“I lele no ka lupe i ke pole” – It’s about the people!

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Keli‘i Akina, Ph.D., Trustee, At-Large

2020 was a year of unprecedented change for all of us in Hawaiʻi and across the world.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs also saw changes. I want to wish a fond aloha and much mahalo to Colette Machado and “Uncle Bob” Lindsey for their years of service to the Hawaiian people. My warmest welcome goes to newly elected trustees Luana Alapa and Keola Lindsey, and congratulations on the re-election of Trustee Dan Ahuna. Congratulations also to our new board and committee leadership, especially our new chairperson, Trustee Carmen Hulu Lindsey.

Photo: Trustee Akina with his mother, Marian Lupenui Akina
Trustee Akina with his mother, Marian Lupenui
Akina. – Photo: Courtesy

In the recent election, it was encouraging to see hundreds of thousands of Island residents participate in selecting OHA trustees.

People are looking to OHA to demonstrate compassion and greatness at this time. Compassion – because the needs of Hawaiians are greater than ever before and are compounded by the economic impact of COVID-19. Greatness – because OHA is positioned to do great things with its resources to meet the needs of the Hawaiian people. I look forward to working with my fellow trustees toward these ends.

As I enter my second term, I recommit myself to a three-fold vision that guided my first term:

  1. Help OHA protect the Native Hawaiian trust through audits and sound policies;
  2. Work with OHA to grow the Native Hawaiian trust by developing assets such as Kakaʻako Makai and securing OHA’s fair share of the Public Lands Trust revenues;
  3. Guide OHA in its use of the trust to meet the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education, and healthcare.

Upon my re-election as an OHA Trustee, my 92-year-old mother, Marian Lupenui Akina, reminded me of an ʻōlelo noʻeau she gave me: “I lele no ka lupe i ke pole; It is the tail that makes the kite fly.” In other words, be humble and honor the people, for they are the tail that enables a leader to fly. I am humbled by our great beneficiaries and commit myself to serve them with integrity in 2021 and beyond.


Trustee Akina welcomes your comments and feedback at TrusteeAkina@oha.org