News Briefs | February 2020


Read News Briefs in ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Tech Talk with Kumu ʻŌlelo Hawaiʻi

Photo: Kaipo Leopoldino, Kamehaililani Waiau and Jonah Kahanuola Solatorio
(L-R) Kaipo Leopoldino, Kamehaililani Waiau and Jonah Kahanuola Solatorio are all using technology to teach Hawaiian language to their students at St. Louis, Samuel Kamakau Public Charter School and Kamehameha Schools respectively. View the video of their lively discussion filmed in Liliʻuokalani Hall at OHA.- Photo: Jason Lees

Commemorative Cornerstone Presented To ʻIolani Palace

The Friends of ʻIolani Palace was presented a commemorative cornerstone by members of the Lodge le Progres de l’Oceania, the Masonic lodge of King Kalākaua, at high noon on December 31, 2019, the 140th anniversary of the laying of the Palace’s original cornerstone.

“King Kalākaua helped to lay the cornerstone of ʻIolani Palace on this day 140 years ago, which was also the 45th birthday of his beloved wife, Queen Kapiʻolani,” said Paula Akana, Executive Director of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace. “The cornerstone was laid using the formal masonic ceremony and we are thankful to the current masons for this remarkable gift that rekindles their special relationship with the Palace.”

The 500-pound commemorative cornerstone is inscribed with the historic and commemorative dates, and the masonic symbols of the compass and the square. The replica cornerstone is currently displayed at the front stairs of ʻIolani Palace; a permanent location will be determined at a later date.

Documenting the Kahoʻolawe Aloha ʻĀina Movement

The Center for Oral History (COH), part of UH Mānoa’s Department of Ethnic Studies, has initiated the Kahoʻolawe Aloha ʻĀina Movement Oral History Project, which will collect and document the experiences of the people involved in the movement between 1976 and 1994; the individuals who were instrumental in stopping the bombing and military use of Kahoʻolawe.

Dr. Davianna Pōmaikaʻi McGregor, UH Professor of Ethnic Studies, is conducting the interviews assisted by Kamuela Werner, a graduate student in anthropology. Ultimately, McGregor hopes to interview about 100 people for the Project and has already completed a number of interviews, starting with founding Protect Kahoʻolawe ʻOhana (PKO) member Dr. Noa Emmett Aluli.

Initial funding for the Project is provided by the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge through the Native Hawaiian Education Program Noʻeau Grant, a federal grant from the US Department of Education. Due to the scope of the Project, and the need for extensive neighbor island travel, the COH will seek additional funding.

Moʻolelo from those who were part of the movement will inform and further preserve a pivotal moment in Native Hawaiian political, cultural and spiritual history. Interviews will be transcribed and broadly disseminated through UH Mānoa’s ScholarSpace, the Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission website and other platforms. “These filmed interviews will be a resource for anyone doing research about Kanaloa Kahoʻolawe and the Aloha ʻĀina movement,” said Dr. McGregor.

The movement began more than 40 years ago when the newly formed PKO filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court in 1976 (Aluli et. al. V. Brown) in an effort to prevent the US Navy’s bombing activities on Kahoʻolawe. The Project will likely to take two to three years to complete.

Friends of ʻIolani Palace Seeking Volunteers

The Friends of ʻIolani Palace is seeking volunteers to lead their upcoming School Experience tours.

“ʻIolani Palace really comes to life with the stories told by our volunteer docents,” said Paula Akana, Executive Director of The Friends of ʻIolani Palace. “We’re excited to launch our new School Experiences tours this year, where docents will be able to share special stories with Hawaiʻi’s youth.”

The 7-week School Experience Docent Training sessions will be conducted on Thursdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. starting on February 27 through April 9, 2020. The registration deadline is February 13, 2020.

The training includes lecture sessions, reading assignments and self-led study projects. A $60 registration fee covers the training manual, lectures, field trips and other necessary materials.

For more information, email Timothy Pham at or call (808) 522-0822 ext. 131.

Hawaiʻi PSA for Census 2020 features Native Hawaiians

The US Census Bureau has released a series of public service announcements (PSAs) to increase awareness and to educate the public on the importance of participating in the 2020 Census. Here in Hawaiʻi, the PSA features notable personalities from the Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander Community including Māpuana De Silva, Henry Kapono, Dr. Jon Osorio and Hāwane Rios.

