• Our Mission

    The mission of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation (NHLC) is to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

    NHLC carries out its mission by integrating native values into the practice of western law and jurisprudence.


    Our Vision

    A just Hawai'i, guided by Hawaiian values, customs and ways of knowing.


    Our Guiding Principles


         Maoli Ola is essential to our work. NHLC will engage in various huaka'i to establish meaningful relationships with clients and the Native Hawaiian community.


         Laulima is essential to NHLC's success. Our work is team-based.

    NĀ KOA

         We are NĀ KOA, the warriors on the front-line. NHLC will fearlessly and passionately fight for justice for Native Hawaiians.


         We have a 40-year history of being steadfast for Hawaiian rights. The NHLC 'ohana is resolute and uncompromising in continuing this tradition.


         Our work is our Kuleana. NHLC will carry out its responsibilities with a deep sense of commitment and care.


         Our organization is an 'ohana. NHLC will provide her employees the necessary support and resources necessary to carry out their duties.


         We MĀLAMA our communities. In volunteering as an organization for our community projects consistent with our mission, we are preserving and protecting our rights and culture and are also caring for our people.














    NHLC 'ohana volunteering on Kaho'olawe

    NHLC 'ohana volunteering on Kaho'olawe in November 2014





  • Moses Haia III

    Moses Kalei Nahonoapi`ilani Haia III is the executive director of NHLC. Before his appointment, Moses was a staff attorney at NHLC, obtaining landmark victories in native rights cases seeking to protect ancient Hawaiian burials and Native Hawaiian water rights.

    Before joining NHLC in 2001, Moses was a solo practitioner. His practice involved labor and employment law, civil litigation and native Hawaiian rights. Moses also previously served as a staff attorney with a native rights law firm, the Native Hawaiian Advisory Council, where he litigated a seminal water rights case involving the distribution of water from one part of O’ahu to another through the Waiahole Ditch.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawaii State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association

    Past Positions

    • Staff Attorney, Native Hawaiian Advisory Council (1995 to 1997)


    Recognized by major Honolulu daily newspaper as one of “10 Who Made A Difference” in 2007


    • Editor and Contributor,E alu like mai i ka pono = Coming together for justice. This handbook describes the legislative process, administrative agencies that deal with Hawaiian affairs, and how Hawaiians can participate in governmental decision-making.
    • Eric Yamamoto, Moses Haia & Donna Kalama,Courts and the Cultural Performance : Native Hawaiians’ Uncertain Federal and State Law Rights To Sue, 16 Hawaii L. Rev. 1 (Summer 1994)


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1994)
    • University of Hawaii (B.A., Political Science, 1989)


  • Alan T. Murakami

    Alan Murakami has been NHLC’s litigation director since 1990, and an attorney with NHLC since 1985. He has specialized in litigating novel land and water issues affecting Native Hawaiians. In the process, Alan has created important precedent that allows Native Hawaiians to enforce their rights under two trusts established for their benefit and defined the trust obligations owed to Native Hawaiians. While defending Hawaiian families who retain legal interests in family lands against litigation challenging their ownership rights, Alan effectively persuaded the Supreme Court to articulate their due process rights.

    Alan has a long and distinguished legal career serving Native Hawaiian communities. Before joining NHLC, he was the managing director of the Moloka`i and Wai`anae offices of the Legal Aid Society of Hawai`i from 1981 to 1983, serving disadvantaged Native Hawaiian communities.

    Case Highlights

    Hustace v. Kapuni

    Represented Native Hawaiian family in precedential case, articulating the due process requirements that must be met in quiet title lawsuits aimed at securing ownership of Native Hawaiian-owned land through adverse possession.

    Napeahi v. Paty

    Argued successfully for precedent that submerged lands are part of the public ceded lands trust and thereby subject to the land claims of Native Hawaiians.

    Successfully represented a Hawaiian family in its petition before the Land Use Commission against plans by the Kahala Capital Corp. to construct a resort and golf course complex in areas that have been used by the family for nine generations. The LUC rejected the developer’s proposal and Kahala Capital appealed the decision to the circuit court. The court affirmed the LUC’s decision and the developer has not appealed.

    Fishermen in Miloli‘i

    Alan represented fishermen in Miloli‘i, the last traditional fishing village in the state. Their fishing grounds were threatened by a massive development in Ka‘u, initially approved by the State Land Use Commission. Alan successfully appealed that decision, which was reversed for failure to adequately consider and account for the impacts of the planned marina on these fishing grounds.


    • Contributor, Native Hawaiian Rights Handbook

    Awards and Recognition

    • Hawai‘inuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, “I Ulu I Ke Kumu” Award  (2011)
    • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (“NAPBA”) Trailblazer Award  (2007)
    • In 1999, the state wide organization of the Hawaiian Civic Clubs honored Mr. Murakami for his legal advocacy to Native Hawaiians, especially beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Home Lands Trust.

    Professional Affiliations

    • Hawai`i Advisory Committee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights
    • Japanese American Citizens League
    • National board member for the Rural Community Assistance Corporation and the Community Based Economic Development


    • University of California at Davis (J.D. 1978)
    • University of Hawaii (M.A., Economics, 1975)
    • University of Santa Clara (B.A., Economics, 1971)
  • David Kimo Frankel

    David Frankel joined NHLC in 2006 as a staff attorney. At NHLC, David focuses on Native Rights cases. Before NHLC, David worked as a staff attorney at Legal Aid and served as director of the Sierra Club Hawai’i Chapter from 1996-1998. He has worked within state government as well, as a planning and policy analyst for the Office of State Planning, committee clerk for the State House of Representatives, and legislative auditor for the County of Hawai’i.

    Case Highlights

    David has worked to protect cultural sites throughout the state. On Hawai`i Island, he has successfully defended cultural sites at: Punalu`u from a resort proposal, the area adjacent to Kaloko Honokōhau National Historical Park from a proposed marina and timeshare project, O`oma from a luxury housing development, and Pāo`o in South Kohala from a mansion proposed along the coastline. On Maui, he has worked to protect the summit of Haleakalā from a 142 foot tall astronomy building. On Moloka`i, he fought to protect Lā`au Point from a luxury housing development. On O`ahu he has litigated to protect burials jeopardized by Kawaiaha`o Church’s proposed multipurpose center, burial sites in Kaka`ako jeopardized by the rail project, Hale'iwa Regional Park from sale and hotel development, and 'Ewa  limu beds threatened by polluted stormwater drainage. On Kaua`i he has highlighted the threat to historic sites in Kōloa and a trail at Lepeuli.

