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`Aha Kiole Elections Held

Wayde Lee voted as Pala’au Moku leader.

By Catherine Cluett

The community gathered last Thursday night to vote on an `Aha Kiole leader for the moku of Pala’au. Vanda Hanakahi, chair of the statewide `Aha Kiole and representative for Molokai, was not able to be present, but voting proceeded smoothly nonetheless.

Three names appeared on the ballot, along with five leadership criteria established by the `Aha Kiole council and which criteria each candidate met. The candidates were William “Yama” Kaholoa`a Sr., Wayde Lee, and Jossette Mawae-Mollena, all of whom met all the criteria. The ballots were counted by an independent party, and Hanakahi reports that Wayde Lee won the election by the majority vote.

`Aha Kiole is an ancient form of government begun over 1000 years ago. Today, its traditions are being adapted by the community in order to advise the Department of Land and Natural Resources in resource management using traditional practices. The vision of the `Aha Kiole, says Hanakahi, is to “navigate our way back into the current upon which our ancestors traveled with success and wisdom.” Its mission is to strengthen and preserve the cultural and spiritual connection between the resources and the people who use them.

The five criteria laid out by the `Aha Kiole council:

1. Has knowledge handed down generationally regarding fishing, agriculture, land use methodology based on the ‘ahupua`a system, and/or practitioners of Hawaiian cultural arts.
2. Has knowledge of the spiritual connection between natural resources and native Hawaiian values and practices.
3. Must always perform service for the common good of the community, without a personal motive or agenda for self or interest groups.
4. Must be able to adhere to a code of conduct and protocol guidelines established by the `Aha Kiole council and based on the traditional Hawaiian value system.
5. Has the ability to communicate with ‘ike pono: wisdom, insightfulness and respect among ‘ahupua`a constituents, fellow `Aha Kiole members and the governance system.

Molokai is divided into five moku: Pala'au, Kawela, Halawa, Kaluakoi and Koolau. The next moku up for leader elections will be discussed at subsequent public meetings. Hanakahi says it will either be Kawela or Kaluakoi, depending on community interest. More information to follow on upcoming meetings.

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