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The management of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, one of the largest marine protected areas in the world, brings together a variety of government and community partners.

OHA becomes Papahānaumokuākea co-trustee

HONOLULU (Jan. 12, 2017) – In a historic move today, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), the state and two federal departments formalized an agreement adding OHA as a co-trustee of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument.

The updated Memorandum of Agreement for the monument was signed by OHA Chair Rowena Akana, Hawaiʻi Gov. David Ige, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell.

Today’s action brings the number of co-trustees to four: the Commerce Department (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration); the Interior Department (Fish and Wildlife Service); the State of Hawai‘i Land and Natural Resources Department (DLNR) and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

The addition of OHA as a co-trustee follows President Barack Obama’s August proclamation expanding the monument to 582,578 square miles, making it oneof the largest protected areas on the world.

“We thank President Barack Obama and our partners and supporters for making this a reality.  Since our community’s first involvement in the management of these kūpuna islands more than a decade ago, the goal has always been to get Native Hawaiians a seat at the decision-making table,” said OHA Chair Rowena Akana. “We understand the challenges ahead and are firmly committed to fulfilling our kuleana to this place and our beneficiaries.”

“This historic action rightfully places the Native Hawaiian voice at the highest levels of decision making for this culturally and spiritually significant wahi pana (sacred place) and will help advance our people’s understanding of the dep connection of our entire paeʻaina (archipelago),” said Kamanaʻopono Crabbe, OHA’s Ka Pouhana-Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to serving in our new role, in partnership with our co-trustees, to develop and implement a resource management structure that integrates the best of conventional science and traditional practices. We hope that Papahānaumokuākea will demonstrate to the world that integrating science and indigenous knowledge is the best management model to sustain our fragile global environment.”

“The protection of Papahānaumokuākea is essential because it represents the origins of our people. It is a continual source of mana for our people and is a pathway for us to connect with the spirits of ancestors,” said Dr. Kekuewa Kikiloi, chair of the Papahānaumokuākea Native Hawaiian Cultural Working Group. “The culture working group has always been a strong advocate for OHA’s elevated role, and through this achievement, it will allow culture to be further integrated into the management and daily operations of the area.”

Read the joint press release issued by Governor Ige’s Office here.

View the signed Memorandum of Agreement here.

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