    He has also worked to ensure adequate funding of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands by the State, and to ensure that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands properly follows the law.

    His appellate court victories include: Leslie v. Bd of Appeals of the County of Hawai`i, 109 Hawai`i 384, 126 P.3d 1071 (2006) (planning director improperly approved subdivision of Ki`ilae land); Kaleikini v. Thielen, 124 Hawai`i 1, 237 P.3d 1067 (2010) (BLNR chair improperly denied Native Hawaiian a contested case hearing over the disinterment of burials); Kaleikini v. Yoshioka, 124 Hawai`i 53, 283 P.3d 60 (2012) (the State Historic Preservation Division violated the historic preservation law when it approved the rail project); Nelson v. Hawaiian Homes Comm'n, 127 Hawai`i 185, 277 P.3d 279 (2012) (the State is obligated to provide sufficient funds to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands for its administrative and operating expenses); Kaleikini v. Yoshioka, 129 Hawai`i 454, 283 P.3d 252 (2013) (awarding fees to NHLC pursuant to the private attorney general doctrine); Hall v. Department of Land and Natural Resources, 128 Hawai`i 455, 290 P.3d 525 (ICA 2012) (the State Historic Preservation Division violated the historic preservation law when it allowed Kawaiaha`o Church to avoid preparing an archaeological inventory survey): Kilakila `O Haleakalā v. Bd of Land & Natural Res., 131 Hawai'i 193, 317 P.3d 27 (2013) (the Board of Land and Natural Resources erred in authorizing a 142 foot tall building in the conservation district without first providing for a contested case hearing); Blake v. County of Kaua'i Planning Comm'n, 131 Hawai'i 123, 315 P.3d 749 (2013) (the court has jurisdiction to consider case involving destruction of historic sites)

    Prior to working at NHLC, David worked pro bono to protect: the shoreline area jeopardized by a proposed housing development ma uka of Donkey Beach on Kaua`i; Kealakekua Bay and Keopuka from a luxury subdivision on the South Kona coastline; and lands adjacent to Pu`uhonua `O Hōnaunau National Historical Park from a proposed subdivision. He also filed suit pro bono against the candidacy of the Chairman of the Hawai`i County Council  that led to the decision in Clark v. Arakaki, 118 Hawai`i 355, 191 P.3d 176 (2008) (incumbent violated term limit provision of county charter).



    • Protecting Paradise: A Citizen’s Guide to Land & Water Use Controls in Hawai`i (Dolphin Press, 1997)
    • Enforcement of Environmental Laws in Hawai`i, 16 University of Hawai`i Law Review 85 (Summer 1994)
    • The Hawai`i Supreme Court: An Overview, 14 University of Hawai`i Law Review 5 (Summer 1992)
    • An Analysis of Hawai`i’s Superfund Law, 1990, 13 University of Hawai`i Law Review 301 (Summer 1991)


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 1992)
    • University of Hawa’i, (M.A., Urban and Regional Planning, 1993)
    • Carleton College (B.A., Russian Studies, 1985)
  • Camille Kalama

    Camille Kalama serves as NHLC's intake attorney, handling all inquiries for legal services. She joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2006 after clerking for one year at the Hawaii Supreme Court. Camille views her work with NHLC—to protect and preserve native rights and resources—as her kuleana or responsibility as a Native Hawaiian. At NHLC, Camille focuses on Native Rights and Hawaiian Homes.

    Prior to joining NHLC, Camille was involved in the Polynesian Voyaging Society and was named NCAA Woman Athlete of the Year for the state of Hawaii in 2001.

    Case Highlights

    Defeated a motion for preliminary injunctive relief brought by Kim Taylor Reece, a professional photographer well-known for his depiction of hula dancers, against a Native Hawaiian artist.

    Successfully challenged summary possession action against Native Hawaiian family in quiet title action.

    Assisted a lessee with rebuilding his lot and maintaining his Hawaiian Home Lands lease.


    • Chief Justice Ronald T.Y. Moon, Supreme Court of Hawaii (2005-2006)


    The Hawaii State Bar Association (HSBA) selected Camille to serve as one of 15 fellows in its 2010 Leadership Institute. The Hawaii State Bar Association Leadership Institute encourages diversity among the leaders of the bar by recruiting and targeting members with a keen interest in expanding their talents and services to the bar and community at large.


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D. 2005)
    • University of Hawaii (B.A., Geography, 2000)
  • Sharla Manley

    Sharla Manley joined NHLC as a staff attorney in 2010. Before joining NHLC, Sharla was an associate at an international law firm in Los Angeles in its global litigation department for over three years. In addition to handling commercial litigation matters, she also took pro bono cases, involving voting rights, asylum, and California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

    Also, Sharla was an associate at a plaintiff-side class action firm where she primarily handled appeals of wage and hour cases before state appellate courts and the Ninth Circuit.

    Before law school, Sharla was a policy analyst on Native Hawaiian rights at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. She focused on water rights and the impact of military activities on cultural resources in Makua Valley.


    • California
    • Hawaii


    • United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Judge Warren Ferguson Social Justice Essay Contest Winner (2005)


    • Judge Stephen Reinhardt, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal (2004)


    • University of Southern California (J.D. 2005)
    • Stanford University (B.A., History, Highest Honors, 1996)
  • David Kauila Kopper

    David Kauila Kopper is a staff attorney at NHLC. He concentrates his practice on land title disputes with an emphasis on quiet title and partition actions, native tenant rights, burial site protection, government lease program disputes, summary possession actions and contract disputes.

    Case Highlights

    Obtained humanitarian parole for a minor Tongan national so that he could be reunited with his hanai mother living in Hawai'i.

    Successfully litigated a lawsuit against the Department of Land and Natural Resources to enforce two widows' rights to succeed to their deceased husbands' long term leases for property in Kahana Valley State Park.

    Successfully negotiated resolutions of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands lease disputes.


