Exemption Sought on holders of Kuleana Lands with Appurtenant Water Rights
By Wendy Osher
The House Committee on Hawaiian Affairs passed advanced a bill that seeks an exemption for owners of kuleana lands from paying taxes and fees for their water. House Bill 696 is aimed at ensuring that traditional and customary rights of kuleana land owners are not threatened.
This includes rights to the cultivation or propagation of taro, the gathering of hihiwai, opae, o’opu, limu, thatch, ti leaf, aho cordage, and medicinal plants for subsistence, cultural and religious practices.
Rep. Mele Carroll of Maui, who introduced the bill said, “I am very pleased that the Hawaiian Affairs Committee has passed this bill exempting the kuleana land owners from these unnecessary and burdensome taxes. The longstanding customary rights and cultural traditions of these land owners should never be viewed or used as revenue generating streams for the State.”
The bill now advances to the Committee on Water, Land and Ocean Resources for further consideration.