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OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Fulfilling the State’s Public Land Trust Revenue Obligations

Nearly 40 years have passed since the state formally recognized that “twenty percent of all funds derived from the public land trust” must be set aside to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians. However, after decades of litigation and negotiation over the interpretation of this requirement, in 2006, the Legislature and OHA agreed to $15.1 million as the temporary amount that should be transferred annually to OHA. Act 178 also required state agency reporting to provide data on what revenue was being generated from the use of public land trust (PLT) lands. Based on independent audits, and the state’s own accounting, this “interim” amount falls far short of the 20 percent of PLT revenues that Native Hawaiians and OHA are entitled to.

HB402 / SB1363 in the 2019 legislative session is seeking to ensure that OHA’s constitutional and statutory right to a pro rata share is more adequately reflected and that the state’s PLT obligations to Native Hawaiians are fulfilled.

Check the status of the measure in the Hawaiʻi State House of Representatives and Senate (HB402 / SB1363). To receive updates on the bill and other legislative efforts via email, and learn about opportunities to testify at upcoming hearings, sign up in the “Stay Engaged” form on our Legislative page at oha.org/legislation.

Watch the film “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

“Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied” documents the ongoing struggle—to ensure that the State of Hawai‘i fulfills its commitments to the Native Hawaiian people stemming from the loss of their ancestral lands.

The film describes the deep connection between Native Hawaiians and their ancestral lands, and how a portion of these lands were seized from the Hawaiian Kingdom after the overthrow in 1893 and placed in what is today called the Public Land Trust. The state administers this trust and is legally required to provide a portion of revenues from the trust to Native Hawaiians.

Through compelling interviews with former Hawai‘i Gov. John Waihe‘e III, Office of Hawaiian Affairs officials and Native Hawaiian advocates, Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied details the longstanding and complex efforts to ensure that the state fairly pays Native Hawaiians; documents the current shorfall in payments to Native Hawaiians; and shows how Native Hawaiians and their communities would benefit if they received appropriate funding from their ancestral lands.

In the simplest of terms, the film asks, “How do we make it right?”



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