    • Fourth Place Overall, National Native American Law Student Association Moot Court Competition, Vermillion, South Dakota, February 2010
    • CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Jurisprudence, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall, 2009
    • CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Real Property, William S. Richardson School of Law, Spring, 2008
    • CALI AWARD for Highest Grade, Legal Practice II, William S. Richardson School of Law, Spring 2008

    Past Positions

    • Executive Editor for Publications, University of Hawai`i Law Review, 2008-2009
    • Native American Moot Court Team, William S. Richardson School of Law, 2008-2009


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., magna cum laude, 2010)
    • Herberger College of Fine Arts, Arizona State University (B.M., Music Performance, magna cum laude, 2006)
  • Li‘ulā Nakama

    Li‘ulā Nakama joined NHLC in 2011 and currently serves as a staff attorney. She previously served as NHLC's Director of Development and Marketing, and as an intake attorney, handling legal inquiries at NHLC.  Throughout law school and during her Post-JD Research Fellowship at Ka Huli Ao, Li‘ulā researched the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the empowerment of Hawaiian Home Lands community associations, and the future of these lands in a post-Akaka Bill society.  She graduated from the William S. Richardson School of Law with a Pacific Asian Legal Studies Certificate with a Specialty in Native Hawaiian Law.  She previously worked for NHLC as a summer law clerk in 2007.


    • Hawai‘i State Bar Association
    • Native Hawaiian Bar Association
    • Phi Beta Kappa Academic Honor Society


    • CALI Award for Highest Grade, Environmental Law, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2007
    • CALI Award for Highest Grade, Legal Practice, William S. Richardson School of Law, Fall 2006

    Past Positions

    • Renewable Energy Project Assistant, Hawai‘i State Energy Office (2010-2011)
    • Post-J.D. Research Fellow, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law (2009-2010)


    • William S. Richardson School of Law (J.D., cum laude, 2009)
    • University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (B.A., Ethnic Studies, 2005)
  • Righting a Wrong

    Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation was born during a period of reawakening for the Hawaiian people. During the 1970s, Native Hawaiians were engaged in monumental land struggles. They were increasingly evicted from rural areas to make way for residential or tourist-related developments (Kalama Valley and Makua Valley). They were also evicted from one of the last fishing villages on O’ahu so that the State could build an industrial park. By the second half of that decade, Native Hawaiians were protesting the military’s use of the island of Kaho‘olawe as a bombing target. Meanwhile, a renaissance in Hawaiian culture was blossoming. Native Hawaiians were learning how to navigate across the Pacific using traditional methods aboard Hokule’a, a replica of voyaging canoes used by pre-historic Polynesians. They were revitalizing the indigenous language, which was outlawed shortly after the overthrow of the Hawaiian government.

    This reawakening was another phase of dealing with a legacy of colonization. The Native Hawaiian people, who inhabited these islands as early as 300 A.D., had a complex culture and land tenure system. Recognized as a nation in the international community, the Native Hawaiian monarchy had treatises with other countries. But with Western contact, their sovereignty slowly eroded until a group of businessmen, supported by the U.S., overthrew the Native Hawaiian monarchy in 1893.

    The loss of sovereignty and their lands have plagued Native Hawaiians. The U.S. recognized that lands set aside by the Hawaiian Monarchy for the benefit of the Hawaiian people (or ceded lands) retained a special character, and until today must be used for the betterment of Native Hawaiians. And the U.S. also adopted a law, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, aimed at returning Native Hawaiians to the land. But justice was still out of reach.

    As part of a grassroots effort to remedy the injustices suffered by Native Hawaiians, NHLC was formed in 1974. The concept of creating a law firm devoted to the needs of Native Hawaiians arose out of the difficulty Native Hawaiians faced in getting leases under the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. Those lands were increasingly being leased to non-beneficiaries of the Act, while Native Hawaiians languished on a waiting list for decades. Originally named the “Hawaiian Coalition of Native Claims,” the organization fought against a then-new wave of dispossession from the land to make way for a boom in urban development. Since then, NHLC has worked steadily to establish Native Hawaiian rights jurisprudence.

    “Over the years, what we have done is we’ve been able to establish that these practices are credible, that they exist, and that they need to protected.”

    —Paul Nahoa Lucas, Current Board Member and Former Staff Attorney

  • Board Members

    The Board of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation provides leadership and raises funds for the organization. Each board member serves a term of four years.

    • Roy Catalani, President
    • Robert Merce, Vice President & Secretary
    • Kevin Cockett
    • Mike Hodson
    • Malia Ka`aihue
    • Gina Lobaco
    • Jon Matsuoka
    • Mark Kawika Patterson
    • Teresa Tico



    NHLC recently welcomed three individuals to its Board: Malia Ka`aihue, Gina Lobaco and Mark Kawika Patterson. 

    Board members Malia Ka`aihue, Gina Lobaco and Mark Kawika Patterson explain why they wanted to serve on NHLC’s Board.

  • Malia Ka`aihue, Ph.D.

    Partner and VP of Strategy

    It is an honor to serve on the Board of Directors of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation. I have long admired the tremendous work of the organization who in my opinion works every day to carry out the state’s motto, ua mau ke ea o ka ‘āina i ka pono, in a manner consistent with Kauikeauoli.

    Waiōhinu and Kaʻimukī are my kulaiwi. I’m raising my seven children, along with my husband, Duane DeSoto in Kaʻimukī. I’m a graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi [UH] where I earned a BA in both Hawaiian Studies and Hawaiian Language and an MA in Political Science and completed a Ph.D. in Political Science specializing in Indigenous Politics.

    I’m the managing partner and president of DTL, a Hawaiian strategy studio, in Kakaʻako. And through my work continuously challenge the status quo by utilizing Hawaiian history, politics and language combined with experience in government, community and business to provide critical thought around deploying cultural and community assets to solve modern day challenges.

    I’m committed to utilizing these skills to support NHLC’s mission to perpetuate, through legal and other advocacy, the rights, customs and practices that strengthen Native Hawaiian identity and culture.

  • Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award

    For the past ten years at the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement's Annual Convention, NHLC has presented the Native Hawaiian Community Advocate Award recognizing outstanding individuals with a personal contribution to Native Hawaiian rights and leadership.

  • Summer Sylva

    Summer Sylva joined Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation as a staff attorney earlier this year. She previously worked for NHLC as a summer law clerk in 2005; an experience that motivated her efforts to organize Cornell University’s first native water law and public policy symposium, co-sponsored by the Transboundary Indigenous Waters Program, the New York State Water Resources Institute, Cornell’s American Indian Program, and Cornell Law School's Journal of Law and Public Policy.   Her published note chronicling Na Moku  Aupuni O Ko‘olau Hui’s legal struggle to access traditional sources of water to sustain taro cultivation and to perpetuate their traditional way of life was inspired by NHLC’s commitment to this important work.  Before returning to NHLC in 2014, Summer practiced commercial and bankruptcy litigation for four years at an international law firm in New York City, and worked for two years at a private Honolulu firm where she litigated construction, real estate, insurance, and probate matters.   

