Upcountry Nonprofit Holds First Homestead Summit

November 11, 2018, 7:38 PM HST · Updated November 11, 7:38 PM
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Norman Abihai, president of event host Pā`upena Community Development Corp., with Wailuku state Rep. Troy Hashimoto. Photo Courtesy: Guy Gaumont.

The upcountry nonprofit Pā`upena Community Development Corp. (CDC) hosted their first Maui Homestead Summit last Saturday. Farmers, lawmakers, and members of the community were able to share their ideas for agricultural and ranching opportunities at the daylong event, which was held at the He Piko No Wākea community center in Waiohuli.

Some farmers and lawmakers shared that they would like to see governmental leaders establish a state agricultural strategic plan.

Robert Masters, of 808 Building Supplies & Solutions, described the summit as, “a wonderful event…so educational…Hawaiians need to hear the important messages that were shared,” Masters said.

The summit featured a panel with Maui legislators Kyle Yamashita and Troy Hashimoto, Hawaiʻi Farmers Union United Maui spokesman Vincent Mina, and Maui County Farm Bureau representatives Warren Watanabe and Mae Nakahata. 

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Besides a state agricultural strategic plan, panelists discussed the possibility of a homestead agricultural/ranching round table with legislators before or during the 2019 legislative session. Rep. Hashimoto also introduced the concept of a Heritage Farming Families initiative, like the State Historic Sites program. 

The purpose of the Maui Homestead Summit was to inform Hawaiian beneficiaries of the 1921 Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) federal trust on agricultural/ranching-related topics, their mutual rights, benefits, and kuleana, or responsibilities, under the HHCA. Free taro shoots for planting and medicinal teas were given to event attendees. The free event also featured kalo tasting and an evening pā`ina, or party, with food and entertainment. 

Pā‘upena CDC co-sponsored the summit with the Sovereign Council of Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA). Pā‘upena CDC’s mission is to provide resources and training to empower Hawaiian Homes trust beneficiaries to build homes and self-sufficient communities. More information on Pāʻupena CDC can be found on their websiteSCHHA is the oldest and largest coalition of homestead associations that aims to protect and advocate for the interests of beneficiaries of the HHCA. More information on the summit can be found by contacting Kekoa Enomoto at (808) 276-2713 or at [email protected].

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