Candidate: Mahealani Cypher
‘Aha District: Mokupuni O`ahu (o Kakuhihewa)
Address: P. O. Box 4749, Kaneohe, HI 96744
Phone: (808) 226-4195
Website: (under construction)
- What are your qualifications to be a delegate to the ‘aha?
Passion and love for our islands, our people and our culture; experience in creating, planning and managing government programs and personnel; experience in legislative research, writing and advocacy; experience as a leader in the Hawaiian community; experience in community planning and sustainability; other relevant work and community experience to assist the ‘Aha in achieving a successful work product and outcome that meets the core needs of the Hawaiian people.
- 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.?
First and foremost, I approach this effort with ha‘aha‘a – humility – understanding the seriousness of the work before us; and with deep and profound aloha for our people and others who will be engaged in this process of reinstating our nation. It is critically important to me that working together – lōkahi – requires all of us to extend our aloha for each other by respecting differing points of view and seeking a resolution of our differences. Finally, I would be ‘onipa‘a – steadfast – in my commitment to honor the memory of our beloved Queen Lili‘uokalani, in whose name we will re-establish the Hawaiian nation as a monument to her leadership and legacy.
- What three components of the constitution are you particularly interested in advocating and why?
- Protecting and preserving traditional Native Hawaiian rights
- Ensuring a fair, transparent and democratic process of electing leaders
- Promoting sustainability of our islands and seas under our jurisdiction – pae‘āina Hawai‘i
- What governance model will you advocate for?
I remain uncommitted to any model at this time, preferring to await the ‘Aha deliberations and identifying the best path forward to meet the core needs of our people.
- Are you willing to discuss other governance models?
See answer to #4 above. Of course I wish to hear from others and learn about all possible governance models in the best interest of our people.
- 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 part of our deliberation over what form of government best suits the core and long-term needs of our people, we would have to ensure that Ali‘i trusts are preserved and that the Hawaiian Homestead Act is fully realized — in my view, it is one of the most critical obligations we will need to hold the state and federal government accountable for — therefore, there needs to be language in the governing documents that protect these trusts. As for federal contracts, grants and services, these are commitments already made by the United States government to agencies, institutions, organizations and individuals, and I see no reason for any of these to end, no matter what form of government we Hawaiians choose. The U.S. government already funds and provides billions (if not trillions) of dollars in grants and services to foreign countries; we would expect no less.
- In your governance model, would you be inclusive of people other than Native Hawaiians as citizens?
Again, please refer to my answer in #4 – I have not yet decided and prefer to be open-minded until I hear the deliberations of the ‘Aha.
- How do you see participation by others in helping the ‘aha on the various aspects of the draft constitution?
All kokua would be greatly appreciated.
- 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.
In whatever way I can, I would lend my experience, expertise and support to guide our leaders in working within the framework of recognized legal pathways toward re-establishment of our standing as a Hawaiian nation.
- Why should Native Hawaiians vote for you?
Native Hawaiians should vote for whoever they feel will be able to work together with others in the ‘Aha to find the best form of governance for our people. I bring a willingness to be open-minded, respect for others and differing points of view, many years of experience in advocating for Native Hawaiians, preserving our wahi pana, wahi kapu, farmlands and ‘āina. As a writer and community planner, it is my hope that I can work with others to find the best language that ensures reinstatement and/or recognition of national sovereignty for our people.