OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Burial Councils

OHA Seeks Island Burial Council Candidates

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) continuously seeks qualified candidates to recommend to the governor as nominees for appointment to fill vacancies on the island burial councils. We accept applications for all regions, year-round. We frequently recommend nominees for seats which are currently filled by a member whose term will expire the following year. Moreover, occasionally, we recommend that the Governor appoint more than one representative from a certain region.

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Island Burial Councils

There are five island burial councils serving the following areas: Hawaiʻi, Maui/Lānaʻi, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu and Kauaʻi/Niʻihau. Each council consists of nine members (*with the exception of Moloka‘i). Every council must have at least one representative for each of six regions and up to three landowner/developer representatives. *Moloka‘i Island Burial Council consists of five members, including at least one representative for each of three regions and up to one landowner/developer representative.

Hawaiʻi Island
  • Kona
  • Puna
  • Ka’u
  • Hamakua
  • Hilo
  • Kohala- VACANT
  • Landowner/Developer- VACANT (1)
Kauaʻi and Niʻihau
  • Waimea/Na Pali
  • Koloa
  • Hanalei- VACANT
  • Lihuʻe- VACANT
  • Kawaihau- VACANT
  • Niʻihau
  • Landowner/Developer
Maui and Lānaʻi
  • Makawao
  • Lahaina
  • Honuaʻula
  • Wailuku
  • Lanaʻi- VACANT
  • Hana- VACANT
  • Landowner/Developer
Oʻahu
  • Ewa
  • Koʻolauloa
  • Koʻolaupoko
  • Waiʻianae
  • Kona
  • Waialua
  • Landowner/Developer- VACANT (2)
Molokaʻi
  • Kalawao- VACANT
  • East Molokai- VACANT
  • Central Molokai
  • West Molokai
  • Landowner/Developer- VACANT

Kuleana of Island Burial Councils

The island burial councils play a crucial role in the care of iwi kūpuna (ancestral remains) found in Native Hawaiian burial sites. Island burial council members meet on a monthly basis to:

  • Determine whether previously identified Native Hawaiian burial sites will be preserved in place or relocated.
  • Assist the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) and its State Historic Preservation Division in developing an inventory of Native Hawaiian burial sites.
  • Make recommendations regarding appropriate management, treatment, and protection of Native Hawaiian burial sites, and on any other matters related to Native Hawaiian burial sites.

Nomination, Appointment, and Confirmation Process

OHA solicits candidates year round and considers applications each year, in the fall.  Nominees are selected, approved by the OHA Board of Trustees, and transmitted to the Governor by December 1.  By law, at least two regional representatives on each of the island burial councils must be selected from a list of candidates provided by OHA.  The Governor appoints members to the island burial councils from lists developed by OHA and DLNR, usually in the early part of the year, and submits his appointees for Senate confirmation during the legislative session.  The Senate Committee on Hawaiian Affairs will hold a public hearing to receive public testimony on each of the appointees and will make a recommendation to the full Senate who will then vote whether to advise and consent to the appointments.  The Senate must confirm all Governor-appointed island burial council members during the legislative session at the time of or immediately following their appointment.

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