OHA: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Wao Kele o Puna

Photo: Lava flows at Wao Kele o Puna

Wao Kele o Puna is a 25,856-acre property that OHA owns on Hawaiʻi Island.  For OHA, the property reflects the weighted importance of ʻāina and its connection to Native Hawaiian culture and people. OHA’s aquistion of Wao Kele o Puna provides an opportunity for OHA to contribute to the protection of Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources through the lens of Hawaiian culture and practice.

Location:

Ahupuaʻa of Waiakahiula, Kaʻohe
Moku of Puna
Mokupuni of Hawaiʻi
Puna district, island of Hawai‘i

Acquired: 2006
Size: 25,856 acres
Zoning: Conservation. State forest reserve protective subzone
Cost to OHA: $250,000. Federal Forest Legacy Program paid the balance of the $3.65 million purchase price
Tenure and use: Owned fee simple
Acquisition objectives:

  • Protect natural and cultural resources
  • Protect traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians on the parcels

Features:

  • Forest Reserve; Puna Rainforest
  • One of few remaining tracts of lowland rainforest in the State of Hawaiʻi
  • Many benefits to surrounding lands and communities of Puna (watershed recharge, native plant seed bank for Kīlauea volcano, endangered species habitat, forest resources for gathering and cultural practices)
  • Sacred place for Native Hawaiians – part of the home of the Goddess Pele

Comprehensive Management Plan Complete

Since the beginning of 2016, OHA worked with its contractor, Forest Solutions Inc., and a number of subcontractors, to draft a Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) for Wao Kele o Puna, a 25,856-acre property that OHA owns on Hawaiʻi Island.  A substantial component to the planning process has been community engagement, which was conducted through ethnohistorical interviews, a community advisory council, called the ‘Aha Kūkākūkā, and two public meeting.

On July 6, 2017, OHA held a public meeting at the Kamehameha Schools Keaʻau Campus to present the Draft Comprehensive Management Plan. Mahalo to David Corrigan of Big Island Video News for recording the presentation, which is available for viewing below.  OHA’s Board of Trustees approved the Final CMP in August 2017 and OHA staff has since begun implementation.

E Nihi ka Helena i ka Uka o Puna – An Ethnohistorical Study of Wao Kele o Puna

Wao Kele o Puna Final Comprehensive Management Plan – 2017

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