Four of the nine seats on the Board of Trustees for the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs will go before voters during the Nov. 6 general election. A fifth seat, representing Moloka‘i and Lana‘i, is uncontested, so the incumbent, OHA Chairwoman Collette Machado, has no opponent on the ballot. All registered voters can vote for candidates in this year’s contested OHA races; they are the residency seats for Maui, Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau, Hawai‘i Island, and one at-large seat. The trustees serving on the O‘ahu seat and three other at-large seats are not up for re-election this year.
Eight candidates are seeking the Maui residency seat on the OHA Board of Trustees. In November 2011, when former Maui trustee and retired 2nd Circuit Judge Boyd Mossman resigned from his OHA seat to take an unpaid position as leader of the Mormon Church in Kona, Gov. Neil Abercrombie appointed Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey in January 2012 to serve out the remainder of Mossman’s term. The eight candidates running for the Maui OHA seat in November are: Johanna Ku‘ulei Shin Amorin of Kihei, Glenn G. Au of Wailuku, Rose Duey of Wailuku, Doreen Pua Gomes of Kula, Dain Kane of Wailuku, Ke‘eaumoku Kapu of Lahaina, Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey of Makawao, and Kaulana Mossman of Kula. There are 11 candidates vying for the Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau seat, three for the Hawai‘i island seat and six for the open at-large seat. For more information, visit http://www.oha.org/ka-wai-ola/decision-2012
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs functions as both a government agency with a strong degree of autonomy, and as a trust. OHA’s own website states that its “purpose is to provide the opportunity for a better life and future for all Hawaiians.” OHA’s mission statement: “To mālama (protect) Hawai‘i’s people and environmental resources and OHA’s assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally.”