Uncle Pat Writes DHHL Chair & Hawaiʻi Island Mayor


I’m Patrick L. Kahawaiolaa, a native Hawaiian defined, pursuant to the HHCA, 1920, as amended July 9, 1921, (42, 42 stat. 108) 67th Congress and the current president of the Keaukaha Community Association (KCA), formally settled as Kūhiō Settlement Dec. 16, 1924, with 61 native Hawaiians being awarded a residential lot to begin the process of “rehabilitating the race” as was envisioned by Aliʻi Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole when, as a Territorial Senator to the U.S. Congress, he and others were instrumental in getting the HHCA, 1920 enacted into law and in 1959 this Act of Congress was incorporated as a proviso to Statehood, an Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union, Act of March 18, 1959, (Pub L 86-3, 73 stat. 4, the Admission Act §1).

It continues to disturb me and the native Hawaiian community of Keaukaha when now for approximately 60 years (1964-2024), for whatever the reasons our community, our trust lands and its people continue to suffer by the illegal use of our trust lands for the Hilo airport, roads, county flood control and, in this case, the Hilo Wastewater pumping station, the sewer transmission lines beneath our trust land through Pua Ave, Nahale-a Street along the lands of Honohononui (KSBE) through the airfield to the plagued Hilo Wastewater Treatment Plant (HWWTP)…and now again to be reminded of the lack of maintenance and continued deteriorating conditions being reported which this county is now under a consent decree with the EPA since 2016 and many other unknown issues associated with its catastrophic problems waiting to occur and it is not even being discussed about the catastrophic problems within Puhi Bay where the outfall has been located of the past 60 years…

My biggest concern is that while the state and county governments continue to give lip service to closing cesspools, it is the critical areas of Hilo that receive all the attention. That’s my perception and that waste comes through those lines that traverse our lands to the HWWTP, saving the county millions of dollars had these lines been placed on another route.

We have not discussed the cost of cesspool closures, sewer connections, with which the Department of Health (DOH) and EPA are also involved, but all acting like the 800 lbs elephant in the room.

If you use our trust lands, pay fair compensation for that use – water sources, utilities, all uses of our trust lands – but the “fair compensation” portion is never discussed with beneficiaries.

You talk and hold discussions with our managers, DHHL, but their existence is based in statutes and provisions that they, in Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Commission, 277 P.3d 279, in the Findings and Facts and Conclusions of Law (FOFCOL) of Judge Castingetti, “…they cannot serve two (2) masters…” Their obligation is to the beneficiaries, not to their employer the State of Hawaiʻi, or the governor, but to the beneficiaries, as defined.

I’m always available to discuss ways to keep my community informed…but the county government need also be receptive to provide meaningful solutions with community support and not saying ‘we’re from the government and we’re here to help you because we know better’

It is the beneficiaries of the trust and our trust lands that are suffering, not the state DHHL, State of Hawaiʻi or county.”