is considered sacred to us, the environmentalists are concerned about how the project will impact rare native plant and insect species at the top of the mountain.

The planning and permitting stage will begin in 2010.  Construction is scheduled to begin in 2011 and completed in 2018.  While this may seem like a done deal, the opposition posed by potential lawsuits could delay work on the new telescope. 


According to a July 16, 2009 Honolulu Advertiser article, the Kahana Valley living cultural park was established 30 years ago to preserve one of the few surviving ahupua’a.  Residents who were living there at the time received 50-year leases in exchange for 25 hours of work a month on cultural activities.  Last year, the state attorney general discovered that the leases had expired and six families without leases were told to leave.

During this past legislative session, Rep. Jessica Wooley introduced HB 1552 which authorizes the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to issue long-term residential leases to qualified persons in state living parks. The bill also establishes living park planning councils to develop state living park master plans to ensure the living park achieves its purpose and goals.  Mostly importantly the bill establishes a 2-year moratorium on evictions of residents of Kahana valley state park.

On July 8, 2009, Governor Linda Lingle said she intended to veto the bill and this forced residents to schedule a protest rally the very same day.  After the bill was vetoed on July 15, 2009 by the Governor, the veto was quickly overridden and passed into law by the legislature, much to the relief of Kahana Valley residents.  Those residents who faced eviction last October will be allowed to remain in their homes and the way is now paved for more leases.


According to a July 17, 2009 Advertiser article by Rick Daysog, a lawsuit was filed in state Circuit Court on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 by Princess Abigail Kawananakoa against the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), the Department of Health, the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) and Kawaiaha’o Church.

Princess Kawananakoa believes that Kawaiaha’o church officials and construction workers dug up and disturbed the burial plot of her ancestor Queen Kapi’olani and those of other Hawaiian families.  She also alleged that the church skirted state burial laws, with the help of state officials, to fast-track the construction of the project.  “This project is about greed, not God,” Princess Kawananakoa said in an e-mail to The Advertiser. “I must take this to court because I cannot allow the desecration of Hawaiian graves to continue.”

In April, church officials denied that the Kapi’olani plot had been impacted.  However, a month later, they said they were unsure whether construction work had dug into the Kapi’olani plot.

George Van Buren, an attorney for Princess Kawananakoa, wrote in the lawsuit that the church and DLNR officials should have known it would find human remains because the property used to be part of the cemetery.  Van Buren also stated that church officials and the DLNR disregarded the advice of the church’s archaeological consultants, who recommended a “subsurface archaeological study for iwi, or bones, and other cultural artifacts” before beginning construction.  “Kawaiaha’o Church was concerned that any archaeological inventory survey would discover a concentration of human burial remains in the graveyard that could hinder and/or perhaps halt construction of the multipurpose center,” Van Buren said.

DLNR officials would not comment, saying they have not yet reviewed Kawananakoa’s lawsuit. 


The Advertiser also reported that Dana Naone Hall, former chairwoman of the Maui-Lana’i Island Burial Council, also plans to sue DLNR and church officials over their handling of the matter.  Naone Hall, who has relatives buried within the church’s cemetery ground, said that state law requires Kawaiaha’o officials to do an environmental assessment of the property since the church is a “designated historic site.” 

In her July 2, 2009 letter to DLNR, the Department of Health, and the Oahu Island Burial Council, Naone Hall has brought up the following serious concerns:

(1) The necessity to be clear about burial sites and cemeteries on Kawaiaha’o Church properties;

(2) The history of repeated disinterment of Native Hawaiian burials should not continue without any standards;

(3) DLNR has not conducted the Historic Preservation Review required by its own rules;

(4) Kawaiaha’o is not a cemetery as defined in HRS Chapter 441 and HRS 6E-41;

(5) The burials that were identified during construction were known about beforehand not “inadvertent discoveries.”

(6) DLNR and DOH do not possess the legal authority to disinter burials at Kawaiaha’o Church in the manner suggested in DLNR’s June 11, 2009 letter to Kawaiaha’o Church; and

(7) The agencies cannot permit any further construction on the Kawaiaha’o Church property until the Environmental Assessment is lawfully concluded.

Until the next time.  Aloha pumehana.

Audubon’s Departure from Waimea Valley

By: Trustee Rowena Akana

Source: Letter to the Editor, February 2007

I write you in response to the resolution introduced by Councilman Donovan Dela Cruz regarding Waimea Valley and the Office of Hawaiian Affiars (OHA).  I truly appreciate the efforts of Councilman Dela Cruz, who came forth early on to help save Waimea Valley. 

I believe that what needs to be stressed about the Audubon’s departure from Waimea Valley is that it was not OHA who stopped the negotiations – it was the Audubon Society’s decision.

