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Aha Moku Revitalization

Aha Kiole o Molokai News Release

The `Aha Moku began from an ancient Molokai system used on all islands dating from the 9th century as translated from oral histories. Called the `Aha Kiole, this land/ocean resource management system helped each island community maintain its resources through a community consultation process (Kaimikaua).  The konohiki and experts in various disciplines of natural resource knowledge convened regularly in order to assess and deal with needs of the ecosystem.

Today, the system used to manage our resources is a Western approach governed by laws that reach across the state as single purpose. This is very different from the way the `Aha Kiole relied on observations by locals of their own areas, and allowed for adjustments to be made for healthy local ecosystem requirements.

There is concern over the critical depletion of natural resources that has steadily taken place over the last 50 years. So in 2006, Native Hawaiian practitioners across Hawaii, in partnership with the Western Pacific Regional Fisheries Council (Wespac), along with the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Hawaii State Coastal Zone Management, the Hawaii Tourism Authority and the Kamehameha Schools, convened the Ho`ohanohano I Na Kupuna Puwalu Series. The goal was to enable Hawaiians and others to take a more active and supportive role in the management of their natural resources.

After several more “puwalu” conferences over the next three years, practitioners crafted a bill that would reestablish Molokai’s Aha Kiole in a contemporary format for a community consultation process and network across all the islands. The purpose of this bill was to indoctrinate people to revisit indigenous Hawaiian best resource practices and to establish a system whereby state laws would be adjusted to fit the needs of specific ecosystems. This would be based on the recommendations of locals to each area,  recognizing that they know their areas best.

In 2009, a pilot bill (Act 212) was passed that created the Aha Moku Advisory Council.  This bill initiated the process of community based Hawaiian resource management.  The bill was refined and amended to include the Aha Moku Advisory Council within the Department of Land and Natural Resources in the latest version passed in July of 2012 (Act 288).

Island councils are organizing and growing as the people are beginning to see the potential for the Aha Moku System to provide opportunities to empower communities to participate in management approaches specific to their own areas.   As councils on the other islands are organizing, Molokai is at the forefront of the statewide effort, having had an operational council for several years now.

The Aha Kiole o Molokai welcomes all primary residents, 18 years of age or older, to become members of their respective moku districts.


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