    Summer received her law degree from Cornell Law School with a Public Law Certificate.  Prior to law school, she was a research administrator for the Hawai‘i Cancer Research Center and served on the Board of Directors for the Waimānalo Health Center.

  • Gina Lobaco

    Associate Director of Philanthropy

    Serving on NHLC’s board of directors is a huge honor and an important kuleana for me. When you live in Hawaiʻi, the presence of Hawaiians is felt everywhere. Every place on every island—river, mountain, forest, beach, valley, field—has a name and every name has a story, reflecting the love, reverence and stewardship of the ʻaina which was the hallmark of Hawaiʻi’s, pre-contact civilization. In some small measure, I hope to help NHLC in its mission to preserve the rights of Native Hawaiians to perpetuate their heritage, traditions and culture, but also their legal claims to land and water.

    I have spent the majority of my professional career working for public-interest law firms which seek to ensure that “equal justice under law” is not merely an empty phrase chiseled into the portico above the U.S. Supreme Court building. In a law-based society, we must ensure that access to the courts and to the corridors of power are open to all, especially those who need it the most but can least afford it. NHLC’s work to represent disenfranchised native communities in Hawaiʻi represents the highest expression of the notion of “liberty and justice for all.”

  • Mark Kawika Patterson


    When I was a young boy, my father charged me to watch my grandmother as she foraged from the reefs fronting our home in Makaha. Wana, Haukeuke, Pipipi, Aama, Waiwaiole and Limu Kohu to name a few of the items my grandmother gathered for the family and her friends. For the most part she never paid attention to the ocean, that was my purpose. Once a rogue surge came upon the reef and knocked my grandmother down I lost sight of her under the white foam of the wave, I dove to the last spot I saw her. I found a leg and held it with one arm while the other was used to hold onto the reef. When the surge receded my grandmother was on her back laughing with haukeuke in each hand. She stood and made her way closer to the dead coral that made up the upper reef. She swung one hand and slammed the haukeuke against the coral and broke it in half. She held half the broken shell to her mouth and began sucking. When she was finished she offered the other half to me, I remember seeing the orange innards in the half shell, she laughed as she saw my face grimace as I backed away from her. She immediately sucked the second half, smiled and said "this is old school McDonalds" and started laughing again. The opportunity to join the NHLC reminded me of this story about my grandmother. For many Hawaiians, hardships come as we attempt to maintain our traditional ways of life, we search and gather what we can to sustain ourselves from our ancestral foundation but we are constantly being knocked down by external surges that we do not control. NHLC is an organization that is prepared to reach out through the mist to take hold when all seems hopeless to allow our people to continue to feed on who we are, to pick up our fallen and set them on their feet again so that we can become all that we can. I am honored to be a part of the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation.

  • 2016 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:


    Andrew Almquist In honor of Peter Murakami's birthday, Happy Natal Day, Peter
    Delilah Belt  
    Paula Chong In memory of Dorothy Kamakaokalehua Passos
    Lynn P. DeCoite  
    Christian Gainsley  
    Nancy Walsh Jones  
    Albert Kalin and Hiltrud Kalin-Munch  
    Chass Keka Dedicated to preserving ancestral lands. Just wanted to say "Mahalo nui loa...
    Dawn Keka and the Keka `Ohana Dedicated to preserving ancestral lands. Mahalo for all you do!
    Lei Keka Dedicated to help preserve ancestral lands. Mahalo nui loa for such an awesome job you are all doing for Native Hawaiian people. We are all so grateful to have you. Malama pono . . . Aloha
    Liko Keka Dedicated to preserving ancestral lands. Much Mahalo for all you do to help the `ohana
    Sierra Keka and the Keka `Ohana Dedicated to preserving ancestral lands
    Tori Keka Dedicated to preserving ancestral lands. Mahalo nui loa
    Joe Kuhio Lewis  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Gary T. Nakano  
    Arthur Spencer  
    Carole S. Suganuma  
    Teresa Tico  
    Louis H. Ventura  
    Alvin Westcott  
  • 2014 - Judge Walter Heen

    Moses Haia, Judge Heen, and his grandson ChristianNHLC awarded Judge Walter Meheula Heen its 2014 Native Hawaiian Advocate Awardee for his 50 plus years of public service to the people of Hawaiʻi in a variety of roles including a distinguished judicial career. 

    As a Judge on the Intermediate Court of Appeals, Judge Heen authored a number of important decisions dealing with Native Hawaiian rights.  In 1986, he issued the decision in the land title case known as Hustace v. Kapuni that ensures that Native Hawaiians receive notice of lawsuits that may affect their ownership interest in ancestral lands. When this case began, notice was provided primarily by way of a newspaper ad and those who failed to respond to the newspaper ad were defaulted.  In his decision, Judge Heen noted that, “[t]he consequences of quiet title actions are so severe that to have one's interest in land summarily taken away without an opportunity to respond is in violation of due process requirements and our sense of fairness and justice.” Now, and as a result of this decision, whenever a quiet title action is filed, the plaintiff must engage in an extensive search for people who might have a claim to the property and can no longer rely solely on notice of the lawsuit via newspaper publication without first reviewing various publicly available records.

    In the initial appeal of the case commonly referred to as PASH, Native Hawaiians who gathered shrimp from several ponds contained within the footprint of a major resort development planned for the Kona Coast requested a contested case to challenge the permit for the project claiming that their gathering practices were threatened by the project. This request was denied by the county.  In his ruling, Judge Heen confirmed that these individuals were entitled to a contested case and that the Hawaii Planning Commission had “disregarded the rules regarding the gathering rights of native Hawaiians and its obligation to protect and preserve those rights.” The Hawaii Supreme Court affirmed this ruling.  

    Mahalo nui Judge Heen, for your unyielding dedication to the betterment of the conditions of Native Hawaiians.

