My community advocacy has been primarily from a cultural perspective, focused on mandating governmental agencies to follow the law and uphold the directives under the United States and Hawai'i State Constitutions. The successful outcomes were direct benefits to the greater community.
In 1995, I was personally involved in the first of two landmark Hawai'i Supreme Court cases specifically related to native Hawaiian constitutional rights. In the Public Access Shoreline Hawai'i & Pilago v. Hawai'i County Planning Commission case, I personally wrote an Amicus (Friend of the Court) legal memorandum in support of a native Hawaiian cultural practitioner's right to intervene in a Contested Case Hearing. The Supreme Court ruling confirmed that a native Hawaiian cultural practitioner had an interest separate and distinct from that of the general public and was therefore lawfully entitled to intervene in an agency hearing before the Hawai'i County Planning Commission.
In 1997, I personally filed and the Third Circuit Court granted my request for a Preliminary Injunction that stopped the unlawful dredging and destruction of the natural shoreline reef at Kuki'o, North Kona. The injunction was granted because a special permit required by law to allow the dredging was never obtained by the developer prior to conducting its dredging activities.
KA PA'AKAI O KA 'AINA V. STATE LAND USE COMMISSION:[+]
In 2000, in the Ka Pa'akai O Ka 'Aina v. State Land Use Commission case, I was one of six native Hawaiians who were granted standing in a contested hearing before the State Land Use Commission regarding an application for a Land Use Boundary Amendment. We were successful in our appeal of the Land Use Commission's Decision and the Court, in its ruling, stated that "in seeking to maintain a careful balance between native Hawaiian rights and private interests, it is clear that the State and its agencies are obligated to protect the reasonable exercise of customarily and traditionally exercised right of native Hawaiians to the extent feasible." The Supreme Court also found that governmental agencies could not delegate their authority to determine impacts of a proposed development upon cultural practices, historic and sacred sites, and that these impacts must be identified prior to agency approval. This Supreme Court decision ultimately resulted in Act 50, which is known as the Cultural Impact Statement law.
In 2003, I was granted standing as a lineal descendant of Keakealaniwahine and intervened in a Contested Case Hearing before the Hawai'i County Planning Commission. I took the position that a proposed condominium project land adjoining the 16-acre Keakealaniwahine Sacred Complex would compromise the cultural integrity of this historic sacred site which was once part of the Keolonahihi Royal Complex located at Holualoa Bay before Ali'i Drive split the Royal Complex in two. After more than 12 months of hearings, we resolved the matter through negotiation with the landowner of a matching fund settlement in which the County, in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Division contributed $600,000 each and purchased the one-acre parcel of land. Thereafter, myself and other lineal descendant families of the Royal Complex at Keolonahihi and members of the community joined the late Junior Kanuha in his mission to malama Keolonahihi Royal Complex.
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