The Resilient Hawaiian Communities (RHC) initiative was a two-year effort with the goal of strengthening the resilience of two Native Hawaiian communities to the effects of environmental change and variability. This initiative was funded by the U.S. Department of the Interior and co-led by staff from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior’s Office of Native Hawaiian Relations, National Park Service Pacific Islands Office, and Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the University of Hawai’i Mānoa. The two communities that participated in the RHC Initiative are the Kailapa Community Association on leeward Hawaiʻi Island and Waiehu Kou Phase III Association on windward Maui. Both communities used a variety of approaches, including huakaʻi (field trips and site visits), to engage their residents, surrounding landowners, and other interested parties throughout 2018. At the end of the initiative, they produced written community resilience plans that provide roadmaps for future adaptation activities.
Participants of the Resilient Hawaiian Communities (RHC) initiative community resilience planning process for Kailapa included the Kailapa Community Association (KCA) Executive Director Diane Makaʻala Kānealiʻi, co-liaison Jordan Hollister, Aric Arakaki of the Ala Kahakai National Historic Trails, the KCA board of directors, the community at large, invited subject matter experts, and other partners throughout South Kohala and West Hawai’i.
Waiehu Kou III initiated the planning process by assembling a core team of volunteers consisting of four members. The team was led by Daniel Ornellas, Vice President of the Waiehu Kou III Homestead Association. With a background in urban and regional planning, Ornellas coordinated the approach to the project, which focused on community engagement, and served as the liaison between the community and RHC project management team. Kekai Robinson, with a strong background in Native Hawaiian culture and traditions, supported the process by laying out necessary traditional and cultural foundations necessary for effective community engagement in a Native Hawaiian context. Kanani Kan Hai brought to the table significant experience in community education initiatives and facilitated the planning effort with logistical support. Roy Olivera, current President of the Waiehu Kou III Homestead Association, provided guidance and project oversight for the team.
The RHC initiative co-leads were Deanna Spooner (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service), Melia Lane-Kamahele (National Park Service,) Stanton Enomoto (DOI Office of Native Hawaiian Relations), and Kapua Sproat (University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Richardson School of Law, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law). Project management was provided by Rebecca Soon, Paula MacCutcheon, and Kaʻala Souza of Solutions Pacific. Sean Aronson (Ka Huli Ao) and Wendy Miles (East-West Center) provided legal, scientific, and other technical support.
In addition to the co-leads and project management team, 18 eminent experts participated on the RHC Working Group throughout the life of the project. These included individuals in the fields of Native Hawaiian culture, governance, and law; the sciences; and natural resource management. They represented more than 15 agencies, organizations, and academic institutions including Federal, State, and Local governments, Native Hawaiian organizations, and the University of Hawaiʻi. Many more subject matter experts donated their time and expertise to the communities in a series of workshops and huakaʻi. Mahalo nui loa to all of these invaluable partners.
The title of Kailapa’s resilience plan - ʻEhu ʻEhu I Ka Pono (To Thrive in Balance) - is the bedrock aspiration of our community and our central vision for any planning effort. Following are key excerpts from the plan.
Mālama ʻĀina - Resource Management. Focused on land use, freshwater access, and stewardship of our ocean resources.
Noho Kūʻokoʻa - Self- Sufficiency. Focused on water, land use, and economic development.
Laulima - Community Cohesiveness. Focused on leadership, relational support, growth, and community interaction.
At the outset of the RHC project, KCA members considered how best to address these value statements in the KCRP and beyond. The community participated in setting out its vision for a resilient future and assess which actions would take us there. While more than a dozen areas of concern were considered, three priority areas consistently emerged through both formal and informal discussions: wai, ‘āina, and kanaka.
First is wai, our fresh water, both potable and non-potable. If our freshwater supply is ever negatively impacted the result would be devastating. We must ensure that our wai is secure to have any hope for resiliency in our community.
Goals: Secure freshwater Source(s) for the community of Kailapa. Establish Water Infrastructure. Affordable Freshwater. Beneficiary-led and Managed Water System. Sustainable Water Stewardship.
Secondly, is ‘āina, our land. We recognize that when we take care of the land the land takes care of us. Proper thinking, acting, and interacting with our land provides a place and a base to build a foundation of resiliency. Proper land use can provide an abundance of food and economic opportunity.
Goals: Re-connecting to the ʻāina. Protecting the ʻāina. Adaptive Reuse of the ʻāina.
Our third priority area is kānaka, our people, our community members. There can be no resilient community if there is no community. As our people grow and develop, as our relationships are strengthened, our capacity for resiliency increases. When there is harmony within each person and between each person, the ‘āina, and the wai, we believe there is harmony in the community, and there exists true thriving in balance.
