Office of Hawaiian Affairs

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs was born of the 1978 Hawaii State Constitutional Convention as a public trust, with a mandate to better the conditions of both Native Hawaiians and the Hawaiian community in general. OHA was to be funded with a pro rata share of revenues from state lands designated as "ceded lands."

In 1979, the Hawaii State Legislature enacted Chapter 10 of the Hawai`i Revised Statutes, implementing the changes to the constitution and making OHA a semi-autonomous "self-governing body" governed by a Board of Trustees. Subsequent legislation has further defined the amount of the revenue stream accruing to OHA.


Board of Trustees

An elected Board of Trustees governs the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The board members shall be Hawaiians as provided by statute. There shall be not less than nine members of the board of trustees. Present members (as of 2006 elections) are:

  • Oahu Trustee - Peter Apo
  • Kauai & Niihau Trustee - Donald Cataluna
  • Maui Trustee - Boyd P. Mossman
  • Molokai & Lanai Trustee - Colette Y. Machado
  • Hawaii Trustee - Robert K. Lindsey Jr.
  • At-Large Trustee - Haunani Apolonia (Chairperson)
  • At-Large Trustee - John Waihe'e IV (Vice Chairman)
  • At-Large Trustee - Rowena Akana
  • At-Large Trustee - Oswald (Oz) Stender

Purpose of the Board of Trustees

The Board of Trustees' purpose, according to the Hawaii State Constitution, is to "manage and administer the proceeds from the sale or other disposition of the lands, natural resources, minerals and income derived from whatever sources for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, including all income and proceeds from that pro rata portion of the trust referred to in section 4 of this article for native Hawaiians; to formulate policy relating to affairs of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians; and to exercise control over real and personal property set aside by state, federal or private sources and transferred to the board for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. The board shall have the power to exercise control over the Office of Hawaiian Affairs through its executive officer, the administrator of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, who shall be appointed by the board."

Rice v. Cayetano

Arakaki v. Lingle

External Links

  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs (State of Hawaii)
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Wikipedia)
  • Eye on The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) (The Hawai'i Foundation, Inc.)
  • OHA Board of Trustees bios (State of Hawaii)
  • Hoover, Will. Office of Hawaiian Affairs Honolulu Advertiser, July 6, 2006.
  • Office of Hawaiian Affairs (Wikipedia)
  • OHA scrambles to get back ceded land revenues -- A state high court ruling invalidating state payments gives trustees few collection options Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9-23-01.
  • OHA, lawmakers passing blame -- They point at each other because there was no bill to resolve a money controversy Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-23-03.
  • Lingle signs bill to restore land payments to OHA Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 3-24-03.
  • OHA sues to resume land revenues -- The agency says that the state failed in its fiduciary duties as trustee of the lands Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7-22-03.
  • Helping Native Hawaiians by Alice Keesing Hawaii Business, February 2005.
  • OHA audit reveals lack of ‘comprehensive plan’ -- The report finds $2.4 million in late or defaulted loans Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 4-29-05.
  • Senators’ political power play hurts Hawaiians see following directly related article Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5-12-05.
  • Law, not politics, guides funding for legal aid Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5-20-05.
  • OHA seeks high-court action on ceded lands -- The state is accused of wrongly annulling its promised payments Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 7-9-05.
  • Activists fear ripple effect for Hawaiian issues Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 08-03-05.
  • OHA poll shows strong community support of Akaka Bill Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 08-23-05.
  • OHA big money on media Hawaii Business News, 8-26-05.
  • Supporters of OHA decry latest court ruling Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9-1-05.
  • Court again rejects OHA’s claim to airport ceded-land rent Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 9-10-05).
  • New law and/or OHA may help preserve Waimea valley Poinography!, 11-30-05.
  • OHA's Apoliona: Hawaiian unity key By Mike Gordon Honolulu Advertiser, 12-8-05.
  • High court's intent to revisit decision revives OHA's hopes By Ken Kobayashi Honolulu Advertiser, 1-28-06.
  • OHA OKs $15.1M settlement -- The state deal on land trust payments awaits legislative approval Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 2-3-06.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K.OHA trustees give go-ahead to proposed revenue deal Honolulu Advertiser, February 3, 2006.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. House, Senate move bills for ceded lands deal Honolulu Advertiser, March 3, 2006.
  • Dayton, Kevin. Area lost to lava waits for rebirth Honolulu Advertiser, March 13, 2006.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. OHA may bid for Moanalua Valley Honolulu Advertiser, March 27, 2006.
  • Advertiser staff. OHA’s budget gains $1.6M as revenue rises Honolulu Advertiser, April 8, 2006.
  • Kobayashi, Ken. OHA hails high court's rejection of Ohio case Honolulu Advertiser, May 16, 2006.
  • Advertiser staff. $17.5M payment to OHA signed Honolulu Advertiser, June 8, 2006.
  • White, Doug. OHA challenge sent back to Ninth Circuit for further review Poinography!, June 14, 2006.
  • White, Doug. OHA introduces a plan to overcome Akaka Bill stalemate Poinography!, June 24, 2006.
  • White, John Michael. Combined effort needed to honor a forgotten promise to Hawaiians Honolulu Star-Bulletin, July 12, 2006.
  • OHA nationhood bid merits more support Honolulu Advertiser, July 24, 2006.
  • Star-Bulletin staff. OHA spending suit is dismissed by judge Honolulu Star-Bulletin, August 13, 2006.
  • White, Doug. OHA considers private school tuition assistance plan Poinography!, October 2, 2006.
  • Opinion: New, fresh voices needed at OHA's helm Honolulu Advertiser, October 11, 2006.
  • Associated Press. Congress approves $62.5 million for native Hawaiian programs -- The bill now goes to President Bush for signature Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 16, 2007.
  • Dooley, Jim. Hawaii court steps in on water dispute, Honolulu Advertiser, January 1, 2008.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. Arrested OHA trustee may resign vice chairmanship, Honolulu Advertiser, January 3, 2008.
  • Kubota, Gary T. Molokai water permit denied -- A Hawaiian group praises the Supreme Court ruling against a major landowner Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 3, 2008.
  • Reyes, B.J. Waihee, facing DUI case, quits OHA post Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 4, 2008.


