News, updates, finds, and stories from staff and community members at KAHEA.
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News, updates, finds, stories, and tidbits from staff and community members at KAHEA. Got something to share? Email us at:

Restoring culture and game fish

Posted by alanakahea at Jun 16, 2009 08:03 PM |

From Alana:

These days it seems like everyone who regularly fishes in the Islands have one question on their minds: where have all the fish gone? No, they didn’t swim away. No, they haven’t gone to another fishing spot. They have actually all been caught. This is the result of roughly a century of unregulated fishing in Hawai’i. And now solutions are finally being sought. The kapu system, which governed what fish could be caught and when, reigned in pre-contact days, and might be making a comeback. Although this system might mean less weekends fishing, and more weekends basking on shore, popular game fish populations like ulua and mahi-mahi could be restored, and the so could the joy of a giant catch.
Read about how this system works on Moloka’i here.

UH Battles on for Massive Telescope

Posted by alanakahea at Jun 16, 2009 07:01 PM |
Filed under: ,

From Alana:

Perhaps Instead of a clearer picture of the space outside our world, those on the high slopes of Mauna Kea need to have a better focus of what is nearest to them.
For over 30 years the University of Hawai’i system has been adamant about constructing as many telescopes as possible on the summit of Mauna Kea. Since that time has elapsed, they have built a road network that leads to 13 massive telescopes, some of which consist of several structures. The construction itself, to put it lightly, was destructive and careless. It has led to the compromise of a very fragile ecosystem, and the subsequent endangerment of various species including the Wekiu bug. Native Hawaiians who value Mauna Kea for its sacred history in their culture have also had to deal with restricted use of the summit for ancestral worship. Life is already struggling to cope with the development on Mauna Kea, and now another telescope– the largest in the world– is still in reach for the University. It would be situated upon the last untouched plateau of Mauna Kea, and could feasibly cause as much destruction as the other telescopes combined.
To learn more about the fight to protect Mauna Kea, and to get involved, go to

This website for the Sacred Land Film Project poignantly describes the history, importance, and contemporary issues of Mauna Kea.

Fishing For Solutions- Easy Steps You Can Take To Increase Ocean Health

From Melissa:

Do you love a tender piece of sashimi and salmon grilled to perfection like I do? To ensure the future of our seafood eating please check out the following article and follow the easy steps included to become a more conscious consumer!

We paid for what?!

Posted by melissakolonie at Jun 16, 2009 05:53 PM |

From Melissa:

We, the taxpayers, paid city workers overtime to illegally dump cement into our precious Ma’ili’ili stream that supports native and endemic species. Guess what? Now we’re paying them to clean it up… illegally! C’mon City of Honolulu, really?! Check this out:

Update: Conditional Approval for UH's Mauna Kea Plan

Posted by Marti Townsend at Apr 13, 2009 08:50 PM |
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From Marti:UH spends big on backing for its new Mauna Kea plan

After two days of testimony — the majority of it in opposition — the Land Board gave preliminary approval to the University’s new plan for Mauna Kea.  The Land Board seemed to agree that the plan is not “comprehensive” as the Third Circuit Court required — and opponents have argued — because they required four specific additional plans be written within the next year. The Land Board also appeared to agree  with opponents that the University is not ready for any management authority over Mauna Kea because they added conditions to the plan that stipulated the Land Board has final say on everything the University does on the summit.

To preserve their rights, opponents of the plan requested a contested case hearing on the Land Board’s decision.  One of the plaintiffs, Clarence Kukauakahi Ching, a Native Hawaiian cultural practitioner and retired attorney said:

“It is unfortunate that the University has put forth this half-baked plan.  It forces the public to challenge the plan through a contested case hearing because the Land Board cannot legally approve an incomplete plan and the law provides the public only one opportunity to formally raise concerns.”

The University poured out a lot of money to get support for their plan.  At both days of the hearing, the University was represented by the President of UH, Chancellor of UH at Hilo, Interim Director of the Office of Mauna Kea Management, Chairman of the Mauna Kea Management Board, three of some of the highest paid attorneys in the state, and their public relations consultant.  It is highly unlikely that these individuals volunteered their time to sit through this public hearing – unlike the members of the public in the room — so it is possible that this one of the most expensive public hearings held in Hawaii.  Somewhere on the order $10,000 (remember, the University is publicly funded).

They also gave away food, “E malama Mauna Kea” t-shirts, buttons, and other gifts to garner public support, which by all accounts was lukewarm at best.  Everyone at the hearing – even the President himself – acknowledged that the University’s history on the summit is atrocious.  The University made every promise it could to convince the Board (and the public) that they would not make the same mistakes that pushed the Wekiu to the verge of extinction, allowed hazardous chemicals to contaminate the environment, desecrated the sanctity of the summit, and violated the trust of the people of Hawaii.  Unfortunately, there’s no way to enforce these promises.

Kealoha Pisciotta, President of Mauna Kea Anaina Hou and also a plaintiff in the case to protect Mauna Kea, said:

“While we are heartened to see so many islanders calling for greater protection of Mauna Kea  — to “E Malama Mauna Kea,” we have found the actual language in the UH CMP and the UH bill will actually do the exact opposite. The UH CMP does not malama Mauna Kea.  It blocks public access and forces Hawaiian practitioners to get a permit to worship.  It even allows the UH to destroy Hawaiian cultural sites and paves the way for over 40 more telescopes.  We encourage everyone to thoroughly read what is actually written in the UH CMP and UH bill.  What is written is what really counts, not what the University promises.”

