- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
My greatest qualification to be a delegate is that I am an open-minded, intelligent, young Hawaiian, willing and ready to work hard to create a better future for our Hawaiʻi. My kind, personal demeanor makes me easy to work with, yet I passionately advocate for what I believe in with aloha. These personal character traits will promote consensus building among our people.
I also have a unique and significant work, educational, and personal background that will add productively to the ʻaha. Through my experiences in our community, at Kamehameha, and at the University of Hawaiʻi, I have developed an in-depth understanding of Hawaiian culture and practice. I can, furthermore, speak Hawaiian, and I have earned a certificate in Native Hawaiian Rights from the William S. Richardson School of Law. As an attorney, my law school studies and work experience has also made me very familiar with the interconnection between law (national and international) and politics, and the legal reality Hawaiians find ourselves in; an understanding that is absolutely necessary to choose the best form of governance for our people. Last, my undergraduate studies in biology, graduate studies in Environmental Law, and work experience in natural resource management, demonstrate my commitment not only to our people but to our ʻāina. It is this demonstrated commitment that makes me a qualified delegate for this ʻaha.
- How would you characterize the values of your campaign to be elected as a delegate to the ‘aha for example, with aloha, lōkahi, kūpono, etc.?
I come to this campaign with aloha, not only for each of the delegate candidates, but for those who have worked with dedication to bring our community to this pivotal moment in history; one that our moʻopuna may look back on as a new beginning for the Hawaiian people. I will also campaign with a sense of humility, haʻahaʻa, and respect, ʻihi, in that I am a young Hawaiian advocating to sit at the same table as some who I would consider my kupuna; those I have much respect for. I will exert my sense of ahonui, patience, ʻimi ʻike, the pursuit of knowledge, and hoʻopaʻapaʻa, meaningful debate, to discuss conflicting viewpoints with an open mind to find the best solution for the future. Finally, I also see the value of lōkahi, the unity in our community required to properly accomplish this great task.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
All recognized nations require three critical elements: A government, a population, and a land-base in which it asserts sovereignty or jurisdiction over. All elements are equally important and I would advocate for issues regarding each with the same amount of interest, reason, and passion. See below for my view on government and population. As for a land-base, this would differ substantially depending on the model of governance chosen. As a general statement, I believe it is important to examine the potential land-base available for each model of governance to determine which model would produce the greatest economic, social, and environmental benefits.
I am also particularly interested in advocating for what fundamental rights our citizens shall have and how our government will interact with the U.S., State of Hawai‘i, and other international governments.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
I am not committed to any one governance model. I see the benefits and detriments of each and strongly believe more research and education must be done to identify the most beneficial governance model(s) in the short and long-term. To determine these short and long-term benefits, I believe we must look at the potential economic, social, and environmental sustainability for each model, as well as the practicality of that model in our current legal & political reality. Without a sustainable system of governance in these four areas, the system will eventually fail. By identifying the most sustainable and achievable model(s) of governance in the short and long-term, we can determine which would provide the greatest benefit to our community.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
As stated above, I am open to discuss all reasonable models of governance.
- How would the governance model that you choose impact the ali‘i trusts, the Hawaiian Homestead Act, federal contracts made with Native Hawaiian businesses; grants provided by the United States for programs and services to the Native Hawaiian people?
As noted above, I am not committed to a single governance model. I do, however, recognize that these trusts, programs, government partnerships, and funding sources could be substantially affected depending on the model of governance chosen. I believe that the ability to protect our aliʻi trusts and the Hawaiian Homestead program is an important consideration in choosing the most beneficial form of governance. These trusts and programs contribute greatly to our community’s economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and should, therefore, be given high priority. Furthermore, the form of governance chosen must also account for the many kinds of external support (both economically and socially) Hawaiians receive from sources such as the United States Federal Government. Confirming the continuation of such sources of support, or the replacement of those sources with other equivalents, is necessary to ensure the short and long-term sustainability of the new governing entity.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
Regardless of the governance model chosen, I would advocate for inclusive citizenship, to some extent, to those without kanaka maoli ancestry. The extent of that citizenship, however, I believe should vary depending on the governance model and time-frame. In the immediate and short-term, I would advocate for only kanaka maoli citizenship to ensure leadership responsibility and power is left for our community to determine.
With that said, the wealth of knowledge and pride in our culture and ʻāina is not limited to those with maoli blood, nor is the knowledge required to move our lāhui forward in a sustainable manner into the future. Our kūpuna understood this and gave Kingdom citizenship to foreigners who swore allegiance to the crown and whose citizenship would provide a benefit to the nation. In the long-term, I believe we should follow this example. We must ensure in the process, however, that we protect kanaka maoli interests from abuse by non-maoli seeking citizenship.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
I see many areas of participation by others in the ʻaha. All the delegates will need kōkua in one area or another. Others may also participate in the ʻaha by providing operational/administrative help. Additionally, everyone should participate in the process by submitting testimony to their delegates and by participating in the ratifying vote to follow. Following the ʻaha, the government will still have to be built. There will be many opportunities for others to participate in that process.
- Looking ahead, as a delegate to the ‘aha, how would you assure that the governance model ratified by the Native Hawaiian people is implemented and recognized at the state, federal, or international level, as appropriate.
After the potential ratification of the constitution, the duties of the delegates will terminate. At that point it will be the responsibility of the new government to seek recognition from other governments. If elected as a delegate, I will assure that recognition is achieved by participating in the new government. There are already processes proceeding for recognition of the new government by the U.S. Federal Government. This is something the delegates can decide to pursue, if desired, with a good degree of confidence. If the consensus at the ʻaha is to seek international recognition, the new government would have to seek such recognition on its own accord. International recognition would likely take longer as we would need to be recognized by multiple independent powers in a more complicated, yet doable, process. I am willing to work with the new government to pursue either or both options, as determined by the voices of our people at the ʻaha.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
As a beneficiary of so many Hawaiian programs, I have a kuleana to give back to the community I have benefitted so much from. Through these benefits, I have committed myself to this kuleana. I have educated myself in specific fields and worked in areas with the particular purpose of improving the future of Hawaiians and Hawaiʻi. It is with this sense of commitment that I humbly request your vote, so that I may work hard to create a better Hawaiʻi; with more sustainable use of our ʻāina, a productive economy, and more prosperity in the lives of our people. Mahalo.