Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will hold a meeting today to select the board leadership.
Trustees elected in 2022 were inducted into their terms of office at an investiture ceremony held Dec. 8 at Kawaiahaʻo Church in Honolulu.
Newly elected At-Large Trustees Brickwood Galuteria and Keoni Souza, At-Large Trustee John Waiheʻe, Hawaiʻi Island Trustee Mililani Trask, Maui Island Trustee Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey and Oʻahu Trustee Kalei Akaka won election this year. Kauaʻi Island Trustee Dan Ahuna, Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi Island Trustee Luana Alapa and At-Large Trustee Keliʻi Akina won election in 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OHA’s 2020 investiture ceremony was cancelled.
In a symbolic show of unity, this year’s ceremony marked the first investiture where all nine trustees were inducted together since the first OHA board was established in 1981.
With a theme of “Hoʻoulu Lāhui Aloha – To Raise a Beloved Lāhui,” the ceremony was attended by the Royal Benevolent Societies, aliʻi trusts, state and county officials, OHA staff, and beneficiaries.
Trustee Lindsey offered remarks at the investiture along with OHA Ka Pouhana/CEO Dr. Sylvia Hussey.
“As one who has preached the value of working together in a spirit of lōkahi since first being elected as chair of this board two years ago, I see a symbolism in all of us receiving Ke Akua’s blessing together today,” Lindsey said. “May we continue to work in unity as one ʻohana as we move forward with the mission of this institution.”
OHA’s notable accomplishments this year include advocating for the rights of Native Hawaiians at the federal, state and county levels on issues such as holding the federal government to its trust responsibilities to Native Hawaiians, including ceded lands and the Public Land Trust; working with the state Legislature in raising annual payments to the agency from Public Land Trust revenues from $15.1 million to $21.5 million per year; supporting Hawaiʻi nonprofits serving the Native Hawaiian community; and assisting the Miloliʻi community in establishing a Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area.
Lindsey said participating in a working group to address issues surrounding OHA’s share of the Public Land Trust revenue and the development of OHA’s lands at Kakaʻako Makai – recently renamed Hakuone – will be key areas of focus for the agency in the coming year.
Each of the trustees was presented with a lei hulu and given a special blessing by Kahu Ken Makuakane to commemorate their work ahead.
The Honorable Todd Eddins, an associate justice on the Hawaiʻi State Supreme Court, administered the Oath of Office to the newly elected trustees.