Kaho’olawe Bill Passes: Reestablishes Cultural Resources Coordinator
After eight legislative hearings and three days of reconvening, a Conference Committee recommended that House Bill 2594 HD2 SD1 be passed to support Kahoʻolawe.
Under the bill, $100,000 will be allocated to Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission operations as will funding to reestablish its Cultural Project Resources Coordinator position.
The post was held in the past by community leaders including: Hokulani Holt, Director, Ka Hikina O Ka Lā and kumu hula of hālau Pā’ū O Hi’iaka; and Kapono’ai Molitau, kumu hula of Nā Hanona Kulike ‘O Pi’ilani and owner of Native Intelligence.
“We are very thankful that the legislature was able to find funding for Kahoʻolawe, especially during these challenging times brought on by the recent floods on Kauaʻi and Oʻahu,” said KIRC Executive Director Michael Nāhoʻopiʻi, “Without this support for operational funding and our cultural position, 2019 would have been a very trying year for us as we continue our programs on and for Kahoʻolawe. But now we are looking forward to continuing our restoration and energy-self-sustainability work. We are very hopeful that we can accomplish a lot more moving ahead.”
Upon announcing the news to its seven-member commission, Commissioner Kaliko Baker, Instructor at Kawaihuelani Center for Hawaiian Language at UH Mānoa said, “Hoʻomaikaʻi! Thanks for all the hard work. Let’s fill that position.”
According to information released by the KIRC, Commissioner Hokulani Holt sent her heartfelt congratulations to Nāhoʻopiʻi for his tireless work at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol this session.
The Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission was established by the State of Hawai’i in 1994. With a commitment to restore, protect and preserve Kaho’olawe, the KIRC partners with community groups to foster a culture of stewardship and conservation for Kaho’olawe and for Hawai’i’s cultural and natural resources.
Together, groups work to restore a Native Hawaiian dryland forest across 28,780 acres, protect 51,200 acres of Reserve waters, preserve 3,000 historic sites and features and train the next generation to be the physical and spiritual healers of Kaho’olawe.