  • 2015 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:


    Michelle D. Acosta In memory of Lorraine Acosta
    John Aeto  
    Millie R. Ahloy  
    Wayne Keola Akana  
    Julian K. Ako  
    Yuklin Aluli  
    Carlos Andrade  
    Anonymous On behalf of the Panaewa Community
    Na`alehu Anthony  
    Becky Ashizawa  
    Charles and Leonora Barclay  
    Maile and John Bay Mahalo a nui!
    Mark and Missy Beavers  
    Carl Berger and Maria Cocchiarelli-Berger  
    Big Island Delights, Inc.  
    Beryl B. Blaich In memory of Gary L. Blaich, M.D.
    Adeline T. Brash In memory of Sarah Kahikina Teixeira
    Sherry Broder  
    Michael Broderick and Maile Meyer  
    David Burge  
    Carol-Louise Carper In memory of Uncle Jimmy Akiona and Charles Aipia
    Central Pacific Bank  
    Chaminade University  
    Bradley Chong  
    Paula Chong In memory of Dorothy Kamakaokalehua Passos
    `Ihilani Chu In loving memory of Norman Kamuela Chu and Kimiko Chu
    Catherine A. Chun-Hoon  
    Raeanne Cobb-Adams  
    Kevin Cockett, Cockett Communications  
    Irene Mokihana Cordeiro-Vierra Mahalo for your good works!! God Bless you all!
    Brian Cummings  
    Gerald L. Danforth, Sr.  
    Jacinth and Yvonne DeLuz  
    Jonathan S. Durrett  
    John Echohawk Moses ~ Thanks for all of your help!
    Ernestine Enomoto  
    Priscilla J. Falk  
    William Fernandez  
    David Kimo Frankel  
    Friends of Maile Shimabukuro  
    Gaynell Fuchs  
    Ede A. K. Fukumoto  
    Butch Gima, Lanaians for Sensible Growth  
    Teresa M. Gomes  
    Arthur K. Goto  
    Paula Guanzon  
    James and Sherie Gusukumu  
    Heidi Guth  
    Elizabeth K. Han  
    Dona Hanaike  
    Maggie Hanohano  
    William Harrison, Esq.  
    Sharleen K. Heanu and `Ohana  
    Judge Walter Heen  
    Mikahala A. Helm  
    Raiatea Helm  
    Robert E. Hill and Pearl Y. Moenahele-Hill  
    Alexis & Hiram Ho  
    Karen M. Holt  
    Flora Lehua Ii-Michaelson  
    Tania Joao  
    Cindi John  
    Timothy Johns  
    Phil Johnson  
    Robert Gilbert Johnston  
    Alohalani L. Jones  
    Nancy Jones  
    Malia Ka`aihue, Na Kama Kai  
    David I. Kamai  
    Winona Kamai In memory of Moses Haia, Jr. and Gertrude Haia
    Le`a Malia Kanehe  
    Tomie Kaniho  
    D. Pi`ilani Kaopuiki  
    Sabra L. Kauka In memory of Kai`opua Fyfe
    Guy Kaulukukui, Kealapono, LLC  
    Kaumana Hawaiian Homes Community Association  
    Arnold and Sandra Kawano  
    Robin and Sally Kaye  
    Christopher Kelly In honor of your lawyer Summer Sylva, with whom I had the pleasure of working at Holland & Knight
    Keaukaha Community Association  
    Keaukaha Pana`ewa Farms  
    E. Leina`ala Kihoi  
    Gladys M. Kotaki  
    Winona E. Kukona  
    Keith Lee  
    Terence Lee  
    Ian Lind  
    Gina L. Lobaco  
    Sarah Love  
    Howard Luke  
    Melody MacKenzie  
    Joseph H. Mahoe  
    Susan P. Malterre-Htun  
    Marvin Manuel  
    Ernest Martin, Kukulu Pono, LLC  
    Martha E. Martin  
    Edwin and Lucy Matsuda  
    Lynne Matusow  
    Patricia Mau-Shimizu  
    Ron McOmber  
    Heidi Anna Meeker  
    Maile Meyer In honor of Noa Webster Aluli and his children and grandchildren
    Charles and Martha Mizner  
    John Mumford, Mumford Lana`i, LLC  
    Alan T. Murakami  
    Alapaki Nahale-a  
    Wilfred N. Naho`oikaika  
    Li`ula Nakama  
    Julia M. Neumann  
    Keola Nunies  
    Linda and Gordon Oamilda  
    Ashley K. Obrey  
    Everett Ohta  
    Carleen Ornellas  
    Lynette K. Paglinawan In memory of Richard Paglinawan
    Charles Palakiko  
    Pana`ewa Community Alliance  
    Richard Pechner  
    Wallette G. Pellegrino  
    Pi`ihonua Hawaiian Homestead  
    Anthony F. Quan  
    Mary M. R. Rajkowski  
    Stanley Kiope Raymond  
    John R. Sabas  
    Kyle T. Sakumoto, Esq., Lee & Sakumoto  
    Laura M. Sanders  
    Norman Sato In support of and appreciation to Summer Sylva, I am glad you are keeping with your vision that you had in college and enjoy the fulfillment of your endeavors. Keep up the good work.
    Brian R. Smith  
    Aviam Soifer In honor of Melody MacKenzie, much honor and a entirely fitting mahalo nui loa! Avi
    Solutions Pacific  
    Judge Melvin K. Soong  
    Arthur Spencer In memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer
    Andrew Sprenger and Cindy Kagiwada  
    John Squires  
    Juana A. Tabali-Weir  
    Sarah Thompson  
    Teresa Tico  
    Patrick Uchigakiuchi  
    Barry Vasios In honor of Summer Sylva, keep on with your good work!
    Jan M. Weinberg  
    Edward and Mahealani Wendt  
    Lillian U. Wakinekona  
    Alvin Westcott  
    Brenda Jo Wong  
    Eric K. Yamamoto  
    Dale Yashiki  
    Calvin Young  
    Rowena Young  
    Hoyt Zia and Leigh Ann Miyasato In honor of Puanani Burgess
  • 2014 Donors

    Mahalo nui to all of our supporters:


    Kehau Abad


    Nathan Aipa


    Wayne Akana


    Julian Ako


    Yuklin Aluli


    Georgiana Alvaro


    Carlos Andrade


    Becky Ashizawa

    In memory of Sue Honma

    Rob Barnett

    In honor of Kauila Kopper, the greatest supervising attorney!

    John & Maile Bay


    Big Island Candies, Inc.


    Beryl Blaich


    Tricia Blenis


    Body Mint


    David Burge


    Puanani Burgess

    On behalf of my family

    Edmund Burke


    Sherry P. Broder


    Steve & Carol-Louise Carper


    Bradley Chong


    Paula Chong

    In memory of Dorothy Kamakaokalehua Passos

    Lowell & Catherine Chun-Hoon


    Kevin Cockett


    Doug Codiga


    Brian Cummings


    Jonathan Durrett


    Tom Dye


    Dawn Farm-Ramsey

    In honor of my mother

    Lyn Flanigan


    Joe Florendo, Jr.


