From the Merrie Monarch Royal Parade to a Public Land Trust Win

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What an honor to represent OHA in the 59th Annual Merrie Monarch Royal Parade. I was overjoyed to ride alongside my dear husband, Tyler, our beloved baby, Ana Kapuahilehuaāiwaiwamaikahikinaiʻōlaʻa, and my treasured parents, Anna Lui-Kwan Akaka and Daniel Kahikina Akaka, Jr.

Hilo is the hometown of my mother so there was ʻohana from our Hawaiʻi Island side of the family, my brothers with their ʻohana, friends, fellow officials, and former staffers of my grandfather’s U.S. Senate seat in Washington D.C. Seeing our keiki and everyone together made for such a special experience.

Participating in parades has been a tradition for my ʻohana through the years that we hold dear to our hearts. I’m thankful to now share this with my husband and daughter. I am honored to pass on these values and traditions as we carry on our ʻohana’s legacy of service to our people. Mahalo nui to the organizers, attendees, participants and all who make the festival and parade such a great success.

It is my honor to serve as OHA’s Oʻahu trustee and as chair of OHA’s Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment. Working steadfastly side-by-side with our OHA Board Chair, CEO, COO, Public Policy Team, Counsel, Communications Team, Resource Management Chair and BAE Leadership Team has culminated in a landmark decision by our state legislature.

The Public Land Trust has been, and remains, an integral part of my work and strategic mission for our people. The outcome of this year’s legislative session, with the passing of the Public Land Trust bill, is remarkable and something of which to be very proud. This momentous legislation provides more funds to OHA and enables us to do even more for our beneficiaries.

Mahalo a nui loa to all who sent in testimony in support of the Public Land Trust. Mahalo a nui loa to all who have worked tirelessly towards the passage of this legislation. This is monumental and long overdue for our people.

Our collective voices have been heard and we need to continue our advocacy for our lāhui, keiki to kūpuna. More work is ahead to make this right – from the proper accounting of the inventory of ceded lands to receiving the full 20% of the Public Land Trust monies that are due to Native Hawaiians. Together, we can further collaborate and work towards the betterment of our Hawaiian people which, in turn, uplifts Hawaiʻi as a whole.