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Colleagues, friends mourn passing of former OHA Chair Colette Machado

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Former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board Chair Colette Machado. PC: OHA

Colleagues and friends are mourning the passing of former Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board Chair, Colette Machado.

Current OHA Chair, Carmen “Hulu”Lindsey of Maui said she was shocked and saddened by the news of Machado’s sudden passing.

“Colette proudly served the Molokaʻi and Lānaʻi communities for 24 years as a dedicated and committed trustee,” Lindsey said in a statement issued Monday afternoon.

“She was a true mana wahine who spent her life in service to the Native Hawaiian community and she will be dearly missed. Although this is a sad day at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, we will continue the work that Colette so passionately undertook as a role model in serving Native Hawaiians. Our deepest condolences and aloha go out to Uncle Myron and the Machado ʻohana,” she said.


Senate Majority Floor Leader, Lynn DeCoite, who represents District 7, which includes Molokaʻi, extended her thoughts, prayers and aloha in memory of Machado.

“I am thankful for her years of service, her dedication to the people of Moloka‘i along with her commitment to and her advocacy for Native Hawaiians across Hawai‘i. My heartfelt condolences to her ‘ohana. She will be greatly missed,” said Sen. DeCoite.

Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino expressed sadness as well. “On behalf of the people of Maui County, I extend heartfelt condolences to her husband Myron Akutagawa, her large extended family and those who were blessed to know her,” Mayor Victorino said in a statement.

“Colette Machado devoted her life to her community, including more than two decades of volunteer service on state and county boards and commissions. Mostly she will be remembered for her servant leadership as a passionate advocate for all Native Hawaiians as the former Chair of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She will be greatly missed on Molokaʻi, throughout Maui County and the state of Hawaiʻi,” he said.


Kūhiō Lewis, Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement President and CEO released the following tribute:

Kūlou nā niu o Kapuāiwa

Kapalili ka ulu kukui o Lanikāula

‘Uwē ‘o ‘Ekepue i ka ‘ukana a ke aloha ua kā’ilihia na ka lima loa o Niolopua


‘Upu a’ela nā hana kūpaianaha a ka wahine leo heahea a’o Palioka’uwēloa ke kilohana a’o Pahupū

Pūia ke ‘ala onaona o ka lei pua mae’ole o Moloka’i Ka Heke

‘O ‘oe nō ka heke e Colette Pi’ipi’i Machado wahine aloha a ka lāhui

“The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement sheds tears with Moloka’i ‘āina aloha for the loss of a staunch advocate and community leader, Colette Pi’ipi’i Machado. We send our condolences and our heartfelt aloha with humble appreciation to her family at this time,” the CHNA shared today.

OHA Collette Machado. 5/15/14. Photo by Wendy Osher.

“The word ʻgrassrootsʻ is synonymous with public service and community engagement,” said US Congressman Kaialiʻi Kahele (HI-02). “It is also a word closely associated with Colette Machado, who during her decades-long career in the public sector, had the ability to effect positive change for the constituents she served.”

Congressman Kahele said Machado will be remembered for her commitment to serving the Native Hawaiian community.

“Her unyielding support and advocacy for the advancement of Native Hawaiians is evidenced through her work with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, State Land Use Commission, Molokaʻi Burial Council and Kahoʻolawe Island Reserve Commission, to name a few. Maria and I extend our heartfelt condolences to her ‘ohana and loved ones,” said Congressman Kahele in a statement. “We are grateful for her significant contributions to Hawaiʻi. She will be missed.”

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served more than 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.
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