- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
Aloha mai kākou, having the unique experience of coming from a family that moved away from Hawaiʻi, but never left Hawaiʻi behind… I believe I have a keen understanding of why and how our people have struggled and how we can navigate the struggles and opportunities that lie before us. My grandmother (Esther Kuʻuleinani Correa (Paio)) and mother (Renee Kuʻuleinani Price (Correa)) were Kumu Hula for many years and I was afforded a great opportunity to witness first-hand how our culture enriched the lives of many, mine included. As a result, I have dedicated my academic and professional careers to ensuring that our culture be utilized to its fullest potential to enrich and create more opportunity for our people.
After obtaining a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies with an emphasis in Mālama ʻĀina, I went on to obtain a law degree from the W.S. Richardson School of Law in Mānoa, obtaining a certificate in Native Hawaiian law and focusing heavily in the areas of land use and public policy. I am also humbled to have been chosen as a First Nations Future Fellow (Kamehameha Schools/Stanford University.)
While my passion is rooted in organizing our community to impact change, I have dedicated my professional career along those lines. I have worked in the Hawaiʻi State Senate, Office of Hawaiian Affairs and have done consulting work in the areas of non-profit capacity building, land use, and small business development. However, it is my everyday relationships in our community that provide me with the motivation and inspiration to do the work necessary to make this ʻaha something our community can be proud of. I am committed to our people and our ʻāina first and foremost and based on that I am confident I bring the values necessary be delegate in 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.?
Ola nā ʻiwi. The bones of our ancestors are in each one of us and we stand on the shoulders of all that came before us. Based on that value alone, we carry the kuleana to mālama ʻāina and aloha ʻāina. These main tenants are what guide my pursuit of building our lāhui.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
1. Values: I want to have a voice in declaring the values of our lāhui as it should be representative of the diverse make-up of our community and will be the foundation of our lāhui going forward.
2. Participation/Citizenry: All kānaka should be afforded an educated opportunity to participate in the nation-building process, therefore I will advocate for continued enrollment and greater educational outreach before further votes are held.
3. Resource Management: The natural resources of Hawaiʻi should be at the forefront of the discussion when shaping this government. Our ability to manage our land and make it thrive is what will give us true sovereignty. When we can grow our own food, create our own economic independence and create opportunities for affordable housing, we will be on a path to true sovereignty. We can make those things happen if we lay the foundation for resource management policy that opens those doors for us.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
A model that is inclusive, continually breeds opportunity for growth, and that leads to greater opportunities in a variety of pathways.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
Yes, the best model will be the one that is collaboratively developed based on the input from a broad range of perspectives.
- 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?
The model that I would vote for would protect all of those listed above and would allow for strong collaborative efforts where the lāhui and the trusts work side-by-side.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
No. This process is in line with international and domestic policy affording indigenous people the right and opportunity to attain self-determination and gain greater control of their natural and cultural resources. For that reason, this process must be a Native Hawaiian only process. It is important to note that what we do as a lāhui will impact the community at-large and we must be grounded in the fact that what is good for Hawaiians is good for Hawaiʻi.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
I believe we will have to enlist a number of experts in various areas such as constitutional law, governance, international law and policy, as well as resource management throughout the drafting process. Subject matter experts can work with committees to help develop each of the elements of the constitution.
- 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.
I would make sure that one of the main principles adopted in the constitution is to assure that the lāhui actively seeks recognition by other governments and actively participates in diplomatic efforts to build relationships in the domestic and international communities.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
Native Hawaiians should vote for me because I bring a fair and balanced approached to this process. I am willing to engage with all viewpoints to help develop governing documents that will lay the foundation to building a strong and vibrant nation that can participate in decision-making and policy making processes on a global scale.