Nearly 500 people submitted testimony and feedback on the University of Hawai‘i’s proposed administrative rules for Mauna Kea in September, prompting the UH Board of Regents to approve revision of the rules at its October meeting. More public hearings will be scheduled for the revised rules, possibly early in 2019.

OHA submitted formal testimony to the University of Hawai‘i in September stating that the University’s proposed administrative rules for Mauna Kea “fall short” of ensuring appropriate stewardship for the sacred mountain.

Enacted in 2009, Act 132 authorizes the University of Hawai‘i’s Board of Regents (UH BOR) to adopt administrative rules to regulate “public and commercial activities” for its Mauna Kea 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 Mauna Kea 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. 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 Hawai‘i and UH for their longstanding and well-documented mismanagement of Mauna Kea. More information on OHA’s lawsuit can be found here:

In the spring of 2018, the Mauna Kea Management Board chairperson and OMKM staff reached out to OHA to consult on an updated draft of the administrative rules for Mauna Kea. 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 Mauna Kea, OHA believes that the current proposed rules fall short of meaningfully ensuring the appropriate stewardship of Mauna Kea, 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 Mauna Kea.”