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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

UH’s proposed rules fall short of ensuring appropriate stewardship of Maunakea

OHA submitted formal testimony to the University of Hawaiʻi stating that the University’s proposed administrative rules for Maunakea “fall short” of ensuring appropriate stewardship for the sacred mountain.

Enacted in 2009, Act 132 authorizes the University of Hawaiʻi’s Board of Regents (UH BOR) to adopt administrative rules to regulate “public and commercial activities” for its Maunakea lands.  The law also requires the UH BOR to consult with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) in developing these administrative rules.

In 2011, UH’s Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) provided OHA with “working draft” rules for review.  On June 20, 2011, OHA provided its initial comments in a seven-page letter expressing a number of concerns with this early draft rule package (see below for a PDF of this letter).  For the next six years, OMKM did not provide a response or meaningfully consult with OHA on its expressed concerns.

On Nov. 8, 2017, OHA filed a lawsuit in First Circuit Court against the State of Hawaiʻi and UH for their longstanding and well-documented mismanagement of Maunakea. More information on OHA’s lawsuit can be found here: oha.org/maunakea.

In the spring of 2018, the Maunakea Management Board chairperson and OMKM staff reached out to OHA to consult on an updated draft of the administrative rules for Maunakea.  Over the course of several meetings, the draft administrative rules were slightly amended to reflect a subset of OHA’s concerns; however, OHA emphasized the need for the rules to address a number of significant and continuing concerns, including concerns that were originally raised in 2011.

On Aug. 19, 2018, the UH BOR announced the start of the formal administrative rule making process and invited the public to provide input on a proposed draft. On Sept. 11, 2018, OHA submitted its formal comments to the current draft rules to UH.  In our letter, we state that:

While OHA appreciates that the longstanding lack of administrative rules has substantially hindered much-needed management of public and commercial activities on Maunakea, OHA believes that the current proposed rules fall short of meaningfully ensuring the appropriate stewardship of Maunakea, including through the protection of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary rights. Accordingly, OHA urges the inclusion of additional provisions to more comprehensively and sustainably manage and mitigate the impacts of public and commercial activities on Maunakea.

A link to PDF of our full letter can be found below.

UH will be holding four public hearings on the draft Maunakea administrative rules in September:

  • September 24, 5 to 7 p.m., Sullivan Conference Center, UH Cancer Center, 701 Ilalo Street, Honolulu
  • September 25, 5 to 7 p.m., ʻImiloa Astronomy Center of Hawaiʻi, 600 ʻImiloa Place, Hilo
  • September 26, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m., Waikoloa Elementary and Middle School, 68-1730 HoʻokoStreet, Waikoloa
  • September 28, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., ʻIke Leʻa—Room 144, UH Maui College, 310 West KaʻahumanuAvenue, Kahului

To review the proposed Maunakea rules and to submit your testimony, please visit UH’s website: http://www.hawaii.edu/offices/bor/adminrules/proposed.html.

OHA Letters on UH’s Proposed Administrative Rule for Maunakea



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