Environmental Law Program

ELP Travel Grant Sends Shae Kamaka‘ala ’14 to an Aha Moku Advisory Council Meeting on Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i

IMG_4043ELP RA, Shae Kamaka‘ala ’14, had the pleasure of joining Professor Malia Akutagawa ’97 at an Aha Moku Advisory Council (AMAC) meeting held at Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i on September 21-22, 2013. It was a wonderful two days in a peaceful heaven with the warm hospitality of the Kalaupapa patients, park staff, and even the playful monk seals on the beach!

Passed in February 6, 2013, Act 288 was the enacting legislation for AMAC, which held its first meeting on Kaho‘olawe, where po‘o (head), of each island then held community meetings to gather input. Kalaupapa was AMAC’s second meeting. In attendance were the various Aha Moku Po‘o (head), from the different islands and even moku, or districts, within each island, Representatives and Senators, Western Pacific Fishery Council (WesPac), the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA), Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), National Park Services Rangers, and Kalaupapa patients. AMAC held a very efficient and inclusive meeting where each representative shared concerns that came straight from their communities that they represent.

Professor Akutagawa presented on konohiki rights and kūleana (responsibility), which served as a strong foundation for re-establishing traditional models of resource management in the State.  Mac Poepoe then shared about his on the ground experience with co-managing Mo‘omoni Bay on the north-western shore of Moloka‘i. This konohiki co-management model, which is also founded upon the forthcoming Community Based Subsistence Fishing Area designation, has been extremely successful in Mo‘omomi. After these two presentations, the group worked to collectively strategize ways to make co-management structures such as these possible.

I also learned a lot about AMAC and its new role within DLNR to serve in an advisory capacity on issues related to land and natural resource management, to the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR), whom is currently William J. Aila, Jr. The purpose of AMAC is to integrate traditional Hawaiian resource management and best practices into a contemporary framework. AMAC seeks to address concerns over the conditions of the ecosystem of the main Hawaiian Islands. It was a great experience to meet various professionals in this kind of intimate setting and to see how AMAC works first hand. Mahalo to ELP’s generous donors for making this experience possible!

Picture: Professor Malia Akutagawa ‘97 presenting on Konohiki rights and kūleana at the AMAC meeting in Kalaupapa, Moloka‘i

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