The Native Hawaiian Roll Commission plans to end its outreach efforts Jan. 19 but will continue to accept registrants afterward, according to its executive director.
Formed to set up the foundation of a Native Hawaiian government by creating a roll — a list of names of people of Hawaiian descent — the commission has gathered 101,130 registrants as of Tuesday.
It started the effort with the goal of collecting 200,000 names by last July. That deadline was later extended, and executive director Clyde Namuo said earlier this month the commission will take steps to publish the list of names after Jan. 19, when its advertising and outreach efforts to the Hawaiian community will end.
Names will be accepted after that date, he said. But following Jan. 19, the commission will begin verifying names so the list can be published.
“We will publish the list of names by June,” Namuo said. “At the latest, 2014.”
Those who sign up will be eligible to participate in the selection of delegates for an eventual constitutional convention, he said.
Though the commission expects to fall short of its initial goal, Namuo said it still has enough to move forward.
“I think (we’re at) a critical mass,” he said. “100,000 is a critical mass of names.”
It was unclear how many signed up from the Big Island. The commission did not respond to a Dec. 16 request for that information by press time Tuesday.
More than 71,000 names were transferred from Kau Inoa and Operation Ohana, according to the commission.
Namuo acknowledged difficulty in gaining signatures, which he partially attributed to registration fatigue.
“Part of it was that people said, ‘We already signed up for Kau Inoa. Why do we need to sign up again?’” Namuo said.
People were allowed to opt out of having their names transferred.
Commission vice chairman Naalehu Anthony said about 60 chose to opt out.
“I’m pretty happy with the success of it,” he said of the program.
“We definitely had our set of challenges in terms of making sure the funds were available at the time they were needed.”
While the intent is to create a government for Native Hawaiians, how that would look would still need to be worked out, Namuo said.
One option could be a government-to-government relationship similar to what Native American tribes have with the federal government, he said.
“Usually, a nation within a nation is what’s referred to,” Namuo said. “That’s generally the model.”
Without such a relationship, programs intended to benefit Native Hawaiians could be challenged in court, the commission says.
The state Legislature created the commission with Act 195 in 2011.
To register, visit hawaiianroll.org or call 594-0088.
Email Tom Callis at firstname.lastname@example.org.