Candidate: Donald Aweau
‘Aha District: Oʻahu
Address: 950 Kamehameha Hwy. #2092, Pearl City, HI 96782
Phone: (808) 768-5018
- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
I have over 30 years of experience in the military, government and private sectors. I am a Native Hawaiian veteran, fisherman, Hawaiian Studies graduate (B.A. 1992 – UH Manoa), cultural practitioner, historian and Native Hawaiian rights advocate.
- 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.?
My campaign values are the same local values we all have been nurtured with growing up in Hawai’i. I believe in the concept of ,“‘a’ohe pau ka ‘ike i ka halau ho’okahi” (not all knowledge lies in one school) and am forever learning new values within our island communities.
A few months ago, in the continuing struggle for Mauna a Wakea, I was forever changed when I learned, from the Mauna protectors, the value of “kapu aloha,” and it’s immense mana to those who practice it. I knew about “aloha” but not the deep discipline to remain compassionate and to use extreme kindness and love towards others who may disagree with you. I grew up during those “angry Hawaiians” days where we fought against others to gain ground. Kapu aloha was a refreshing approach and I will never forget and will be forever grateful for what the protectors taught me on the mauna.
I will thus, continue to practice, kapu aloha in my campaign.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
The Preamble – To make sure that we, as Native Hawaiians, believe in our constitution and that it represents all that we hold dear as the foundation of our nation.
The Articles – Important in how we will govern to make laws, due process, enforce laws, structure the branches and their kuleana.
The Amendments – Make sure that we retain what we currently enjoy as U.S. citizens and to forge ahead with amendments that address civil rights, public safety, etc. and ultimately, protect our customary and traditional Native Hawaiian rights.
- What governance model will you advocate for?
Federal recognition with a nation-to-nation relationship with the United States government. I want to ensure that Native Hawaiians retain their U.S. Citizenship and all the benefits it entails but also, be able to become citizens under the new Native Hawaiian government.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
Yes, of course. I will be open-minded to all models and look at what will best serve Native Hawaiians now and into perpetuity.
- 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?
Federal recognition of a Native Hawaiian government by the United States would provide the safeguards for the protection of the ali’i trusts, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, federal contracts, and grants for programs and services. Moreover, the governance model and relationship would be the lead advocate for Native Hawaiian interests.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
I currently strive for a governance model that is made by Native Hawaiians for Native Hawaiians. The foundation must be established by Native Hawaiians.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
Drafting a constitution will not be easy and highlighting areas of expertise will be important in engaging delegates together and provide common ground for participation in the ‘aha 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.
I would assure that ratification of the governance model is an acceptable model to Native Hawaiians. Reaching out and engaging the community will be a priority to ensure that all sides are heard before any final governance model is approved. Implementation will be up to the next step in the process. Electing leaders to the new Native Hawaiian government.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
I have long had a passion and commitment to help our Native Hawaiian community as a citizen, soldier and public servant. Many Native Hawaiians know myself and my ‘ohana through our community participation in the island community. More so, as a representative for former DHHL Chairman, Alapaki Nahale-a, Mayor Kirk Caldwell, and City Councilmember, Ikaika Anderson. Our family’s legacy can be traced back to the 1400s and my kupuna were honorable people of immense character and integrity. My deep roots in Hawai’i keeps me grounded and I will strive to continue to serve the Native Hawaiian community.
At the age of 19, I joined the military and upon my return to civilian life I had a renewed vigor for public service. In my early youth, I worked alongside my granduncle and mentor, Abraham Aiona, a former Maui PD Chief, Maui County Councilman and OHA Trustee, to learn the fundamentals and kuleana of governance, policymaking, financial and fiduciary trust accountability. I have had many mentors, since then, in the private sector (shipping, transportation, airlines and retail), federal (military), state (Hawaii and Pennsylvania) and municipal (City of Reading and City and County of Honolulu) governments who have helped shaped who I am today. My experiences in different capacities have given me the skills and abilities to allow me to lead and align with communities, community leaders, elected officials, advocates and adversaries in the decision-making process. I have successfully been able to help resolve and mitigate complex issues to ensure consensus. If given the opportunity to humbly represent as a delegate, I will fully contribute in creating a Native Hawaiian government for the betterment of all Native Hawaiians.