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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Nominations for Maunakea Working Group open now

he Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives has passed House Resolution 33, which creates a working group to discuss the management of Maunakea. They have included seven seats to represent Native Hawaiian community groups and one seat for the Office of Hawaiian affairs, out of a total of 15 seats. The Speaker of the House has issued a public announcement encouraging the Native Hawaiian community to provide nominations for the seven Native Hawaiian seats, with special consideration to be given to residents of Hawaiʻi Island. 

Please see information on how to nominate and/or apply for this process at the bottom of this message.

OHA Comments on HR 33

OHA has expressed concerns about the make-up of this working group, in particular: 1) that in light of the historical neglect of Native Hawaiian concerns over Maunakea, the working group should consist of more than just a simple majority of Native Hawaiian voices; and 2) a supermajority of the members of this workinggroup (11 out of 15 members) will be appointed by a single individual (the Speaker of the House.)

OHA is sharing this information because the urgent matter of mismanagement on Maunakea must be addressed and the proposed working group does provide an opportunity to seek some resolution on many issues raised by the Native Hawaiian community and raised in OHAʻs lawsuit that outlines decades of mismanagement of Maunakea by the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) and the State of Hawaiʻi.

While the nomination process is imperfect, qualified individuals from a broad range of perspectives should consider submitting their names for consideration. It is critical that Native Hawaiian beneficiaries are included in these discussions, specifically Native Hawaiians who have demonstrated kuleana regarding Maunakea, such as lineal descendants and cultural practitioners from Hawai‘i Island who have sought to ensure better management and care of this sacred place.

Maunakea is part of the “ceded” lands corpus of stolen Crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom. UH has been responsible for the management of Maunakea since the 1960s. As outlined in OHA’s legal complaint (link here), the UH and the State have failed in their management of this sacred place that was stolen from the Hawaiian people, and as a result, the general lease held by UH should be rescinded.

View OHA’s testimony on HR33 here.

Maunakea Working Group as Proposed

HR 33 provides that the working group consist of the following membership:

  1. One member to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, to serve as the chairperson of the working group to facilitate the development of a consensus around the future management of Maunakea;
  2. Three members of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  3. Seven members who are Native Hawaiian to be nominated by Native Hawaiian groups, organizations, or communities and appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives;
  4. One representative from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs;
  5. One representative from the Board of Land and Natural Resources;
  6. One representative from the University of Hawaii Board of Regents; and
  7. One representative from Mauna Kea Observatories

Maunakea Working Group Nomination Process

Nomination Deadline is by 4:30p.m. Monday, April 26, 2021

Nomination Form is available here

Nomination forms must be submitted to maunakeaWG@capitol.hawaii.gov by 4:30p.m., Monday, April 26, 2021.


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