Make no mistake, the Audubon Society is without a doubt a national treasure itself because of all the good work that they do for the environment.  However, in the case of Waimea Valley, OHA’s primary mission is to work towards bettering the conditions of Hawaiians and Native Hawaiians and to protect and preserve the valley for future generations and to protect the Native Hawaiian trust.

As trustees, we are held to a higher standard than other elected government officials.  We must always be certain that our investments, whether it is in land or the stock market, are protected from litigation in order to keep the trust whole.  That said, there were criteria that OHA had to follow and we were required by law to include them in the terms of the proposed lease.  The Audubon Society, after their own careful consideration as a national organization, decided that perhaps the lease for Waimea with OHA may not be in their own best interests.  It should be stressed that OHA will be eternally grateful to the Audubon, the City Council, and the community for their assistance and perseverance in helping us acquire Waimea valley.

OHA is currently conducting a worldwide search to find another entity to take on the task of managing the valley and we would be more than happy to accept suggestions from the community and professionals who would like to share their mana’o.

We ask for everyone’s patience as we and the Audubon Society work through this transitional period.  Our goal is to successfully manage the beautiful valley and to work with the community to ensure that this occurs, no matter how long it takes.  OHA is committed to seeing this project through for everyone’s benefit.  I would like to personally thank the Audubon Society for its participation in preserving Waimea Valley for all of us.

Compromise needed for Waimea Valley management


Source: January 2007 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column

`Ano`ai kakou…  On September 21, 2006, the Trustees discussed whether OHA should sign a long term lease with the National Audubon Society to manage Waimea Valley.  I, along with Trustees Donald Cataluna and former Trustee Dante Carpenter, brought up several concerns regarding the Audubon’s management of the valley.

The Audubon’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.  Although they do excellent work in fulfilling their mission, they lack expertise in several key areas with regards to the proper management of Waimea Valley.

For example, the Audubon lacks the business expertise to commercially develop Waimea Falls Park’s existing restaurant complex and make it economically self-sufficient.  OHA has provided the Audubon with operating funds, but they still plan to ask OHA for capital improvement grants.  While the Trustees of OHA are strongly committed to the preservation of Waimea Valley, we also have the fiduciary responsibility to make sure that it doesn’t become a money pit.

The Audubon also lacks expertise in Hawaiian history, language, and cultural practices, which are crucial to the proper management of the valley.  Whoever manages the valley must also successfully involve the various community groups that fought to save the valley in the first place.  The valley will not prosper without their continued support.  At the writing of this article, the community is not comfortable with Audubon being in complete control of the valley.

I also have a serious concern with giving the Audubon a 30 year lease.  Who can say for certain where OHA will be in 10-years?  Now that the Democrats have taken control of Congress, federal recognition and nationhood for Native Hawaiians is imminent.  Will it be fair to the new Native Hawaiian governing entity to lock Waimea Valley into a long term lease?  We need to look at breaking the 30-year lease up into 10-year intervals, with a review of their performance at every five years.

The Audubon is also not negotiating in good faith.  In January of 2006, OHA was one of the five public and private groups that agreed to contribute money to buy Waimea Valley.  OHA contributed $2.9 million and advanced a total of $1 million for the National Audubon Society (which they would pay us back).  However, the Audubon later said that they would only pay the $1 million back if we gave them an acceptable (as determined by their board) long term lease to the valley. 

In order to save the plan to purchase the valley, OHA paid Audubon’s $1 million share, with a side agreement that they would pay us back after an “acceptable” long term lease was signed.  The Trustees were not included in these discussions.  I found out about it at our September 2006 board meeting.  So now, the Audubon is basically holding our $1 million hostage.

The Audubon is currently working from an extended June 30, 2006 interim lease, which may be extended again as OHA’s administration continues to work things out.  OHA’s new Land Division is preparing a new draft of the lease for review by Audubon.  Unfortunately, that draft isn’t ready yet and I haven’t been able to read it.  All of the Trustees need to read it before anyone at OHA signs it.  I am certainly looking forward to the Administrator’s update to the Trustees in the New Year.

With so many competing interests regarding Waimea Valley’s sacred culture sites, endangered species, its continued use as a park, and public access, a solution that will satisfy everyone will not be easy.  However, with a little patience, understanding, and cooperation, I am hoping that we can come to an agreement that will make the Audubon, OHA, and the residents of Waimea happy.  Otherwise, we should look at putting out a request for proposals (RFP) to see who else might be interested in managing this valley for OHA.  Have a prosperous and safe New Year!

