OHA Grant Expands Native Lands Program (HI)

HONOLULU, HI, 5/1/2008: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) announced today that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) has generously awarded start-up funding to create a new position at TPL dedicated to working with underserved Hawaiian communities to protect lands of cultural or historic value. The Hawaiian communities that are the focus of this grant are located on the Leeward and Windward coasts of O’ahu, and the islands of Hawai’i, Kaua’i, Lana’i, which have smaller or less established local land trusts.

A major goal of TPL’s Hawaiian Islands Program in 2008 is to expand its Native Lands Program in Hawai’i to rekindle a uniquely Hawaiian sense of place and to foster a reconnection between people and the land. TPL’s Native Lands Program works, at the request of native organizations and communities, to preserve and promote the unique land-based cultures of native peoples. By protecting sites of traditional value, ensuring public access to the land, and often placing property directly under native stewardship, TPL helps native communities preserve their spiritual, cultural and economic relationship to the land.

Working with private landowners, communities, government agencies, and native organizations, TPL has helped protect more than 2 million acres nationwide, including 190,000 acres of native lands. In Hawai’i, TPL has protected over 36,000 acres. In 2006, TPL worked with OHA and other community partners to protect Wao Kele o Puna on Hawai’i Island and Waimea Valley on O’ahu.

Currently, TPL Hawai’i is supporting the Governor’s initiative to preserve Turtle Bay. TPL is also working to protect 2,100 acres of prime agriculture land owned by the Galbraith Estate in Central O’ahu; and the 3,500 acre Honouliuli Preserve, located at the top of the east Wai’anae Mountain Range above Makakilo and Kunia. Additionally, the organization is providing technical assistance to the County of Hawai’i to protect 550 acres of coastal land at Kawa bay in Ka’u, and assisting MA’O Farm in Wai’anae in acquiring 11 acres of agricultural land.

The Trust For Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization founded in 1972 to conserve land for people. In Hawai’i, TPL works side by side with land trusts, community groups and public agencies to protect lands important to the people of Hawai’i.