The PSAs are one piece of the Census Bureau’s integrated communications campaign. In an effort to reach as many people as possible and ensure a complete and accurate count, theCensus Bureau sought input, advice and research from diverse audiences, communities and stakeholders in producing the messages. The Hawaiʻi PSA can be viewed here:

OHA Selects Grant Administrator for $1.1 Million in Scholarships

OHA has selected the UH Mānoa Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program to administer a $1.1 million grant to be used for higher education scholarships for Native Hawaiian students.

The purpose of this grant is to increase the number of Native Hawaiian students who graduate from college, or who earn a vocational education certificate. The Mentorship Program has two priority areas: 1) support scholarships for Native Hawaiians who want to pursue vocational certificates, undergraduate and graduate degrees; and 2) provide wrap-around services for non-traditional Native Hawaiian students to help them complete a post-secondary degree, or vocational or technical education.

As the grant administrator, the Mentorship Program will provide OHA Higher Education Scholarships to Native Hawaiian students across UH’s ten-campus system. Each scholarship recipient will be matched with an on-campus coordinator and attend a scholarship orientation at their respective campus. The Program will provide scholarship recipients with advising and mentoring, professional and leadership development, and culture-based workshops.

Between 2010 and 2018, OHA provided more than 2,000 post-secondary education scholarships totaling more than $5.6 million. For more information about OHA’s Higher Education Scholarship, contact the Mentorship Program at

Agreement Reached to Address Shoreline Contamination on Kauaʻi

Represented by Earthjustice, a coalition of community groups including Nā Kiaʻi Kai, the Surfrider Foundation and the Pesticide Action Network entered into an agreement with the State of Hawaiʻi’s Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC) last December in federal court to address ADC’s ongoing violations of the federal Clean Water Act in West Kauaʻi. The court ruled in July that ADC was violating the Act by daily discharging millions of gallons of water contaminated with pesticides, sediment and heavy metals from the drainage ditch system it operates on the Mānā Plain into nearshore ocean waters.

The agreement provides for implementation of a robust water quality monitoring program, disclosure of water quality data on a public website, and ADC must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Approximately 40 miles of drainage ditches collect polluted runoff and groundwater from land that ADC licenses to large-scale agribusinesses and various industrial operations. The ditches are unlined and eroding, and empty along Barking Sands and MacArthur beaches. An NPDES permit will limit the amount of pollution ADC can empty into the ocean to ensure that the discharge does not violate water quality standards.

“Our members have been living near the ditches and fishing near the outfalls for generations,” said Nā Kiaʻi Kai representative Bren Nakaʻahiki. “We deserve to know whether these waters are safe and have peace of mind that there will be regulatory oversight over this pollution as soon as possible.”

“ADC’s commitment to monitor for pesticides will provide a more complete picture of the toxic runoff from large-scale agriculture on Kauaʻi’s west side,” said Dr. Carl Berg of Surfrider’s Kauaʻi Chapter. Surfrider began sampling for pesticides in 2013, which alerted the government and public that the ditches were contaminated and ultimately led to more testing by state and federal agencies.

DOH Issues Violation Notices for Two Honolulu Streams

In early January, the Hawaiʻi Department of Health (DOH) issued two Notice of Violation and Order (NOVO)s. The first was against the Hayama Trust, HH Constructions, Inc., and Structural Hawaiʻi, Inc. for discharging an estimated 193 cubic yards of dirt, gravel and construction materials into Mānoa Stream back in May 2019. The respondents are required to prevent additional discharges, remove all unauthorized materials from the stream, and pay a penalty of $40,000.

The second NOVO was against the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS), R.M. Towill Corporation, SSFM International, Inc., and Drayko Construction, Inc. for discharging sediment from Nuʻuanu Reservoir No. 4 into upper Nuʻuanu Stream over a period of 18 days in February and March 2019 and failing to report this discharge to the DOH for 15 days. The sediment was discharged as a result of the failure to complete dredging activities before draining water from the reservoir. The sediment flowed through the reservoir’s drain and into upper Nuʻuanu Stream where it affected water quality from the upper watershed to Honolulu Harbor. The respondents must implement corrective action and are subject to a monetary penalty.


Photo: Video premiere of the #Jam4MaunaKea worldwide kanikapila
On January 10, hundreds attended the video premiere of the #Jam4MaunaKea worldwide kanikapila at Artistry in Honolulu. The video was released via social media the following day, where it has been viewed over 1.5 million times. OHA assisted Mana Maoli with funding and production assistance.- Photo: Jason Lees