Ka Wai Ola

OHA Hawaiian Registry Card for Mikaha Kawehi

The most common question posed to OHA’s Hawaiian Registry Program (HRP) is regarding the expiration date on the Hawaiian Registry card. Why does the Hawaiian Registry card expire after 5 years? It’s a good question. After all, a person’s ancestry doesn’t change over time, so why does HRP require beneficiaries to renew their card when their Hawaiian ancestry is already verified?

There are two reasons.

First and foremost, having beneficiaries renew their cards allows them to provide OHA with their current contact information. Any changes to a beneficiary’s address, phone number, email or name will be captured and updated in the renewal process. It is also an opportunity to create a new card for the beneficiary with a current photo.

The second reason is that renewing registry cards gives HRP the chance to ensure that a beneficiary’s Hawaiian ancestry has been verified under current ancestry verification requirements. HRP is charged with verifying ancestry through biological parentage and works diligently to ensure their verification methods do this. Over the years they have improved the verification methodology and requirements.

For example, in just 4 years the Hawaiian Registry Form has changed significantly. Beneficiaries who recently renewed their cards may have noticed that the current form requires more ancestry information than did the previous version.

Ancestry verification is not merely a matter of reviewing documents to see if the word “Hawaiian” is listed. Verification is much more involved. Ancestry is not always listed – or may be listed incorrectly – on a person’s documents for any number of reasons. A verifier needs to be able to identify inconsistencies in the documents they review and appropriately deal with each situation that arises. HRP is committed to ensuring that its verification processes and methodologies protect all OHA beneficiaries.

For these reasons, all renewals are re-reviewed and re-verified. If verifiers see something HRP did not know to look for in the past, they may request more documentation to ensure Hawaiian ancestry is properly verified.