Winter 2018


Makahiki Column

By: D. Kapuaʻala Sproat, Director

Aloha e nā hoa makamaka,

Each year since time immemorial, Kānaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) await the arrival of Nā Huihui o Makaliʻi, the constellation of stars also known as the Pleiades or the seven little sisters.  When Makaliʻi rises at sunset, it is most visible in the night sky.  For Kānaka Maoli, this signifies the beginning of the Makahiki, a traditional celebration of the harvest and a time of personal rest and spiritual renewal.  Makaliʻi usually appears in late November when the sun turns to the North, which brings warmth to the earth and supports the growth of plants and the spawning of fish.  As the harvest is gathered, gifts are traditionally given as an expression of thanksgiving. Read more.


Environmental Law Clinic Update: The Duty to Mālama ʻĀina at Pōhakuloa

By: Letani Peltier, Post-J.D. Legal Fellow

For the Fall Semester 2018, the Environmental Law Clinic assisted Kuaʻāina Ulu ʻĀuamo (“KUA”) by researching and providing legal and cultural context for the April 2018 decision in Ching v. Case, which held that the State of Hawaiʻi (“State”) breached its trust obligations by failing to mālama ʻāina nearly 23,000 acres of public “ceded” lands at Pōhakuloa on Hawaiʻi Island.  As mālama ʻāina practitioners, KUA was particularly interested in the inherent, Maoli origins of the public trust doctrine and the public land trust, which offer two independent bases for the State’s constitutional mandate to care for Hawaiʻi’s biocultural resources. The clinicians’ work will support KUA’s efforts to operationalize these powerful tools and to empower their own communities’ efforts to mālama their resources. Read more.


I Mana I Ka Wai Water Law and Advocacy Training:  Lānaʻi

By: Tereariʻi Chandler-ʻĪao, Post-J.D. Legal Fellow

On Saturday, December 1, 2018, the I Mana I Ka Wai Water Law and Advocacy Training took place on the island of Lānaʻi.  The training marked the sixth of ten such trainings to be held statewide in partnership with the State of Hawaiʻi Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (“DHHL”).  More than 25 community members, including DHHL beneficiaries from Lānaʻi and Maui, were in attendance to receive information about the specific laws that protect DHHL water rights, Traditional & Customary Native Hawaiian practices, and other Public Trust purposes.  This partnership between DHHL and Ka Huli Ao aims to deepen the Native Hawaiian community’s collective knowledge so we may be empowered by our fresh water resources. Read more.



Student Outreach Update: “E lauhoe mai na wa‘a; i ke kā, i ka hoe; i ka hoe, i ke kā; pae aku i ka ‘āina.”

By: Avis Kuuipoleialoha Poai, Director of Student Outreach

Aloha e nā hoa makamaka! It has been an eventful year filled with wonderful memories! I am pleased to report that for this past fall semester, Ka Huli Ao facilitated or participated in various outreach events that reached nearly 150 students. My favorites, however, were comprised of collaborative endeavors initiated by our very own students here at the William S. Richardson School of Law.

For example, the first ever Pre-Law Symposium for Pacific Islanders was held on Thursday, October 11, 2018. The symposium was sponsored by the newly formed Pacific Islander Legal Association headed by student Ian F. Tapu. The purpose of the symposium was to “help demystify the application process for law school.” Read more.


The Resilient Hawaiian Communities Initiative Update: Completing Resiliency Plans

By: Sean Aronson, Post-J.D. Fellow

As the Resilient Hawaiian Communities (RHC) initiative draws to a close, the two project communities are busy preparing their final products for the public, their friends, and most importantly, their neighbors.  Each community – Kailapa Homestead on Hawaiʻi Island and Waiehu Kou Homestead on Maui – will complete a resiliency plan by the end of 2018 that will serve as a roadmap for the future and allow them to engage even more community members in the implementation of the goals they worked so hard to set.  The objective of the RHC initiative is to build capacity within two Native Hawaiian communities through the creation of a community driven resiliency plan.  The plans will integrate the latest climate research with the specific place-based solutions the communities identify to best prepare for the ecological impacts anticipated as a result of climate change. Read more.