Upon entering OHA as the O‘ahu Trustee, I inquired about holding O‘ahu Island Community Meetings throughout the island and community site visits to interact in-person with our stakeholders and beneficiaries in an effort to listen and monitor the pulse of our communities regarding their needs and concerns, and to explore and maintain working partnerships.
During the latter half of this year, select OHA Board of Trustees O‘ahu meetings have been held in the community, most during the early evening hours, to allow beneficiaries to attend after work.
I saw the value of OHA’s community meetings on other islands and wanted to give the same opportunity to our O‘ahu community since regularly scheduled BOT Meetings are held during workday hours. Additionally, the Trustees attend site visits in the area prior to these meetings to see firsthand the work benefiting our people throughout our Hawaiian communities.
A portion of these meetings is dedicated to allowing organizations that assist our beneficiaries to make presentations to the Board of Trustees. This year we had meetings at Waimea Valley, Windward Community College, UH West O‘ahu and at UH Mānoa’s Kamakakūokalani Center – Hālau O Haumea.
Among the many presentations, we were honored to have Executive Director Tina Tagad and Kahu Roddy Akau from Hālau o Huluena attend our meeting. The project’s intent is the preservation and perpetuation of lāʻau lapaʻau. Kahu Roddy shared his deep knowledge that he passes on to his students. OHA awarded a grant to Hālau o Huluena to continue their mission as it aligns with OHA’s priorities to protect, preserve and perpetuate our Hawaiian culture.
Lehua Kinilau-Cano from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands gave a presentation focused on the Papakōlea community. She informed the BOT that phase one of the slope stabilization and sewer improvements for Papakōlea was completed for $13million and phase two, which will cost $45 million, is ongoing. The $600 million that DHHL received from the legislature will specifically address the waitlist while improvements for existing homesteads require other funding sources.
Mahalo nui to OHA Board Chair Hulu Lindsey, administration, staff and our gracious hosts for making these meetings and site visits possible.
We welcome our beneficiaries to stay up-to-date and attend our meetings to express mana‘o and learn about the many organizations that are here to support our Native Hawaiian community. I look forward to future meetings and further work together for the betterment of our people and culture. For more information on upcoming OHA Board of Trustees meetings visit: OHA.org/bot.