The Office of Hawaiian Affairs was born of a collective and compassionate effort on the part of the delegates to the state Constitutional Convention of 1978. They spoke to a sense of justice, to the righting of wrongs suffered by the indigenous people of the Hawaiian Islands for exactly 200 years. The arrival of Captain Cook in Hawaiʻi had brought not only increased contact with the world beyond the islands’ pristine shores, but also diseases that devastated the native population, and a way of life that depressed the circumstances of those remaining.
The terms of statehood considered the plight of the Hawaiian people, specifically in the Admission Act of 1959. Section 5(f) of the Act refers to the crown and government lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom, which had been designated “ceded” to the Republic of Hawaiʻi and then to the United States. The Act conveyed these lands to the new State of Hawaiʻi with the caveat that revenues were to constitute a trust for five purposes. One of these was the betterment of the conditions of native Hawaiians. By any measure, those conditions were sorely in need of improvement, but, by 1978, they had not changed for the better as the state’s trust obligation went ignored.
Go to OHA’s web site for information about grants, policies, our strategic plan and more.
OHA’s monthly newspaper Ka Wai Ola has news about OHA and the Hawaiian community.
OHA’s land holdings are explained here.
Pivotal Trustee Actions 2011-now
Here are just a few of the significant decisions trustees have made since I began serving on the board at the end of 2010. These decisions are in addition to our millions of dollars in grants to local organizations serving Hawaiians, and loans to Hawaiian families and small businesses. Consult the Board’s agendas and minutes to find out all the decisions we’ve made.
- Funded the return of the ‘aha ‘ula (feather cape) and mahiole (feather helmet) of Chief Kalani’opu’u from New Zealand to Hawai’i’s Bishop museum
- Withdrew support for the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea
- Contracted for the Kaka’ako Master Plan
- Funded Kanaioluwalu and Nai Aupuni to provide a process for Hawaiians to begin to build a nation
- Created a Land Division within OHA to manage our properties
- Funded the IUCN World Conservation Congress meeting in Hawai’i in 2016
- Successfully navigated Hawai‘i legislature for $200,000,000 Kaka‘ako ceded land settlement
- Partnered with Bank of Hawai‘i to add Hawaiian as an ATM language option
- Acquired the $21,000,000 Gentry-Pacific Center (now Na Lama Kukui) for OHA headquarters
- Acquired the 500 acre Galbraith property to protect the ancient birthing stones of Kūkaniloko
- Promoted Dr. Kamana‘opono Crabbe from Director of Research to Chief Executive Officer
- Appropriated $250,000 to support the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference for hospitality training, Hawaiian protocol, and student mural project
- Provided financial support of ‘Aha Moku council initiative that re-establishes the ancient Hawaiian geo-cultural land divisions
- Acquired the Palauea Cultural Preserve on Maui
- Voted to support repeal of the Public Lands Development Corporation (PLDC)
For more information, go to
Managing the Money of OHA’s Beneficiaries.