For my family and friends ™ (haolegirl) wrote,
For my family and friends ™

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs

The Honolulu Advertiser annoys me once again with their editorial license to make Hawaiians look like money grubbing leeches. What they do not explain is that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is state law Hawaii Revised State Chapter 10. Here is an excerpt of this state law:

"[§10-1] Declaration of purpose. (a) The people of the State of Hawaii and the United States of America as set forth and approved in the Admission Act, established a public trust which includes among other responsibilities, betterment of conditions for native Hawaiians. The people of the State of Hawaii reaffirmed their solemn trust obligation and responsibility to native Hawaiians and furthermore declared in the state constitution that there be an office of Hawaiian affairs to address the needs of the aboriginal class of people of Hawaii.

(b) It shall be the duty and responsibility of all state departments and instrumentalities of state government providing services and programs which affect native Hawaiians and Hawaiians to actively work toward the goals of this chapter and to cooperate with and assist wherever possible the office of Hawaiian affairs. [L 1979, c 196, pt of §2]


§10-3 Purpose of the office. The purposes of the office of Hawaiian affairs include:

(1) The betterment of conditions of native Hawaiians. A pro rata portion of all funds derived from the public land trust shall be funded in an amount to be determined by the legislature for this purpose, and shall be held and used solely as a public trust for the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians. For the purpose of this chapter, the public land trust shall be all proceeds and income from the sale, lease, or other disposition of lands ceded to the United States by the Republic of Hawaii under the joint resolution of annexation, approved July 7, 1898 (30 Stat. 750), or acquired in exchange for lands so ceded, and conveyed to the State of Hawaii by virtue of section 5(b) of the Act of March 18, 1959 (73 Stat. 4, the Admissions Act), (excluding therefrom lands and all proceeds and income from the sale, lease, or disposition of lands defined as "available lands" by section 203 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended), and all proceeds and income from the sale, lease, or other disposition of lands retained by the United States under sections 5(c) and 5(d) of the Act of March 18, 1959, later conveyed to the State under section 5(e);

(2) The betterment of conditions of Hawaiians;

(3) Serving as the principal public agency in this State responsible for the performance, development, and coordination of programs and activities relating to native Hawaiians and Hawaiians; except that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended, shall be administered by the Hawaiian homes commission;

(4) Assessing the policies and practices of other agencies impacting on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, and conducting advocacy efforts for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians;

(5) Applying for, receiving, and disbursing, grants and donations from all sources for native Hawaiian and Hawaiian programs and services; and

(6) Serving as a receptacle for reparations. [L 1979, c 196, pt of §2; am L 1990, c 304, §§4, 16]

Seen at

Unfortunately the state of Hawaii holds ceded lands (about 1.4 million acres of former crown and government lands — once part of the Hawaiian kingdom) in trust for the Hawaiian people. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is due a share of the revenues derived from those lands under the Hawai'i Constitution. Of course AS USUAL the editors of the local papers use words that imply that Hawaiians are money hungry leeches when this is LAW.

That is why I have a problem with H. William Burgess as well. He is an attorney who took on oath to uphold the laws of the land. THIS is the law.

In any case... they should have labelled this article "State MUST PAY OHA AS MANDATED BY LAW $15 million a year." Instead they labelled it, "State OFFERS OHA $15 million a year." See the difference? And I KNOW that it's not Gordon Pang who did that and I will be writing to the editors to bitch about it. Anyway here is the article:

State offers OHA $15 million a year

By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Staff Writer

The state would allocate $15 million a year to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and pay a one-time sum of $17.5 million, under a partial settlement of the issue of revenues from ceded lands.

The agreement between OHA and the Lingle administration was announced yesterday. It still must be approved by the OHA board of trustees, which is expected to vote on it Thursday, and the Legislature.

Ceded lands are 1.4 million acres of former crown and government lands — once part of the Hawaiian kingdom — held in trust by the state. OHA is due a share of the revenues derived from those lands under the Hawai'i Constitution.

OHA, in recent years, has been receiving about $10 million annually as its pro rata share of revenues derived from the public land trust. That amount would be increased to $15.1 million under the proposed partial settlement. Also, the agency would receive $17.5 million as back payment for the period from July 1, 2001, to June 30, 2005, reflecting additional receipts from the use of the lands.

Clyde Namu'o, OHA administrator, said the state currently collects about $50 million annually from the revenues derived from ceded lands, including harbor fees, leases from a portion of the land under the jurisdiction of the Department of Transportation, parking revenues from 'Iolani Palace and other ceded lands, and leases from a portion of land in Kaka'ako under the jurisdiction of the Hawai'i Community Development Authority.

The settlement does not include additional state revenues that OHA believes it is entitled to. A decision in a lawsuit over that revenue dispute is pending before the Hawai'i State Supreme Court. These so-called "disputed revenues" include payment for use of a portion of the land under Hilo Hospital and University of Hawai'i at Manoa, airport landing fees, concession fees, and the state's share of revenues from DFS Hawai'i, the state's duty-free store contractor.

The state and OHA are continuing discussions on the disputed revenues. And the Supreme Court has agreed to reconsider its decision last year to dismiss OHA's legal claim to the disputed revenues.

OHA has never received any revenues from the sources under dispute. The amount at stake ranges from $150 million to hundreds of millions of dollars, according to estimates by state and OHA lawyers.

The proposed partial settlement was reached following more than a year of discussions between OHA and administration officials.


All payments to OHA were stopped by former Gov. Ben Cayetano in 2001 but Gov. Linda Lingle resumed those payments in 2003, shortly after she entered office. Cayetano halted payments after a Hawai'i Supreme Court decision that threw out the formula used to calculate how much OHA should receive. Before that ruling, OHA received about 20 percent of revenues from "undisputed" ceded lands.

OHA returned to court in 2003 in another bid to collect money in connection with the disputed revenues.

OHA Chairwoman Haunani Apoliona, in a press release, said she was pleased with the proposed partial settlement and commended Lingle for her work.

"With the work of the OHA negotiating team and concurrence of the OHA board of trustees, we acknowledge that this is only the first phase of work to be completed relating to the ceded land revenues," Apoliona wrote.

Lingle, in the same release, praised OHA officials and said the agreement is "the right and fair thing to do."


Leaders in both houses of the Legislature indicated they see support for the agreement.

"The Legislature needs to take this proposal very seriously because we have a constitutional obligation to make these payments," said Rep. Scott Saiki, D-22nd (McCully, Pawa'a), chairman of the House Hawaiian Affairs Committee.

"I would hope there will be an attempt in this legislative session to address the disputed amounts and attempt to find a resolution to that issue."

Senate Majority Leader Colleen Hanabusa, D-21st (Nanakuli, Makaha), said, "I don't see why it wouldn't go through." Hanabusa, who also serves as chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs Committee, added, "This is something that we've tried to resolve in one way or another."

State Rep. Ezra Kanoho, D-15th (Lihu'e, Koloa), the chairman of the House Water, Land Use and Ocean Resources Committee, said he too was pleased.

"This is something that won't go away. This is an obligation," Kanoho said.

Seen at

And yes... I did write to the editors to ask them for more responsible, fair, and balanced journalism.

Tags: gordon pang, h. william burgess, honolulu advertiser, office of hawaiian affairs, oha

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