  • White, Doug. OHA may buy a Honolulu television station Poinography!, July 6, 2006.
  • Daysog, Rick. OHA won't buy KGMB after all Honolulu Advertiser, July 7, 2006.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. OHA looks at a new KGMB deal Honolulu Advertiser, September 2, 2006.
  • White, Doug. OHA looks at a new KGMB deal wth Heftel Poinography!, September 2, 2006.

2008 ceded lands revenue settlement

  • Ceded Lands Agreement Between OHA, State Office of Hawaiian Affairs, January 18, 2008.
  • Borreca, Richard. State and OHA make land deal Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 19, 2008.
  • Van Dyke, Jon M. Gathering Place: A fair and just settlement for unpaid ceded lands revenues Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 20, 2008.
  • Borreca, Richard. Deal draws debate -- Ceded lands: Benefits of OHA settlement proposal in question Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 22, 2008.
  • OUR OPINION: Ceded land settlement deserves fair hearing by legislators THE ISSUE: An agreement between the state and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs on ceded lands will need the approval of the Legislature. Honolulu Star-Bulletin, January 24, 2008.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. Doubts raised about Hawaiians-state deal Honolulu Advertiser, January 27, 2008.
  • Apoliona, S. Haunani. Gathering Place: Ceded lands deal guards future c: laims Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 2, 2008.
  • Park, Gene. Senate panels to pass ceded land bill Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 10, 2008.
  • Fujimori, Leila. Ceded-lands session meets native distrust Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 14, 2008.
  • Borreca, Richard. Changed OHA bill prompts scrutiny Honolulu Star-Bulletin, February 29, 2008.
  • Wu, Nina. OHA goals for Kewalo unveiled to agency -- The 18.5 acres include the John Dominis restaurant Honolulu Star-Bulletin, March 6, 2008.
  • Apoliona, Haunani. Gathering Place: Despite legislative setback, OHA will pursue land settlement Honolulu Star-Bulletin", March 23, 2008.

OHA audit

  • Borreca, Richard. OHA stirs doubts about its finances -- Legislators will hold a hearing today on a measure that would start a special audit Honolulu Star-Bulletin", March 27, 2008.
  • Pang, Gordon Y.K. OHA audit resolution advances in Senate Honolulu Advertiser", March 28, 2008.
  • OUR OPINION: Audits should not be political weapons THE ISSUE: State senators are calling for an accelerated audit of the Office of Hawaii Affairs. Honolulu Star-Bulletin", March 30, 2008.

lawsuit: bias in the funding of OHA

  • Kobayashi, ken. OHA faces bias lawsuit--Funds for the agency generated by ceded lands are disputed Honolulu Star-Bulletin", April 4, 2008.
  • Reyes, B.J. New OHA case called a repeat--The attorney general feels sure the lawsuit will be dismissed Honolulu Star-Bulletin", April 5, 2008.
  • Mossman, Boyd P. Group’s lawsuit targeting OHA would erode gains made for all Hawaiians Honolulu Star-Bulletin", April 13, 2008.
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