Dr. Keli‘i Akina Sworn In as OHA Trustee-at-Large
News Release from Akina campaign December 8, 2016
HONOLULU, HI - Keli‘i Akina, Ph.D. was sworn in today as Trustee-at-Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. He will join the other Trustees being honored tomorrow, at OHA’s Investiture Ceremony at Central Union Church in Honolulu.
Judge Lisa M. Ginoza performed the Oath of Office at OHA headquarters this morning. The Board of Trustees commenced a meeting shortly thereafter to decide leadership positions for its two standing committees.
“I am honored to have been chosen by the people of Hawaii to serve on OHA’s Board of Trustees,” Trustee Akina said. “I look forward to working closely with the other Trustees to ensure the needs of the Hawaiian community for housing, education, health care and economic opportunity are met.”
Trustee Akina will serve a four-year term as Trustee-at-Large. His will be one of four at-large seats on the Board, representing the state as a whole. There are nine Trustees all together, with the five remaining Trustees representing the districts of Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Moloka‘i-Lāna‘i, Oahu, and Kaua‘i-Ni‘ihau.
Trustee Akina garnered 163,743 votes in the November 8 general election, defeating former Trustee Haunani Apoliona.
“I have the utmost respect for former Trustee Haunani Apoliona, and her many years of service to the community,” Trustee Akina said. “She is beloved by many, and I am grateful for her continued guidance in the advancement of our Hawaiian people.”
Keliʻi Akina, Ph.D., is a community leader known for the phrase he has coined, "E Hana Kākou" - Let's work together! Over the past several years as a public policy adviser at the legislative, congressional and international levels, Dr. Akina’s mission has been to preserve the Aloha Spirit by which native Hawaiians and people of all races are welcomed and encouraged to work together for a better future. He is president and CEO of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a nonprofit, independent think tank. The views expressed in the above news release do not reflect those of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs or its Board of Trustees.
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E Hana Kakou
by Kelii Akina, Ka Wai Ola, December, 2016
I am humbled to have been chosen by the people of Hawai'i to take on the role of OHA Trustee-at-Large. This awesome responsibility is made even more so because I must step into the shoes of Trustee Haunani Apoliona, who is an outstanding steward of Hawaiian values and a dedicated public servant. I want to thank Trustee Apoliona for her tireless years of service to the people of Hawai'i, and I welcome her ongoing input on the advancement of Native Hawaiians. We continue to need you, Trustee Apoliona.
The 73 percent of all voters who participated in the Trustee-at-Large election this year is unprecedented, demonstrating that OHA is relevant and of concern to the entire community. To all voters, I say mahalo. And I commit myself to be accountable to you.
Please allow me to share my heart, and communicate my position on several issues important to the Hawaiian people.
First of all, I promote the great Hawaiian value of Aloha, which unites all people as expressed in the 1840 Hawaiian Kingdom Constitution: " 'God hath made of one blood (koko) all nations of men to dwell on the earth,' in unity and blessedness." Therefore, I seek harmony between being Hawaiian and being American. I am proud to be Hawaiian and proud to be American.
At the same time, I am absolutely committed to the advancement of Native Hawaiians and will work to uphold the legal status of Hawaiian assets for Hawaiian beneficiaries. I have fought to protect the foundational Hawaiian entitlements as secured by law, including the Hawaiian Homelands and the Ceded Lands trusts. I affirm the rights of Hawaiian beneficiaries and believe we should not take assets away from Hawaiians. I also affirm the private property rights of the Ali 'i trusts, such as the Kamehameha Schools, to fulfill the wills of their benefactors. I am, after all, a proud alumnus of Kamehameha Schools as are my four children. And for my fellow Kanaka Maoli who seek various models of self-determinism, I affirm their First Amendment right to advocate for independence or nationhood.
I consider it a sacred responsibility to serve in OHA, and I will work with my fellow trustees to build a strong, transparent and effective OHA that empowers the quality of life of present and future generations of Hawaiians. As trustees, we must protect and grow the assets of OHA in order to meet the real needs of Hawaiians for housing, jobs, education, and healthcare, as well as for economic empowerment.
I ask for your help and prayers in the spirit of "E Hana Kakou" (Let's work: together!) to meet the needs of OHA 's beneficiaries.