Native Hawaiian Council Applauds Governor-Elect Selection of Hawaiian Homes Chairman


November 29, 2010

Honolulu, Hawaii – Governor-Elect Neil Abercrombie selected Alapaki Nahale-a from Hawaii Island to be the Director of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), and to serve simultaneously as the Chair of the Hawaiian Homes Commission.  Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), a policy advocate and community development organization reacted to the selection.

“This cabinet appointment is one of the most important selections to be made that directly impacts Native Hawaiians,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA President and CEO. “We applaud Governor-Elect Abercrombie.  Mr. Nahale-a is exactly the kind of leader we have been waiting for. He has integrity and a keen understanding of the unique trust relationship DHHL represents.  He knows that he and the Governor, as a function of federal law, the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Administration works for tens of thousands of beneficiaries of the Trust that State government promised in 1959 to uphold.”

CNHA and its Native Hawaiian Policy Center (NHPC) submitted a Transition Memo to the Abercrombie/Schatz team, identifying key policy priorities for the new Administration to consider in the first 100 days, as well as the next four years.  Among the priorities for DHHL, the NHPC recommended a reorganization of the Department by adding a focus to Agricultural and Pastoral homesteading, transparency and solicitation of beneficiary priorities in the development of the DHHL budget, the implementation of a written policy on how lands are distributed for non-homesteading purposes and to publish a list of all land licenses and general leases issued for non-homesteading purposes by the prior Administration over the past eight years.

“We produced six priorities for execution in the first 100 days of the Administration, and an additional ten priorities focused entirely on DHHL,” Danner said.  “For some of us, this is our fourth or fifth Chairman, and for others this is their tenth.  The homestead leaders that contributed to the priorities are certainly subject-matter experts who want to help the administration be successful and to benefit from decades of experience. What’s great about Alapaki Nahale-a is that he’s from the homesteads. He too, knows the challenges of the Trust, and what its goals are in meeting the vision of Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole.

Founded in 2001, CNHA unifies 155 Native Hawaiian Organizations, operating a policy center, a community loan fund, and services that enhance the cultural, economic and community development of Native Hawaiians.  For more information about CNHA please contact us at 808.596.8155, toll free at 800.709.2642, by email at, or visit our website at


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