VIDEO: Manuwai Peters – Candidate Profile 2012

July 24, 2012, 1:48 PM HST · Updated July 25, 2:36 PM
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Manuwai Peters. Photo by Wendy Osher.

  Interview and transcription by Wendy Osher

INTRO: Tell us about yourself and your campaign.

Aloha mai.  My name is Manuwai Peters and I am running for the Maui County Council Molokai seat.  My father was born and raised in Wailuku, Maui; and my mother was born in Kalamaula, Molokai.  I have been a resident of Molokai since 1992, where I have been a public school teacher at Kualapu’u school, Molokai High and Intermediate School, and currently at Molokai High School.  I have a record of public service, honesty, integrity, and I want to be your next council member for the island of Molokai.

Question 1:  What are your thoughts on the Safari Cruise visits to the island. Would you support similar ventures that involve the transport of passengers via vessel to the island?

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The coming of cruise ships to Molokai was a very controversial happening on the island, as you may have seen in the media; however, the harbors are under the control of the state of Hawai’i, and not really the county council.  We did learn some very important lessons with the cruise ship.  First of all, the Moloka’i people want to be asked.  They want protocol to be followed, so that we know what’s going on and we are a part of the process to receive and to participate in this economic endeavor–that was an important lesson.  A second thing that we learned was that we have a process called ‘aha-kiole, where a community comes together to discuss and look at cultural and natural resources and how to best manage these things.  It’s really important that we look at the possible impacts of cruise ships and tourism on our island and how we plan to mitigate these negative outcomes, and what’s in it for the local residents.  Everybody really wants to support new and exciting opportunities on the island of Molokai, but it’s really a matter of following the process, and asking for permission.  In the future, if we are approached for any other type of tourism developments, such as cruise ships, I think we want to follow that same process of asking for permission, and talking to the people of Molokai, (and) our island leaders, before any decisions are made.  That is probably the most important lesson that we learned from the Safari vessel.   

Question 2:  What makes Molokai such a special place and what will you do as a council member to ensure protection and preservation of the island lifestyle?

Undoubtedly, Molokai island is a very special place.  The people, the rural lifestyle, the natural and cultural traditions of our island–they are amazing.  We want to continue these traditions on Molokai.  As a council member, I want to work with the community on Molokai to come up with solutions that fit these agendas.  As your next council member, I will work hard, I will work collaboratively with the community to ensure that we are able to maintain Molokai as a special place–the crown jewel of Maui County–and at the same time, allow for new ideas and new opportunities to come to our shores so that our people may flourish.

Question 3:  Molokai has a history of a very high unemployment rate. What can you do at the council level to support the creation of jobs foster economic vitality on the neighbor islands?

Molokai does have a very high unemployment rate, but it certainly doesn’t mean that people are not doing things.  People are very busy surviving and thriving on Molokai.  The high unemployment rate stems from a lack of public and private jobs in our community, and people chose to want to live a subsistence lifestyle.  For me, as your future council member, I would want to encourage small economic development projects on the island, such as supporting small existing businesses, and providing training and grants to new entrepreneurs on the island who have good ideas, who want to use local products and knowledge to create things for retail or wholesale sale, and items like that.  Knowing that small businesses are the backbone of Hawai’i, as a council member, I want to ensure, and make a commitment to our small business owners on Molokai that I am there to support them, to listen to them, and to consider ordinances that would impact them positively, and make sure that those negative consequences can be mitigated.  

Closing Thoughts:

Again, my name is Manuwai Peters.  I am running for Maui County Council, Molokai seat.  Please vote for me on November 6, and make your vote count.  Mahalo. 

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