Akina seeks a more inclusive OHA


Honolulu resident Kelii Akina believes the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is for everyone.

“We need to bring together all stakeholders to best serve the future of Hawaii and its people, as well as to communicate and find solutions. Hawaii is a safe harbor for people from all lands across the world. We can only raise the water level of one boat by raising the water level for all boats,” Akina said. “OHA can only solve the needs of the Hawaiian people by fulfilling its mandate to serve the needs of all people. This means not looking to the past and being confrontational. We need to promote unity among all Hawaiians, including those by blood, those by choice and future Hawaiians.”

Akina said there’s a definition of Hawaiian in an ancient oli, which roughly translates to “We are those who come from afar.” For him, that means everyone, whether you or your ancestors have been here 400 or 4 years.

If elected as an OHA at-large trustee, 54-year-old Akina said he will bring the competent leadership needed to unite all people rather than divide them and transform OHA so that “its vast resources are used to meet the real needs of all of Hawaii’s people.” He plans to draw upon concepts of hooponopono, consensus decision making and peaceful, yet effective strategies for problem resolution.

Akina also thinks with the historic transfer of the ceded land in Kakaako Makai on Oahu, valued at about $200 million, to OHA, there’s potential to bring about changes and focus toward building a revenue stream to the agency.

Besides unity, Akina’s other top priorities are education, housing and energy independence. He wants to raise the quality of education of all children by being “more aggressive in securing resources to raise excellence on both ends of the educational spectrum.” This includes educating children in the essentials, such as mathematics, reading and writing, before they enter school, as well as ensuring that all of Hawaii’s students have access and resources to pursue advanced degrees in whatever subject matter they desire.

Akina said OHA should “lead the way by generating widespread housing solutions and creative solutions to helping Hawaii reach energy independence.” This is one area he thinks the Big Island “lead the charge.” By attacking these issues with OHA’s assistance, Akina said Hawaii Island be an example of “a successful economic and social revitalization,” as well as a renewable energy resource.