Hawaiian cultural and natural resources exploited


Source: July 2006 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column

`Ano`ai kakou…  On March 2, 2006, I wrote University of Hawai’i President David McClain to request that UH abandon its patents on three varieties of Hawaiian taro.  I was disappointed that the University ignored Hawaiian cultural sensitivities by patenting a variety of taro that was developed through centuries of selective breeding by our native Hawaiians ancestors.  To make matters worse, the three patented Hawaiian taro are now exclusively licensed by the University, which forces farmers to pay a 2% royalty on gross sales of taro and prevents them from breeding or conducting research on the plants.  I urged President McClain to develop a strong policy that will ensure that our unique Hawaiian cultural and natural resources are not exploited. 

According to media reports, the University is currently researching ways to gain an exemption to its policy of automatically patenting new strains of taro.  UH’s vice chancellor for research and graduate education, Gary Ostrander, said the university “has come to both recognize and appreciate the unique place that taro occupies in the lives and culture of indigenous peoples and in particular our Native Hawaiian community.”  Ostrander said that while the institution has not determined how it will do so, “we can unequivocally state the intention of Manoa to make an exception to the process relating to patenting and licensing surrounding taro.” (Advertiser, May 17, 2006)

According to Ostrander, the issue is not a simple one for UH to resolve.  The three patented taro have been bred to be resistant to a fungal leaf blight and under UH union contracts, it must be protected through a patent.  He also said that if the university doesn’t obtain a patent, a commercial entity could easily obtain one and control the release of the hybrid.  “Manoa now must find a way to simultaneously be responsive to our faculty, their union, potential predatory commercial patents, and of no less importance, our greater Native Hawaiian community,” he said. (Advertiser, May 17, 2006)

While I understand that this issue will not be easy for the University to resolve, they must realize that time is critical and we can’t let this drag-on endlessly.  We must not allow Hawaiian intellectual properties to be left unprotected for even another day. 

One effective way to make this issue a priority within UH is to keep it in the public eye through protests.  Respected Hawaiian activist Walter Ritte has taken the lead by helping to build a stone memorial on the UH-Manoa lawn as a reminder of the connection between taro and Hawaiian culture.  He also helped to chain and lock the main entrances to the University’s School of Medicine in Kaka’ako, 15 minutes before the monthly UH Board of Regents meeting was scheduled to begin.  He stationed men dressed in white and yellow malos at the entrances to symbolically place a kapu on the building.

The protests shouldn’t be limited to just UH.  I sent letters to Senate President Robert Bunda and House Speaker Calvin Say in the last legislative session about this issue but, in the end, nothing happened.  Proposals were introduced to limit laboratory research and growth of genetically modified taro and coffee until mid-2011, and ban all work on genetically modified Hawaiian varieties of taro.  Unfortunately, these proposals went no-where.

It is important to note that the University has consistently taken license to capture Hawaiian resources without compensation to Hawaiians.  For example, the telescopes on Mauna Kea and the giving contracts to research companies to explore Hawaiian waters.  We need to seek legislation next year to make it illegal for the University to continue doing this without regulation.

With the election season coming up in the next few months, we need to make the protection of Hawaiian intellectual property rights an important campaign issue.  Our legislators need to know that we’re not going to sit idly by as the last of our valuable resources are stolen and controlled by a selfish few.  Imua e Hawai’i nei…

Vingha Dolce

By Trustee Rowena Akana
March 15, 2006

Source Sam Choy’s Kitchen

A Portuguese Roast

This is my Grandfather’s recipe and is usually served at Easter time or during the Holidays.

* 5 pounds pork butt
* 5 pounds meat for roasting (any type of roast)
* Hawaiian salt
* 3 tablespoons minced garlic
* 3 to 4 cups of white vinegar
* water (2 cups of water for every 1 cup of vinegar)
* whole baked potatoes, unskinned
* whole carrots, unpeeled
* chili pepper

Rub Hawaiian salt into the meat. The meat must have marbling in it. If it is too lean it will be dry.

Massage garlic into the meat. Lots of garlic gives it flavor.

Add 3 to 4 cups of vinegar and 2 cups of water into a deep pot for every cup of vinegar used. Be sure to taste your vinegar and water to make sure you are okay with the taste. If you aren’t, add more water or vinegar or salt etc. My Grandfather always put a little bit of fresh chili pepper in the mixture. Put any extra garlic in the pan too.

Let the meat and vegetables marinate overnight in the deep pot while turning meat every so often.

Remove vegetables before baking meat.

Bake meat at 350 degrees for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, depending on how much meat you have. If you have a lot of gravy, pour some of it out before you put your roast in the oven. Be sure to cover the roast.

Add the potatoes and carrots after first hour of cooking. The vegetables will cook much faster than your meat so be sure to take it out before your meat is done.

Use gravy from the marinade to continue to baste meat. Check it from time to time.

When your roast is almost done or done medium you may want to turn off the oven.

Slice meat and serve warm with hot vegetables.

Our family always took the roast out when it was medium done and let it cool a bit. We then sliced good-sized pieces along with the potatoes and put it into a frying pan with a little olive oil and then served it. Some people will want to serve it right from the oven. It really depends on your own taste.

