Welina! Aloha Mai Kākou! Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!
With the culmination of 2021, it is 43 years since OHA was established. It is with aloha that I look back at all of the effort and ambition and review what we have been trying to achieve. The more solidly we have laid foundations for OHA’s success, the greater capability we have for achieving our mission at this time. But if we have broken the rules, done what is not pono, or taken shortcuts, then we have only ourselves to blame. For kūpuna, this is one of the most important times in our lives. It is almost as if we have been climbing a mountain for many years, and now the “peak” is finally in sight.
There are areas where OHA has prepared carefully which will now become tremendously productive. Our opportunities are at a “peak” for achievement and for additional responsibility and power. If OHA tries to avoid its increased responsibilities, we might run the risk of losing everything, even in the areas where we have prepared well and have taken responsibility.
Completing our Mana i Mauli Ola 15-year strategic plan has allowed us the ability to work on particularly exacting and detailed creative projects, from education to health and culture. The degree of stability achieved at this time will greatly help our beneficiaries have a solid core of assets into perpetuity.
OHA will survive only if we are able to satisfy the REAL needs of our people. We must be particularly conscious of this now. The more REAL our objectives are, the more we can help our beneficiaries by making benevolent choices.
I hear our beneficiaries saying things like, “Why hasn’t God given us more? Don’t I deserve better? What’s the point in trying? I could never be great at anything because nobody gives me a chance. Life is so hard! No one understands! Why doesn’t OHA do something?”**
**Translation: Why hasn’t the State of Hawaiʻi given us the 20% revenue due to OHA as written in its constitution? What’s the point of trying to increase revenue to help our people when the Hawaiʻi Community Development Authority and the Legislature places obstacles to block us without even giving us a fair chance for a hearing?
Even though our lawmakers might resist our efforts, I think it is advisable to work patiently to bring them around to our point of view. We shouldn’t withdraw from the confrontations, but also not fight blindly. That would guarantee defeat. Kindness, patience and perseverance will carry us through (see “words to live by” in the attached photo). Ke Akua Pū.
Me ka haʻahaʻa, a hui hou, Trustee Leinaʻala Ahu Isa