Five newly elected OHA trustees are officially sworn in
Two are brand new to the board.
Five newly elected Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustees were officially sworn in Tuesday morning. Two are brand new to the board.
OHA says it's moving forward in the spirit of lokahi or unity, a board cohesively working to help Hawaii's indigenous people.
On the grounds of Washington Place, traditional protocol opened the investiture ceremony.
OHA CEO Kamana'opono Crabbe welcomed guests including Lieutenant Governor Josh Green and Hawaii County Mayor Harry Kim.
Brendon Kalei'aina Lee and Kalei Akaka are both first time trustees. Akaka is the granddaughter of late U.S. Senator Daniel Akaka. She hopes to embody his mission.
"Going forward he's been our guiding star. He said such a beautiful example of the value of aloha and working together and reaching across the aisle reaching across the way and coming together for the betterment of our people," Akaka said.
After the ceremony, trustees were showered with lei. Former Miss Universe Brook Mahealani Lee congratulating her brother Kalei'aina, who says he's ready to get to work.
"We can make houses as cheap as we want but if we don't have good paying jobs and they cant afford to pay for that affordable housing then it doesn't really matter so I think that's the biggest thing we need to look at is career paths," Lee said.
Absent from the investiture is former Trustee Rowena Akana who after nearly three decades as trustee lost her bid for re-election. In recent years, discord between trustees and a state ethics investigation involving Akana created frustration among some OHA beneficiaries.
Trustee Dan Ahuna says its time to move forward.
"People were paddling in all different directions... Now we have that platform so now let's open the sails and let's go," Ahuna said.
That messaged echoed by one of OHA's first Trustees Walter Ritte.
"As Hawaiians we need to come together the voters have spoken this is a brand new office of Hawaiian affairs and it's something that we should be using as wine so let's go use them," Ritte said.
Trustees are scheduled to meet in January.