Perez-Wendt Named to Native Hawaiian Roll Commission

September 8, 2011, 2:38 PM HST · Updated September 8, 2:38 PM
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By Wendy Osher

Hawaiian flag. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Maui resident, Mahealani Perez-Wendt was named today as the Maui representative on the five-member Native Hawaiian Roll Commission (NHRC).

The NHRC was established with the passage of Act 195, and starts the process aimed at establishing federal recognition for Native Hawaiians.

Perez-Wendt is a resident of Wailuanui in East Maui.  She served as the Executive Director of Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) for 32 years before retiring in December 2009.

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During her tenure the NHLC litigated key cases including the landmark Public Access Shoreline Hawai’i v. State, and Waiahole Community Association v. State.

Perez-Wendt, 64, has published poetry and stories in more than a dozen literary journals and anthologies. She is a graduate of the Kamehameha School for Girls.

Other members of the Commission are: former Governor John D. Waihe’e (At-Large), Lei Kihoi (Hawai’i), Na’alehu Anthony (O’ahu), and Robin Puanani Danner (Kaua’i).

“Each brings experience, talent, knowledge, and skills that collectively create a broad-based team,” said Governor Abercrombie in announcing his selections today. “This team will put together the roll of qualified and interested Native Hawaiians who want to help determine the course of Hawai’i’s indigenous people,” he said.

The Commission will be responsible for preparing and maintaining a roll of qualified Native Hawaiians as defined by the Act.  Once its work is completed, the Governor will dissolve the Commission, and the roll will be used as the basis for participation in the organization of a Native Hawaiian governing entity.

“Now is the time to unify as a people,” said At-Large Commissioner Waihe’e. “The belief in our nation building process is being realized. It has been a long time coming but today we have a renewed sense of confidence for our people and our future,” he said.

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