Good Luck.

Mahalo City Council


Source: February 2006 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column

`Ano`ai kakou…  Special thanks go out to the nine City Council members who, on December 7, 2005, voted to reject a settlement proposal that would have allowed private homes to be built in pristine Waimea Valley.  The crucial vote paved the way for a new negotiated settlement between all interested parties that will eventually allow OHA to take ownership of the valley.  Those community members who testified before the City Council to save the valley should be proud of a job well-done.  As a Hawaiian, it fills my heart with joy that our state motto is alive and well.  Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono

The new $14.1 million settlement will be paid for by the U.S. Army ($3.5 million, negotiated by the nonprofit Trust for Public Land), OHA ($2.9 million), DLNR ($1.6 million), the Audubon Society ($1 million, advanced by OHA), and the City ($5.1 million).  Once the deal is approved by the City Council, Waimea Valley will finally be preserved in perpetuity.  I am personally elated for the North Shore residents and environmental activists who brought this issue to OHA.  None of this would have happened if it were not for their persistent efforts.

OHA will continue to be vigilant about former Ali’i lands that are up for sale.  Negotiations are currently taking place between all parties concerned to preserve Moanalua Valley.  I have no doubt we will succeed if we can generate the same cooperation and support that saved Waimea Valley.

A Hawaiian Cultural Center


Source: August 2004 Ka Wai Ola o OHA Column

`Ano`ai kakou…  It seems like almost every community in the state has its own cultural center except us.

The Okinawans have two of them.  The Maui Okinawa Cultural Center and the Hawaii Okinawa Center in Waipahu serve as a lively gathering place for the Okinawan community.

The Filipino Community Center in Waipahu was built to perpetuate and preserve Filipino culture.  The Japanese Cultural Center in Moiliili aspires to create a deeper knowledge of Japanese heritage.  The local Korean community is in the process of building a cultural center of their own where future generations can learn about their heritage and history.

So just why is every community so eager to build a community center? 

The Filipino community wanted a special place where they could feel comfortable participating in social and recreational activities.

The Japanese community wanted a place where future generations could look back and be fully conscious of their roots.  They also wanted a convenient and hospitable gathering place for the study, display, demonstration and interchange of such arts, culture, history, and language.

The Korean community wants a meeting place for the Korean community and a museum to preserve their history.

The Hawaii Okinawa Center provides meeting facilities, a library, an exhibit room and the office space.  They also have a 1,200-seat capacity auditorium and banquet hall, which provide a natural setting for cultural shows, performances, banquets, conferences, and receptions.

OHA’s constitutional mandate is to better the conditions of Native Hawaiians by protecting their entitlement rights, land, culture, language, and perpetuating their lifestyle and environmental resources.  An authentic Hawaiian Cultural Center should clearly be one of OHA’s top priorities.

So where is the Hawaiian Cultural Center?  The issue has been approached many times by many organizations but nothing has ever materialized.  Hawaiians have unique needs and concerns and yet we are simply lumped together with the general population and expected to assimilate.  This borders on the criminal.  We are the host culture, the same culture that is sold to the tourists. 

Shame on us for not creating a place of our own.  Other Polynesian cultures have already built focal points for their communities.

The Māori of Aotearoa/New Zealand have the Marae, a sacred open meeting area, and communal meeting house.  The Marae is a place with the greatest mana, the place of greatest spirituality; the place that heightens people’s dignity, and the place in which Māori customs are given ultimate expression.  It is the home of traditional Māori community life where official functions celebrations, weddings, christenings, tribal reunions, funerals take place.

Tahitians have open air sanctuaries also known as Marae.  All important events of a secular nature such as peace treaties, celebrations of war, or voyage preparations were held at the Marae.

So what would a Hawaiian Cultural Center look like?  In addition to serving to preserve, protect and perpetuate our unique traditions, customs, spiritual values and practices, the Center can also provide a place for: 

  • Large gatherings;
  • A market place where Hawaiian-made products and merchandise can be sold;
  • After school and weekend programs for our keiki and kupuna;
  • Learning Hawaiian history, language, cultural practices, music, crafts, the environment, seafaring, healing arts, martial arts; and
  • Archive Library and Genealogy Research Center.

OHA could be instrumental in getting the State to donate some land for a Center or negotiate a 99-year lease with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands.  Perhaps even a private company could donate some land.  The Filipino Cultural Center is built on land donated by AMFAC.  The goal of the center should be to eventually become self-sustaining, perhaps by becoming a major world-class visitor destination where anyone can experience, study and practice our living Hawaiian culture.

Sounds like wishful thinking?  Think again.  Where there’s a will, there’s a way.  I mua e Hawai’i nei…

Reaching out to Hawaiians on the mainland

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…