With a gentle kiss from the moon, the golden rays of the sun begin to brighten the horizon as a new day is born.
As the new year has arrived, let us, too, gently kiss 2020 goodbye, as challenging as it was. For as much pain and hardship we may have endured, it also brought us time together with our families; it caused us to be creative and to think outside the box; and it tapped into our hearts to reach out and help our neighbors, our community, and those in need.
For this, let us be grateful and take the goodness of 2020 forward.
As we greet the new year with open arms, allowing the golden rays to brighten our horizon as a new year is born – 2021 – let us embrace its promise of considerable healing, solidarity, community and aloha. If we embrace these attributes, we will be able to start anew and repair the challenges experienced in 2020.
Included in my many goals are: 1) Ensure that our lāhui receive the Covid-19 vaccinations (once all of the front line medical staff and first responders have been immunized), starting with the kūpuna while focusing on total health and wellbeing for all our people; 2) Revisit the fiduciary duties of the trustees so that we may properly fulfill them; and 3) Implementation and renewed focus and commitment to OHA’s Strategic Plan that includes educational pathways, health outcomes, quality housing and economic stability, while also expanding OHA’s focus on two new ʻEndowment Strategies’ – the management of our people’s financial and commercial resources, and better stewardship of our land base and natural resources.
As part of the plan to promote economic stability, our Board will be focusing on OHA land assets beginning with the development of our lands in Kakaʻako Makai. The Board will analyze and advance the development’s financial feasibility and market analysis as the best steps forward in optimizing the highest and best use of these prime lands. The development of this land, and others, will need to be explored with diligent and strategic deliberation.
In pursuing OHA’s goals, we are committed to working with our community to preserve and perpetuate our language, culture, traditions and identity, and increasing community stewardship of Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural resources – which includes restoration of Native Hawaiian cultural sites, landscapes, kulāiwi and traditional food systems. And we will work hard to protect our iwi kūpuna at Kumukahi, Kāhoa, Makena, the Kahului Sand Dunes, and Kawaiahaʻo.
Additionally, protecting traditional and customary rights, increasing stewardship and trust lands, and continuing to defend our land, water (Nā Wai ʻEhā, Hanalei River Valley) and ocean resources for future generations, are also fiduciary responsibilities of OHA Trustees that will be magnified this year.
And lastly, OHA is committed to the continued support of our beneficiaries in all areas of stewardship. The protect Mauna A Wakea advocacy is a prime opportunity for OHA to shepherd a process to build a consensus in the stewardship management and land uses of our sacred ceded land resources such as Maunakea: “ʻauamo kuleana”- for the ʻāina and our people.
Yes, disagreements will arise, they always do, especially where passion and high emotions are the impetus for core and critical issues. But if we are determined to work together to resolve these challenges without delay, blame and costly litigation – we will persevere!
As we welcome the new year with excitement and anticipation to achieve our goals, let’s do so by remembering the wise and intelligent advice of our great Queen Liliʻuokalani, “Never cease to act for fear you may fail.”
Hauʻoli Makahiki Hou!