News Briefs | April 2024

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Halulu Fishpond Access Preserved

Nonprofits Trust for Public Land (TPL) and Waipā Foundation, the County of Kauaʻi, and State of Hawaiʻi announced the purchase of a 1/4-acre of land in the Waipā ahupuaʻa on Kauaʻi’s north shore. Known as the Halulu Fishpond Access, the property includes a community path to Waipā’s coastal zone along Hanalei Bay and part of the fishpond itself.

TPL facilitated the purchase of the land from Waioli Corporation and its conveyance to the Waipā Foundation, whose ownership of the property will protect it and ensure that the land can continue to feed, inspire, and nurture community resilience.

This acquisition marks TPL’s 50th successful project in Hawaiʻi as the nonprofit celebrates 50 years of serving Hawaiʻi. TPL has protected over 77,000 acres across Maui, Kauaʻi, Hawaiʻi Island, Molokaʻi, and Oʻahu, and connected 27,000 community members to outdoor spaces close to their homes.

The county’s Public Access, Open Spaces and Natural Resources Preservation Fund contributed $850,000 and the state’s Capital Improvement Program and Legacy Land Conservation Program contributed $450,000 toward the purchase. The property is now encumbered by a perpetual conservation easement, the first of its kind held by the County of Kauaʻi, which restricts the land to cultural, conservation, and agricultural uses.

Waipā Foundation was established 30 years ago by local farmers determined to save space for Hawaiian practices, people and values. They will continue to use the land as a living learning center to educate the community through hands-on experience.

Honokōhau Bay Lands Permanently Protected

Photo: Honokōhau Bay

Nonprofit Nā Mamo Aloha ʻĀina o Honokōhau, in partnership with the County of Maui and nonprofit Hawaiʻi Land Trust (HILT), has purchased 1.447 acres at Honokōkau Bay in Kāʻanapali, Maui, permanently protecting it for cultural enrichment, stewardship, ʻāina-based education, and traditional agriculture.

The County of Maui Open Space Program contributed nearly $750,000 toward the purchase, and community members donated numerous hours of in-kind services. Nonprofit HILT served as project manager.

Long neglected, Honokōhau was once an ʻāina momona. Nā Mamo plans to restore it through culture-based education, growing healthy food, and furthering ahupuaʻa connections. Following the Lahaina wildfires, this acquisition provides the West Maui community a rare space to connect to ʻāina, heal, and uplift one another.

“Like our community, this land has been through so much,” said Karyn Kanekoa, Nā Mamo Board of Directors secretary. “As we feed and heal the land, the land will feed and heal us. Mahalo piha to the county and HILT for their guidance and unwavering support. We never dreamed this would ever happen in our lifetime.”

“Partnerships with the community of place are integral to HILT’s commitment to protect places in perpetuity because it is they who hold a generational kuleana (both privilege and responsibility) to care for that place,” said Shae Kamakaʻala, HILT director of ʻĀina Protection.

UH Receives $2M Award for Indigenous Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH) has awarded UH Mānoa’s Center for Indigenous Innovation and Health Equity (CIIHE) a $2 million award to address Indigenous health disparities and advance health equity in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander (NHPI) communities with the potential to receive an additional $8 million from OMH over the next four years.

The center’s five-year initiative emphasizes implementation of innovative and culturally derived frameworks to prevent and improve disparities in chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension and diabetes, in partnership with Kōkua Kalihi Valley Comprehensive Family Services, a federally qualified health center in Honolulu.

UH’s efforts will focus on supporting community-based efforts that increase NHPI patients’ exposure to traditional cultural health practices such as lāʻau lapaʻau, mālama ʻāina, lomilomi, ʻai pono (healthy eating) and cultural birthing practices that can act as a buffer against chronic diseases and mental health disorders.

“We are excited by the opportunity that this projects provides us to continue to directly support our regional cultural practitioners communities in growing the evidence base for understanding traditional cultural practices as effective contemporary health interventions,” said Principal Investigator and CIIHE Director Kamuela Enos.

CIIHE was launched in 2021 with a $1 million grant from OMH and then received an anonymous gift of $4.6 million in early 2023. The center was the vision of Enos and UH Office of Strategic Health Initiatives Director and CIIHE Co-Principal Investigator Aimee Malia Grace.

NSF Section 106 Consultation Meeting Regarding Saint Joseph at Kamalo Cemetery, Molokaʻi

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is conducting consultation under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act related to NSF funding to the University of Hawaiʻi for research. The research is in response to a request made by the Saint Damien Cemetery Committee for identification of unmarked burials at a cemetery located on Molokaʻi, which would allow the committee to place commemorative markers where appropriate, to identify space for future burials, and to update registrar information.

The project is primarily using community-based ethnographic and archival research methods. If additional information is needed, non-invasive forensic and archaeological methods are to be employed, including mapping and temporary turf removal (with same-day restoration to its previous state), to determine whether there is soil discoloration present, indicating the presence of a burial site. There will be no disturbance of human remains. Descendants consulted by the research team in early 2022 did not view these methodologies as likely to result in any adverse effects to the burial sites.

Consulting parties are invited to attend a Section 106 meeting on April 11, 2024, 4-6 p.m. HST, at the OHA Kalana ʻŌiwi Room (Suite D2), 600 Maunaloa Hwy, Kaunakakai, HI to consider potential effects to historic properties associated with the proposed research activities. To attend virtually, please register in advance. Please contact NSF’s Federal Preservation Officer, Caroline Blanco, at NSF-Tribal-FPO@nsf.gov with any questions.