    Dan Gluck


    Teri Gomes


    Stephen Gomes

    In memory of Julia Malia Gomes and her Hawaiian heart

    Dixie Ann Goo


    Arthur Goto


    Paula Guanzon


    Sherie Gusukuma


    Heidi Guth


    Amy Hanaiali`i


    James & Dora Hamilton

    In loving memory of Mike Mason

    Walter Heen


    Mikahala Helm


    Hempey & Meyers, LLP


    Eden Elizabeth Hifo


    Karen Holt


    Bill Hoshijo


    Lehua Ii-Michaelson


    Louise Ing


    Gil Johnston

    In memory of Delbert Wakinekona

    Kainani Kahaunaele, Mahuahua Music LLC


    Paulette Ka'anohiokalani Kaleikini


    Winona Kamai


    Walter Kaneakua


    Tomie Kaniho

    In memory of Sonny A. Kaniho

    D. P. Kaopuiki

    In honor of Alice D. Fisher

    RaeDeen Karasuda


    Guy Kaulukukui


    Robin & Sally Kaye


    Keawe Adventures

    In honor of the Fishermen and Hunters of Hawai'i

    Leimomi Khan


    Leina'ala Kihoi


    Gladys Kotaki


    Ward & Karen Kotaki


    Kris & Lisa Kristofferson


    Robert LeClair


    Adele & Wayde Lee


    Carol Mon Lee


    Guye Lee


    Keith Lee


    Lee & Sakumoto LLC


    Debbie & Bill Thomas

    In honor of our Hawaiian family, Edward Halealoha Ayau, Kunani and Ipo Nihipali

    Mike Livingston


    Gina Lobaco

    In honor of Becky Ashizawa

    Howard Luke


    Harvey Lung


    Melody MacKenzie


    Susan Malterre-Htun


    Lynne Matusow


    Patricia Mau-Shimizu


    BS McEwen


    Ron McOmber

    In memory of Phyllis McOmber

    Maile Meyer

    In honor of Noa Webster Aluli and his children and grandchildren

    Meleanna Meyer


    Albert Morita


    Mountain Apple Company


    Alan Murakami


    Li'ula Nakama


    Julia Neumann


    Linda & Gordon Oamilda


    Ashley Obrey


    Leighton Oshima


    Charles Palakiko


    Denis Paquette


    Paulele Equipment LLC


    Judy Pavey


    Ki'ope Raymond


    Scott Sager

    In honor of David Kimo Frankel and all the important work all the attorneys at NHLC do every day

