Governor appoints McGregor as new Kahoolawe Commissioner

August 20, 2010, 7:22 AM HST · Updated August 20, 7:32 AM
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Longtime Protect Kahoolawe Ohana organizer and spokesperson, Davianna Pomaikai McGregor was appointed to serve on the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.

Governor Linda Lingle made the appointment, which is still subject to state Senate confirmation.  McGregor, who is a professor at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, has participated as a consultant in numerous studies and plans for restoration of the island’s cultural and natural resources..

Dr. Davianna Pomaika`i McGregor. “I have many years of experience as an advocate for the perpetuation of Native Hawaiian traditional and customary subsistence, cultural and religious customs and practices. I think this will be an important factor in planning for the future of Kanaloa Kaho`olawe under a sovereign native Hawaiian entity.”

“Dr. McGregor clearly fulfills the criteria and demonstrates the qualities that the Ohana identified as important for our representative on the KIRC,” said Kylee Omo of the Ohana. “As a historian of Hawaii and the Pacific, Dr. McGregor is knowledgeable of the history of Kanaloa Kahoolawe and its cultural and religious significance.”

Dr. McGregor has been a supporter of the Ohana since its founding in 1976. In the past 25 years, she has served as the primary spokesperson and liaison for the Ohana, first with the U.S. Navy, then with the Kahoolawe Island Conveyance Commission and most recently with the Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission.

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“We are pleased to welcome Dr. McGregor,” said KIRC Executive Director Michael Nahoopii. “This is an important period of transition for the KIRC, with the potential for the transfer of Kahoolawe to a sovereign Hawaiian entity as provided for under HRS Chapter 6K, should the Native Hawaiian Reorganization Act, commonly known as the Akaka Bill, be passed  by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama.”

Dr. McGregor earned her Ph.D. in Hawaiian/Pacific History from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She has taught in the Ethnic Studies Department at UH Manoa since 1974 where she is currently a professor. She is widely regarded as an expert on Hawaiian/Pacific history and contemporary issues and has authored a number of books, and several book chapters and journal articles on a wide variety of related subjects.

There are seven KIRC commissioners: One from the Ohana, two nominated by the Ohana and appointed by the Governor, one trustee or representative of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, one Maui county official nominated by the Mayor of Maui County and appointed by the Governor, one nominated by Native Hawaiian Organizations and appointed by the Governor and  the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. Dr. McGregor will fill the vacancy left by former commissioner and chair Noa Emmitt Aluli, M.D., who served on the commission from 1993 – 2001 and 2002 – 2010.

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