The Office of Hawaiian Affairs conducted its first meeting following the November 6th election of new members.
The nine trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board sang Ho’onani Ka Makua Mau. They met to hear from the public and elect officers. Landen Paikai, who ran for OHA trustee in the primary and lost, testified about the dysfunctional nature of the board in the past.
“It’s time for change. It’s time for us to come together as a people. Stop fighting amongst each other. I’m sick of it. Because at the end of the day, the people that we fight for, still homeless, still addicted to drugs, still moving away. Why?”
Two newly sworn-in trustees, Brendon Kalei’aina Lee and Kalei Akaka, were sworn in and are serving their first term. Colette Machado, the longest serving trustee, was nominated to continue to serve as Board Chair. But, Trustee Keli’i Akina asked Machado a question before the roll call vote.
(Akina) ”Will you as chair do all that is necessary to ensure the successful completion of the independent audit for fraud, waste and abuse?” (Machado) “Trustee Akina, we took a vote to approve the allocation of half-a-million dollars. It was a majority vote by the trustees and that still stands”. (Akina) “I thank you for your response. You will have my vote.”
The votes were tallied and Machado was unanimously re-elected chair.
“Thank you for your confidence. I will do the best of my ability to serve you and our people as I continue to serve all these years. Thank you so much.”
Newcomer, Brendon Kalei’aina Lee was elected Vice Chair. Trustee Lei Ahu Isa will chair the Resource Management Committee and John Waihe’e IV, the Beneficiary Advocacy and Empowerment Committee. Following the election of officers and appointments, Trustee, Dan Ahuna, called for a new beginning for the OHA Board.
“We on the board, we all want to work together. And I know that for a fact. We care about each other and that’s what I hope it is going to reflect. This is not about me, I, you. This is about us and how we will follow-up with our beneficiaries. I’m so proud of this board. Imua E Na Po Ki’i…let’s go (applause).
An Investiture Ceremony for the OHA Board will be held at Washington Place, Tuesday morning. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.