    Aviam Soifer

    In honor of Melody MacKenzie

    Melvin K. Soong

    Arthur Spencer

    In memory of Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer

    Juana Tabali-Weir


    June Taima


    Donna Tanoue


    Onaona Thoene


    Sarah Thompson


    John Turrettini

    In honor of Summer Sylva

    Patrick Uchigakiuchi


    Barry Vasios

    In honor of Summer Sylva

    Louis Ventura


    Richard Wada


    Colleen Wong


    Nicole Wright

    In honor of Summer Sylva

    Dale Yashiki


    Calvin Young

  • Past Donors

    Millie Ahloy  
    William & Melva Aila  
    Airport Lei Sellers Association  
    Keola Akana  
    Julian Ako  
    Malia Akutagawa  
    Liberta Albao In Honor of Alan Murakami
    Linda Alicea  
    Carlos Andrade  
    Nancy Aleck In Memory of Chuck Frankel
    Yuklin Aluli  
    Rodney C. Amian  
    Anonymous In memory of Robert Paul Dye
    Anonymous On Behalf of Kauai
    Anonymous On Behalf of Kauai
    Anonymous Dedicated to Laulani Teale. In Honor of her birthday
    Anonymous Dedicated to Nahoa Canoe Club
    Anonymous For Sharla Manley
    Becky & Carl Ashizawa In Memory of Uncle Sonny Kaniho and Aunty Irene Torrey & Uncle Jimmy Akiona
    Carl Ashizawa  
    Joanie Bagood On behalf of those who care for Mokauea Island (past & present)
    John & Maile Bay  
    Mark & Missy Beavers In Honor of NHLC
    Melissa Beavers  
    Mona Bernardino  
    Richard Bidgen  
    Anderson & Shiela Black  
    Jyo Bridgewater-Borg  
    Leimomi Brigoli  
    Puanani Burgess On Behalf of My Family
    Catherine Butler  
    Fred Cachola In Honor of Kupaainalua & Halulukamanaoualanipili
    Dayne-Raynard, Kennedy & Annika Carlson  
    Carol-Louise & Steve Carper  
    Roy Catalani  
    Central Pacific Bank  
    Catherine Chang In Honor of Melody MacKenzie
    Dawn Chang Ho`okano Family Land Trust
    Matthew & Nicole Chapman  
    Anna Chavez & Eugene Eidenberg In Honor of the people of Kaua'i, protecting sacred grounds of Native Hawaiian sites, culture and environmental health for all
    Lynn Ching  
    Wehilani Ching  
    Choo Osada & Lee  
    Paula Chong In Honor of Kamakaokalehua Passos
    Stefanie Chong-Kuma  
    Cathry & Lowell Chun-Hoon Dedicated to Melody MacKenzie
    Daniel & Wendy Coats  
    Irene Cordeiro-Vierra  
    David Cruz  
    Lori & Russell Cruz  
    Elizabeth Daoang  
    Yvonne DeLuz  
    Tara M. Deponte  
    Keala Dolor-Tripp In Memory of Martha Mileka Kahanu Iwanaga
    Dolores & Furtado Martin Foundation In Memory of Ernest "Juggie" Heen
    Duane & Beverly Donovan  
    Lincoln Drake  
    Tom Dye In Memory of Dr. Marc Gregory
    Thomas Dye In Memory of Robert Paul Dye
    Keala Ede  
    Roger Ede  
    E. Enomoto  
    Martha & Andrew Evans  
    Priscilla Falk  
    Dawn Darm-Ramsey  
    Finance Factors Foundation  
    Alice D. Fisher  
    Pearl Ling & Jeff Fleener  
    Larry Foster  
    William Keoni Fox Mahalo to Kimo Frankel on Behalf of the Keanu 'Ohana
    David Frankel  
    Friends of Maile Shimabukuro  
    Jean Fukuji  
    Joseph & Shellene Gilman  
    Butch Gima On Behalf of Lanaians for Sensible Growth
    Maggie, Ikaika & Bishop Gomes In Memory of Julia Malia Gomes
    Stephen, Maylyn & Makana Gomes In Memory of Julia Gomes
    Teresa Gomes In Memory of Julia Gomes
    Art Goto  
    Sunny Greer In Memory of Papa Henry Allen Auwae
    Ariela Gross In Honor of Sharla Manley
    Paula Guanzon  
    Sherie & James Gusukuma  
    Barbara Haia  
    Courtney Lee Haia  
    Moses & Lynn Haia  
    Thomas Haia & Family In Memory of Moses K. N. Haia, Jr and Gertrude T. Haia
    Dana Naone Hall  
    Elizabeth Han  
    Carlton Handley  
    Brook Hart  
    Hawaii Community Stewardship Network  
    Hawaiian Organics  
    Nancy Hedlund In Memory of Aunty Beatrice Kekahuna
    Walter Heen  
    David Henkin In Honor of Kimo Frankel's 50th Birthday
    Eden Elizabeth Hifo  
    Robert & Pearl Hill  
    Karen Holt  
    Lea Hong  
    William Hoshijo  
    Charlene Huffman  
    Bertha Huihui  
    Anni Huynh  
    Mitchell Imanaka  
    Sharon Inada  
    Robert Gilbert Johnston  
    Tania Joao  
    Jonathan Starr Foundation  
    Nancy Walsh Jones In Honor of all the Hawaiian Homes Benificiaries who continue to wait for lots
    Thelma Ka'ahui In Memory of Abraham Ka`ahui
    Charles Ka'ai'ai  
    Bonita Chang & Kyle Kajihiro  
    Eunice Ishiki-Kalahele  
    Camille Kalama  
    Walea Kalama  
    Winona Kamai  
    Lori Kanaeholo  
    Tomie Kaniho In Memory of Sunny Kaniho
    Eric Kapono  
    Sabra Kauka In Honor of Alan Murakami
    Arn & Sandy Kawano  
    Jamae Kawauchi  
    Robin & Sally Kaye  
    Marilyn Khan  
    Robert Klein On Behalf of Klein Ohana
    Gladys Kotaki  
    Ward & Karen Kotaki  
    Helene Kuaana  
    Marty Kuala  
    Winona Kukona  
    Guye Lee  
    Keith & Brenda Lee  
    Lee & Sakumoto  
    Ian Lind  
    Gina Lobacco In Honor of Bob Merce & Teri Tico
    Rhona-Joy Lubomirski  
    Paula F. N. Lucas  
    Iwalani Lum  
    Melody MacKenzie In Honor of Alan Murakami & his 30 years of service at NHLC! To the wonderful staff of NHLC!  Mahalo for your extraordinary work on behalf of our people!
    Kepa & Onaona Maly  
    Susan Malterre-Htun  
    Sharla Manley  
    Diane Mark  
    Martha Martin  
    Louise Mata  
    Lucy Matsuda In Honor of Grantors of Kahanu Garden
    Lynn Matusow  
    Patricia Mau Shimizu  
    Kawika McKeague In Memory of Kaho`onei Panoke
    Pat McManaman  
    Ron McOmber In Memory of Phyllis McOmber
    Heidi Meeker  
    Bob & Marian Merce  
    Jamee Miller  
    Lee Miller  
    Bernadette “Gigi” Miranda Dedicated to Laulani Teale.  In Honor of her birthday
    Steve Moore  
    Leimomi Morgan  
    Albert Morita  
    Laura & Jerry Mueller  
    John & Christine Mumford  
    Alan Murakami  
    Carol Muranaka  
    Devon Myers On Behalf of Devon Myers & Stephen Liu
    Stephanie Nagata  
    Liula Nakama  
    Beverly Nakamoto  
    Julia Neumann  
    Robert Nip  
    Stephen Obrey  
    Anthony Ornellas  
    Carleen Ornellas For my grandchildren who have to live on the continent for now
    Kale Ornellas  
    Kanoe Ornellas  
    Kino & Tara Ornellas  
    Leighton K. Osorio  
    Mary C. Osorio  
    Charles Palakiko  
    Kelli Perreira  
    Robert & Delilah Perreira  
    William S.K.A Perreira  
    Jodi Pestello On Behalf of Trenton Wailehua
    Kukula Pono  
    Fairfax Reilly  
    Ruel Reyes  
    Glenn Reys  
    Patricia Robb  
    Sherryl Royce  
    Adrian Rosehill In Honor of Ambrose J. Rosehill
    John Robert Sabas  
    Kelea Sandfort  
    Laura Sato  
    Dana & Kurt Sato  
    Brian Smith  
    Laura Smith  
    Kevin Smith  
    Scott & Kristen Smutz  
    Raynard & Cheryl Soon  
    Art Spencer Dedicated to Herbert & Hazel Nobrega Spencer.
    Andrew Sprenger & Cindy Kagiwada  
    Oswald Stender  
    Melvin & Shirley Suganuma  
    Raynette Suganuma-Carlson In Memory of Raymond and Maria K . Suganuma
    Raynette Suganuma-Carlson In Honor of Moses K. N. Haia, Alan T. Murakami, Becky Ashizawa, and all NHLC Staff
    Cynthia Surrisi  
    Miwa Tamanaha  
    Laulani Teale  
    Janet Templo  
    Diane Texidor  
    Teresa Tico  
    Reno Villaren  
    Sheryl Vuillemot  
    Trenton Wailehua  
    Lattisha Wallace  
    Clifford Wassman  
    The Way Trust  
    Edward & Mahealani Wendt  
    Evern Williams On Behalf of Haumea
    Laureen Wong  
    Michael J. Y. Wong, Esq.  
    Napali Woode  
    WSDC Foundation  
    Eric Yamamoto  
    Ian Yee  
    Debbie Yoshizumi  
    Anthony Quan, Jr.  
    Bryant Zane  
  • 2013 - Mac Poepoe

    NHLC is pleased to award its 2013 Native Hawaiian Advocate of the Year Award to Mac Poepoe. Uncle Mac noted the slow decline of fish and shoreline species, and in the early nineties, consulted with other Molokaʻi fishermen to bring about a change.  That decision led to the creation of the Hui Malama o Moʻomomi, a grassroots organization dedicated to conserving and maintaining resources, and returning to the traditional Hawaiian best practices of resource management.  He has revitalized the Northwest coastline of Molokaʻi from ‘Ilio Point to Nihoa, and trained many people from young to old about the importance of konohiki thinking.  It has been a challenge to redirect attitudes from the Western view of “individual rights” to the Hawaiian view of “for the next generations”, but his determination to continue the effort of malama ‘aina has resulted in an awareness, not only in his own community on Molokaʻi, but many communities throughout the state and internationally, about the importance of Hawaiian-style stewardship and community self-management.

