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OHA transfers nation-building task

By Timothy Hurley

Honolulu Star-Advertiser

May 29, 2015

In a move to maintain its neutrality, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is handing off responsibility for the final stage of its nation-building campaign to a new group that will independently administer an election of delegates, convention and final ratification vote.

Na’i Aupuni, a group of five volunteer and unpaid directors with ties to Hawaiian royalty, has been given nearly $2.6 million originally earmarked for the effort aimed at moving Native Hawaiians a step closer to self-determination as authorized by the state under Act 195.

“This is an encouraging sign for our efforts to empower Native Hawaiians to determine their own future through a process that is open to all of them,” OHA Chairman Robert K. Lindsey Jr. said in a news release.

The group, which formed in December, is already working with a fiscal sponsor, the nonprofit Akamai Foundation; has hired an attorney, William Meheula; and retained a public relations firm, Pacific Communications.

There is also a new website — naiaupuni.org.

The original nation-building timeline had called for the election of delegates in September of last year, with a convention, or “aha,” to draft a governing document or constitution, taking place in October or November and an up-or-down vote on the document in January.

The goal now is to complete the nation-building campaign by early 2016, although a final timeframe has not been set, officials said.

Na’i Aupuni formed after OHA reached out to the alii trusts, royal societies, and other Hawaiian organizations last year to discuss self-determination and nation building.

According to the group’s website, OHA is a semiautonomous state agency that may not legally be able to oversee the delegate election process. During the meetings with OHA, leaders of the Hawaiian alii groups answered a call to establish an organization independent of OHA to lead the campaign. In the end, five members from three alii trusts volunteered.

The directors of Na’i Aupuni are:

>> President James Kuhio Asam, executive director of the King William Charles Lunalilo Trust;

>> Vice President Pauline Nakoolani Namu’o of Ahahui Ka’ahumanu;

>> Secretary/Treasurer Naomi Kealoha Ballesteros of Hale O Na Ali’i;

>> Geraldine Abbey Miyamoto of Ahahui Ka’ahumanu; and

>> Selena Lehua Schuelke, president of Hale O Na Ali’i O Hawaii, Chapter 1.

According to Na’i Aupuni, board members decided to serve as individuals and not as representatives of any one organization in order to preserve their autonomy. Also under an agreement with OHA, Na’i Aupuni’s directors will not run for office within the nation-building process.

The $2.6 million from OHA consists of income and proceeds from the public land trust. According to an agreement with Na’i Aupuni, OHA agreed that the group has no obligation to consult with OHA on its decisions and needs no authorization from OHA to conduct its business.

Act 195 created the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, named Kana’iolowalu, which over the past year has been building a registry of Native Hawaiians eligible to participate in the nation-building process. More than 125,000 people have signed up.

4 comments to OHA transfers nation-building task

  • WIN808

    Neutrality?

    That’s no different than the Provisional government
    changing its name to the Republic of Hawaii they all
    add up to hewa!

    Self-determination, that’s good! More names to add to
    the treasonous list! Even Alii were put to death for
    their unlawful actions, no different today!

    OHA should use $10.00 from that $2.6 million dollars
    and re-send Kamana’opono Crabbe’s May 5, 2014 letter
    back to John Kerry, now that he has time while he
    recovers from a broken leg, so he can re-think the
    treaties entered into between the U.S. and the
    Hawaiian Kingdom. Kerry should also consider on how
    some Swiss judges are starting to view their own
    country’s treaty relationship with the Hawaiian Kingdom!

    Neutrality, huh!

  • lono

    When will the American hawaiians,realize that we are still a nation state,surely they have
    To be aware of Dr. Keanu Sai ‘s dissertation on the continuity of the hawaiian kingdom state,as he gave a presentation to the hawaiian civic clubs.I guess the gather around the fort kanaka would give up their inherent rights that their kupuna secured for them with the KUE petitions.America sure did a great job dumbing down a lot of people,better wipe the makapiapia away so you can see again.But when money and power are involved people will sell their souls,AUWE.

  • 4myohana

    Found it kinda interesting when I read x governor Abercrombie and Lt governor Tatsui on the list of war crimes…
    What’s10 bucks in an investment of truth?…
    Kapu Aloha

  • Lono kapu

    OHA should have put that $2.6 and all other $ derived from public and estate trusts, into a fund for Kanaka who are getting hard time securing DHHL residential lots because of their “financial assessment” being unsatisfactory. In fact IMO, every DHHL residential lease should have attached to it enough $$ to build a hale satisfactory to the needs of the ohana it is intended for! Period! That is the future. That is where our “Nation building” should start. If not… the $$ jus going into one different pocket. Jus saying…Malama kakou Hawaii nei. LLHK

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