Ka Wai Ola

I’m writing my first KWO 2019 article on a ‘see forever’ but gorgeous, cold, wintry and blustery Waimea Day. The sky over Moku O Keawe is crystal clear. Transparent. Like glass. Vog free. It hasn’t been this clear since 1984. Our mountains sparkle brightly in the sunlight. This is a recent occurrence. Since Pele decided to call a ‘time out’ in mid-2018. For how long? No one knows. It’s her secret.

From our dining room window, I can see Mauna Kea. Mauna Kea ‘standing proudly in the calm’ on this beautiful morning. The twin Keck’s nestled on her snowless summit glisten in the morning sun. I’m able to see Mauna Loa peeking over her southwestern flank. The ‘long mountain’ is being nīle (curious). Peeking to see what Kohala and Hāmākua are up to. And, there’s Hualālai. The smallest and most humble of the three. The way the light is bending at this hour. Hualālai is painted a muted blue. That will change as the day wears on. Kīlauea is out of sight thus out of mind. Hidden from view. Shielded by Mauna Kea’s massive physique. But from time to time Kīlauea reminds us she’s alive and well when she rocks our big island with a 4.0 or 5.2 tremor out of Halema‘uma‘u.

On this the first month of 2019 I want to take a moment to reflect on the year gone by. It was a good year for OHA, despite a critical review by the State Auditor and some unnecessary drama played out in the news. Despite these storms! The OHA Board, with the help of our tough-minded, warrior CEO and battle hardened staff, was still able to move our canoe forward. We survived the typhoons bent on shattering and sinking our wa‘a. With Akua’s and your help we continue to serve you as best we can.

The November election is behind us. ‘Get chance now.’ 1. We have two new youthful fresh faces at Your Table at Nā Lama Kukui. 2. We heard your calls ‘loud and clear.’ Your pleas for harmony and unity. The need for us as a Board to work together to serve your interests. To serve OHA’s Mission as embedded in statue. ‘…Better conditions for native Hawaiians.’ There’s a proverb I rely on. Lean on frequently. Though it’s ‘Out of Africa.’ It has universal application. ‘If you want to go fast. Go alone. If you want to go far. Go together.’ You want us to focus on basic needs. ‘Bread and butter.’ Quality of Life stuff. Health. Education. Housing. Employment. You want us to partner, collaborate and work with others to meet our Mission and extend our reach. As OHA we cannot fulfill these basic needs by ourselves. The needs are too great and too many. Our resources are limited. Finite. 3. We will continue to implement the State Auditor’s recent recommendations. 4. The OHA Strategic Plan is being updated as the current plan is ten years old. 5. A Fiscal Sustainability Plan awaits approval as well as a 6. Sanctions Policy and Process to deal with Trustees who choose to stray from their fiduciary responsibilities. 7. The OHA audit is moving along.

A new wind is blowing across our bow. There is much to look forward to in 2019. With Chair Colette Machado as stroker, Vice Chair Kalei‘āina Lee steering and the rest of us paddling together. ‘The sky is the limit’ for our canoe. I’m very optimistic. Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou.

In the coming months our articles will focus on Hawaiian leaders.