Maui News

OHA Grant to Support Iwi Kūpuna Protection at Waihe‘e Dunes and Wetlands on Maui

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Kalepa Gulch
Kalepa Gulch at the Waiheʻe Coast Dunes and Wetlands Refuge. File Photo Credit: Cammy Clark

Hawaiʻi Land Trust received $50,000 to support iwi kūpuna protection at Hawaiʻi Land Trust’s 277-acre Waihe‘e Coastal Dunes & Wetlands Refuge on Maui.

The funding will support Hawaiʻi Land Trust’s efforts to protect iwi kūpuna from disinterment by restoring the native coastal ecosystem, empower Native Hawaiians to care for iwi, train Hawaiʻi Land Trust staff and lineal descendants in the treatment and re-interment of iwi, and ensure a secure temporary holding space for iwi until they can be properly re-interred.


The funding is one of two grants issued to the Hawai‘i Land Trust from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs totaling $106,254 for Maui and Kauaʻi programs and initiatives from July 2021-June 2022. As Hawaiʻi’s statewide local nonprofit land trust, Hawaiʻi Land Trust protects and stewards the lands that sustain Hawaiʻi, and teaches future generations to do the same.

The second grant, totaling $56,254, will provide ‘āina-based education opportunities to students and teachers on Kaua‘i. The funds will be used to strengthen connections to culture and ‘āina, and improve long-term educational and health outcomes. The grants will support programs at Hawaiʻi Land Trust’s 17-acre Kāhili Beach Preserve on the North Shore of Kaua‘i.

“We are grateful for OHA’s support and dedication to community ʻāina stewardship as we work to permanently protect landscapes, and provide ways for our communities to connect with ʻāina through education and care of cultural sites and iwi kupuna,” said Laura Kaakua, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hawaiʻi Land Trust.


The grants serve the Native Hawaiian Lāhui in alignment with the strategic foundations, directions, and outcomes of
OHA’s 15-year Mana i Mauli Ola Strategic Plan.

To date, Hawaiʻi Land Trust has protected more than 21,500 acres of land throughout the Islands – 2,100 acres are Hawaiʻi Land Trust owned public preserves open for everyone to enjoy, and over 19,000 acres are protected via conservation easements restricting privately owned lands. HILT protects coastlines, wahi kupuna (Hawaiian cultural landscapes), and lands that grow healthy food for Hawaiʻi’s people.

Vantage from Waiheʻe Ridge Trail. PC: Hawaiʻi DLNR.

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