Goals: Community Capacity Building. Improved Quality of Life.
The Kailapa Community Resilience Plan sets forth a vision of how we will move forward as we build this ahupua‘a for the generations to come. But we know our work is far from over, in fact it is really just beginning. This plan is designed to keep evolving through time. Adaptation is a continuous process that is evident in the world around us. Thus, this plan will also adapt through time, but always with the goal of future generations reaping the benefit of our efforts and achieving a truly resilient and self-sustaining Hawaiian community.
To learn more about partnering with the community of Kailapa, please contact Diane Makaʻala Kānealiʻi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
A resilient Hawaiian community, in light of climate change, is one that has the ability to makaʻala, to see the path that lay ahead and to have the capacity to effectively deal with crisis as it may occur. Furthermore, we envision a resilient Hawaiian community to be one that has access to the basic means of production, namely land, water and a source of energy while maintaining a low carbon footprint. This includes the established right to access and exercise traditional and customary practices in balance with use of modern technology.
The following planning principles served as a foundation to guide process
implementation and decision making in order to improve strategy development leading toward the collective resiliency of our community:
Following the process below facilitates the adaptive capacity of a community defined as improving “the potential, capability, or ability of built, natural, and human systems to adapt to impacts of climate change and variability with minimal potential damage or cost.”
Traditional and customary protocol was used to set the tone for each of our events in order to recognize the importance of our natural resource areas and sacred spaces within our community. Purposeful research and thought went into planning each huakaʻi. The moon calendar was reviewed to identify appropriate plantings, hoʻokupu were prepared and appropriate oli were either selected or composed to honor the purpose and intent of each day’s journey.
Strategy #1: Advocate and Facilitate Drainage Way System Improvements
Goal: Ensure effective conveyance of storm water
|Project Objective||Activity||Time Frame|
|Improve conveyance of storm water|
Coordinate with Central Maui SWCD and DOH to include Waiehu into existing West Maui Watershed Management Plan (Waiehu is bisected by both West and Central SWCD boundaries)
Advocate for improvements as needed
Monitor storm events and develop information to determine if existing drainage and culverts have the capacity to handle storm flow rates.
Communicate concerns to responsible parties (landowner / County)
Inspect drainage ways and culverts to determine necessary improvements
|Year 1 to 5|
|Reduce soil erosion||Partner with land owners to remove woody vegetation along drainage ways (e.g. albizia trees, haole koa)||Year 1 to 3|
|Reduce invasive species||Partner with land owner to remove invasive species and replace with natives||Year 1 to 3|
|Increase participation||Institute tax incentives for property owners to establish conservation easements to be maintained as a green way for public access and stewardship purposes.||Year 3 to 5|
|Manage growth||Advocate at the County Council to institute setback rules to allow for inspection, maintenance, repair and natural evolution of drainage ways over time.||Year 3 to 5|
|Improve enforcement of poor land management practices|
Advocate enforcement of SMA / CZM rules and HRS 46.5 regulations
Utilize the environmental court to prosecute offenders
|Year 1 to 5|
|Improve near-shore water quality by reducing the intrusion of fine sediments from mauka|
Plan, Design and Construct sedimentation basin along Kope gulch at Round Table
Sources of Funding: USDA, NRCS PL-566 for protection of life and property and EPA 319 to improve water quality
Years 5 to 10 for planning and design
Years 10-20 for construction and begin operation
Strategy #2: Prudent Land Use and Management of Vacant Hawaiian Home Lands
Goal: Reduce Fuel Load for Wild Fire and Increase Highest and Best Use of Vacant Lands
|Project Objective||Activity||Time Frame|
|Obtain land use entitlements||Conduct feasibility study and environmental assessment for proposed community garden and passive recreation area. Apply for community license.||Year 1 to 3|
|Increase Capacity to Engage in Active Land Management|
Acquire Equipment: Mini-Ex, Skip Steer with Attachments, Backhoe
Construct staging and storage area
Conduct Training – Obtain licensing, insurance and certifications as needed
Establish codes of conduct, rules, management agreements as needed
|Year 1 to 3|
|Reduce Fuel Load||Implement fire wise program clear overgrown vegetation, install fencing, implement grazing program||Year 1 to 3|
|Increase Food security||Design, construct and operate proposed community garden||Year 1 to 3|
|Establish perpetual access to water||Implement DHHL reservation for ground and surface water sources||Year 3 to 5|
To learn more about partnering with the community of Waiehu Kou III, please contact Daniel Ornellas at email@example.com.