  • 2012 - Ed Wendt

    Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation awarded Ed Wendt its 2012 Native Hawaiian Community Advocate of the Year Award for his tireless struggle on behalf of himself and Wailuanui/Ke`anae kalo farmers, gatherers, and fishers seeking to enforce their constitutional rights to pursue their Hawaiian traditions and customs dependent on free-flowing streams. This award recognizes Ed's decades-long struggle against the 4th largest landowner in Hawai`i, Alexander and Baldwin (A&B), which is the largest private diverter of water in the United States. With permission of the State of Hawai`i, A&B, through its subsidiary East Maui Irrigation Company, has diverted over 100 East Maui streams collected on 33,000 acres of conservation lands. A&B uses this water to irrigate 27,000 acres of sugar cane fields managed by another A&B subsidiary, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar plantation, the last of dozens of plantations that once operated in Hawai`i. Ed is President of Na Moku Aupuni O Ko`olau Hui, the community organization he helped found in the 1990's to oppose the continuing diversions of water that was sapping the culture and spirit of his community.


  • 2011 - Dana Naone Hall

    NHLC is especially pleased and honored to present the 2011 Community Advocate Of The Year, Dana Naone Hall.

    Dana is one of the founding members of Hui Ala Nui O Makena, an organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of historical, cultural and native Hawaiian rights.  Her more than thirty years of advocacy has produced impressive results that we all have benefitted from. She successfully fought the closure of that part of the alanui fronting Seibu’s Maui Prince Hotel and, in the process, protected the area’s rich coastal resources. She was also instrumental in efforts to relocate the Ritz Carlton Hotel away from the shoreline dunes at Honokahua.  Her work in that case led to significant protections for iwi kupuna.  She also successfully opposed a private golf course development slated for the Waihe’e shoreline, an area rich with archeological and cultural sites.  Because of her dedication, that important cultural landscape will be preserved in perpetuity.  Dana has also served with distinction as a member of the Maui-Lanai-Molokai Islands Burial Council.  As a member, vice-chair, and chair, she established an impressive record of resolving very contentious matters involving development projects and native Hawaiian burials.

    Dana has no need for official recognition of her more than three decades of tireless and very effective advocacy on behalf of Native Hawaiians.  Dana continues to step up because of her sense of justice and unflinching courage under fire.  She is an inspiration to us, she holds a very special place in Hawai‘i’s history, and our recognition and acknowledgement of that is long overdue.

  • 2010 - Beatrice Kekahuna & Marjorie Wallett

    In 2010, NHLC presented its Community Advocate of the Year Award to two cousins from Honopou, island of Maui, Hawai`i - Beatrice Kekahuna and Marjorie Wallett (posthumous). Honopou is one of the few remaining natural areas of Hawai`i that directly supported the ancient traditions and customs of Hawaiians. Beatrice and Marjorie were the stalwarts of Hawaiian traditional and customary use of Honopou Stream. They were raised in Honopou, helping their families survive on the bounty that the stream provided in supporting taro growing, native stream life, and the fresh water interface with the ocean so vital to the gathering and fishing traditions of the coastline.

    Beatrice Pualani (Kepani) Kekahuna, also known as (Aunty) Nani, was born on June 3, 1932 to Juliana (Koko) and Lokana Kepani in Huelo, Maui, Hawaii. She was the second youngest in a family of 12 children. She had a humble upbringing on the east side of Maui. As children, she and her siblings would explore the valleys near their home, following the fresh water streams to the ocean. Taking care of taro patches was a way of life for them. In turn, the taro provided food for such a large family. These waters also fed the opa`e, hihiwai and o`opu on which she was raised. They also nurtured the fisheries on the East Maui coast which provided her ohana an important source of food. Her early life in East Maui gave her an intense appreciation for how water sustains life.  She was brought up to believe if you took care of the land, the land will take care of you.

    To this day, she is still cultivating taro as well, yet many things have changed from her childhood days.  The diversion of our natural streams by giant agribusiness interests has made it difficult to maintain the taro patches that used to flourish during her childhood. Without enough water, the taro will not grow properly. Without access to home-grown taro or the fish, o`opu, opa`e and hihiwai she once regularly gathered, she sees tradition slipping away. This is why Beatrice is also active in the pursuit of water rights for taro farmers and gathering/fishing rights for subsistence gatherers.

    No small part of NHLC’s ability to sustain its representation of East Maui residents is dependent on people like Aunty Beatrice and her recently departed cousin Marjorie Wallett. They stepped forward when they saw their streams dying from diversions meant to grow sugar. Aunty Beatrice’s warmth, patience, and persistence has been undiminished against the economic forces of the 12th largest landowner in the state and state government officials who are too often influenced by powerful political and economic forces. Her dedication to this cause has been inspiring, effective, and we express our deepest and sincere appreciation to her. Mahalo Aunty Beatrice!

    Aunty Marjorie Wallett was born on March 28, 1932 in Honokohau, Maui.  When she was about ten years old, the family moved to Honopou where they learned to work in the kalo lo’i. This area on Maui is the land base for one of the few remaining vestiges of Native Hawaiian culture and tradition. It is under assault from the economic and political forces that threaten to disrupt the practices that have sustained our way of life for centuries. When Aunty Marjorie moved back to Honopou after working on the mainland for 30 years, taro farming appeared to be dying off – the victim of diminishing water in the streams due to diversions by HC&S and A&B.

    So when the concern for protecting our water rights arose, she didn’t hesitate to defend the rights of kalo farming on Honopou Stream and the streams of East Maui. In 2001, she was one of NHLC’s clients, who stepped up to launch the first formal challenge to water permits then being regularly issued by BLNR each year, as well as to demand the restoration of stream flow by the CWRM. During all of the many hearings and meetings held since then, her quiet nature belied the gentle ferocity with which she persisted in demonstrating her resolve.

    Aunty Marjorie died on April 3, 2010 after a short illness. While she lived to see the CWRM take action to partially restore Honopou, today, her work to implement that decision—to give it meaning—continues through her daughter Lyn Scott.  Attorneys at NHLC have rededicated their efforts to making stream restoration a reality in her memory.


Your donation will enable the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation to provide effective, low cost legal assistance to individuals, families and communities who seek to protect their traditional cultural practices and maintain their ancestral ties to their lands and natural resources.


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