Despite the University’s propaganda, most testifiers did not support the plan.  Alii Ai Moku Paul Neves of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I said in his testimony:

“I read the University’s plan and what I see is the fox grinning with chicken feathers in its mouth and broken eggs under its claws, asking for the opportunity build the next chicken-house.  The sacred summit of Mauna Kea belongs to the people of Hawaii not the University.  Given the history of abuse and misuse of the mountain by the University, it makes no sense to put the University — the developer — in control of our summit-temple.”

If you are concerned about protecting the summit of Mauna Kea and want to learn more, then visit our website:  Consider joining the Mauna Kea group at  And take action in future action alerts on Mauna Kea, like this one to hold H.B. 1174 because it seeks to give rule-making authority over the summit to the University.

Don't Raid, Make the Telescopes Pay!

Posted by Marti Townsend at Apr 08, 2009 01:26 AM |
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From Marti:

For all of you how took a moment to submit testimony opposing HB 1741 and the proposal to raid the Natural Area Reserve Fund, Land Conservation Legacy Fund, and the Affordable Housing Revolving Fund – MAHALOS!!!!   Thanks to your support, the Senate not only proposed far less cuts to the fund, but also proposed increasing the tax collected on property conveyances over $1 million.

But we can’t let up.  The House version of the bill (SB 884) still proposes zeroing out much of these funds that go to protect Hawaii’s watersheds (and therefore water quality), hunting, hiking, and fishing grounds, and control invasive species.   To take action now, click here and send a message to your Legislator (and all legislators) expressing your support for these conservation programs.

Remember to them tell them:  Don’t Raid, Make the Telescopes Pay!  Legislators would not need to raid conservation funds if they just collected rent from all of the foreign telescopes using state lands on Mauna Kea.  It is estimated that the state could collect as much as $50 million a year from the telescopes based on the market-value of the land.  In fact, state law requires that rent for state lands be based on the market-value of the land.  So, why not follow the law and protect the environment by collecting the rent?  Makes sense to me.

Thanks to the coalition of conservationists watching this bill for this breakdown of the Senate amendments to HB 1741:

Mahalo for your help thus far on HB1741! The Senate Ways and Means Committee met today, and proposed amendments that would decrease the Legacy Land Conservation Fund from 10% of the conveyance tax to 5% (prior version would have zeroed this out); decrease the Natural Area Reserve Fund from 25% to 20% (prior version would have decreased to 10%); decrease the Affordable Housing Rental Trust Fund from 30% to 25% (prior version would have decreased to 15%).  In addition, the amendments proposed tax increases for over $1 million sales, and for second home purchases.  The Committee passed the amended bill out of committee (Sen. Hemmings, Sen. Tokuda and Sen. Tsutsui voting no).  This is far better than the original bill, but even without the bill, we’re facing 50-60% cuts for these program due to decreases in conveyance tax revenues.

Click here to take action to protect these important conservation initiatives.

Where is OHA on Mauna Kea?

Posted by Marti Townsend at Apr 04, 2009 11:35 PM |

From Marti:

Last week, the Board of Trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs was supposed to take a formal position on the University’s new proposed development plan for Mauna Kea.  Surprisingly, they deferred decisionmaking.  It is likely that the OHA Trustees will not be able to take up the measure until after the Board of Land and Natural Resources votes next Friday on whether to adopt the plan.

This is really unfortunate.  As the state’s advocate for the best interest of Hawaiians, OHA’s Trustees should really take a stand on the University’s plan.  Is the plan good for the sacred summit and Hawaiians or not?  If it is not, then how does it need to be improved?

With great insight and knowledge, OHA staff have detailed the numerous shortcomings of the University’s development plan and explained what improvements are needed so that the plan complies with the law and actually protects the irreplaceable natural and cultural resources on the summit, as well as the interests of Native Hawaiians.  Their review highlighted:

- The plan is not “comprehensive” as defined by the Third Circuit Ruling because it fails to address multiple land uses, such as development limits and decommissioning. It also fails to comply with DLNR requirements for management plans because it lacks details, timetables, and mitigation measures.

- The plan fails to consider the Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act and Hawai`i’s historic preservation and burial laws in not only inadequate, it is illegal.

- The plan delegates management authority over Mauna Kea’s numerous historic resources to the university, which has no experience or expertise in managing historic properties.  In fact, the University’s approach to cultural practice as outlined in the plan is “offensive.”

Click here to read OHA staff’s full review of the University’s new development plan.

On March 25th, OHA’s Committee on Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment voted to send a letter to the Land Board expressing the Trustees’ willingness to work towards enhancing the management plan. With all of this, why did the full Board of Trustees choose not to act?  Are the Trustees preparing to contradict the expertise of their staff in support of the University’s development plan?

The OHA Trustees should be defending the best interests of Hawaiians, not the University.  This includes advocating for the strongest possible protections for the public trust natural and cultural resources on the summit,access to those resources (especially for cultural and religious practice), and the collection of market-based rent on all of the leases of public lands by foreign telescope entities.  Unfortunately, some of the OHA Trustees seem unwilling to take this position.

Thus, the burden now falls to individuals to make their voice heard on the quality of the management plan before the Land Board next week.  Please attend the public hearing in Hilo on April 8 and 9th at the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel. If you are unable to attend, please submit written testimony — our virtual testimony table makes it easy to just click-n-send, so you have few extra moments to personalize your submission — just click here.

If you are interested, the University’s plan and the Land Board’s staff recommendation are available on line, click here.

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