Author Archives: Fiona White

Re-establishment of Ahupua`a Complicated by WESPAC’s Past

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Re-establishment of Ahupua`a Complicated by WESPAC’s Past

Whatever the outcome it is certain that traditional Hawaiian practices require a place in setting laws which govern resource management. “For hundreds of years, Hawaii's natural resources were nurtured and kept alive for future generations by traditional Hawaiian practices. Today we believe that these practices are not being adequately considered in the management of our land and natural resources,” said Representative Mele Carroll.

Molokai Requests Funds To Improve Self-Sufficiency

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

MIS Focus On Matters Of Finance And Legislation

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

MIS Focus On Matters Of Finance And Legislation

A meeting of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) Water Users Advisory Board convened on Thursday, March 22 in order to clarify the water meter moratorium and discuss finances and legislation related to MIS.

Board member Randolph Teruya gave an update on the water meter moratorium, saying that misinformation had accidentally been given to homesteaders.  He clarified that the moratorium only applies to the 1/3rd users of the water irrigation system, which includes the companies MPL and Coffees of Hawaii.

But Martin Kahae, who has a ten year attendance record at the MIS meetings expressed Homesteaders’ concerns over the water moratorium.  Government control of funding ensures that DHHL have ask the legislature for money to build the infrastructure for water lines in homestead lots without meters.  With a self-imposed duty to protect Hawaiian Homestead water, rights to water and resources for future generations, Kahae was there to object to any further contract with MPL. 

Kahae said that the situation was similar to a moratorium in the eyes of Homesteaders as “the government and corporations have a relationship that’s choking ag on Molokai.”

Dissatisfaction with the previous MPL water transmission contract stemmed from the company’s utilization of what the Homesteaders viewed as “our irrigation system.” They believe that the 14in pipe which is meant for the drinking water needs of the Ranch should suffice. 

“Private developers have accounts for whatever they wanna spend money on-all the money they want- but homesteaders are at the mercy of state legislature for funding; we don’t have the clout so we’re just waiting,” said Kahae with frustration.

As the meeting turned to matters of finance and legislation, the Board scrutinized Bill SB1705 which plans to change MIS Water Users Advisory Board into a governing board in July 2050.

The board was well informed on bill 1705 prior to its introduction in the Senate on January 24.  However, the extent of the information contained within the bill remained a mystery.  No formal position had been taken on the bill until the meeting because of a lack of clarity on management accountability and governance powers.

Chairman Adolph Helm commented on the history of the bill, explaining that “the MIS board has a long history of a poor relationship with the department of agriculture.  However, recent measures have ensured that a better relationship is followed.”

In conjunction with MIS advisory board, the Department of Agriculture plans to develop guidelines to improve the irrigation system.  The guidelines will ensure that mechanisms are in place for the recognition of concerns but will also hold the Department of Agriculture accountable at a reasonable and predetermined level.

As members scrutinized bill 1705, the question of finance was raised.  Members expressed concern over the ambiguous language used when referring to the money which would be available for repair and maintenance of the irrigation system. 

“55% of the receipts and revenues collected from user fees…” read one member, scrutinizing the bill.  “What is 55% and how does it relate to MIS?”

“Based on the economics I’ve seen, I wouldn’t touch this with a ten foot pole,” advised Board member Richard Wheeler. 

Allusions were then made on a pending financial and management audit of the Department of Agriculture's operation of the Molokai Irrigation System.  This audit, requested in legislature through House Concurrent Resolution 342, will hopefully lower fees and rates for users of the system by exposing and terminating any diversion of revenues generated by the Molokai irrigation system.

The audit aims to uncover: (1)  The total annual revenues generated from users of the Molokai irrigation system for the last three years;


     (2)  The total annual costs of operation and maintenance of the Molokai irrigation system for the last three years;


     (3)  Anticipated major costs for upkeep of the Molokai irrigation system over the next three years;


     (4)  Any anticipated capital improvement costs that the Molokai irrigation system may require over the next three years;

            5)  What, if any, funds generated from users of the Molokai irrigation system are being diverted by the Department of Agriculture to subsidize other irrigation systems or other Department of Agriculture operations throughout the State;

     (6)  What measures may be implemented to improve the physical facilities and the operations of the Molokai irrigation system; and

     (7)  What measures may be implemented to reduce the cost of irrigation to users of the Molokai irrigation system.


After notification of a request by the Department of Agriculture to defer the bill in writing, James Boswell proposed a motion to take this action and was seconded by Wheeler.

Chairman Helm commented that MIS need to look at the bill and add clarification on their concerns so “when it reappears in legislature next year it can be one which everyone can support.”  He continued by explaining the need to achieve a balance within the system: “The majority of users (of MIS) are Homesteaders.  But 80% of revenues come from non-homesteaders so we wanna make it a win-win situation.  A holistic system is the approach we need to take to ensure the well being of the entire system.”


The next meeting of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) Water Users Advisory Board convenes at 10a.m. on April 19 at the MIS Conference Room, Hoolehua.

A Beautiful Day for an Egg Hunt

Wednesday, April 4th, 2007


John Torres Has Done It Again!

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007

After winning another award for his visionary and striking artwork, Molokai’s local artist John Torres smiled modestly about his prestigious talents. “I never planned to be an artist,” he said with a smile, “it was a lucky mistake.”

This week, Torres won second prize in the Hawaiian Veterans Art Contest, a competition which he has entered for the past five years – and has won prizes for each year. As a Vietnam War veteran, the competition has more significance than the other awards which he has attained.

But war is far from the scene when it comes to subject matter: Torres specializes in portraying everyday details of Hawaiian life. His latest award-winning work “The Kalaupapa Trail” can now be seen in the Molokai Fine Arts Gallery.

Torres began studying art at Waianae High School after his form tutor Mr Allen caught him sketching during class and enrolled him in the art program. Torres was later awarded a scholarship for a summer program at Honolulu Academy of the Arts but was delayed in his studies by a call to war. Years later, he was able to complete Art School at Ventura College in California, which he remembers fondly as having inspirational and talented mentors.

Despite the setback of a serious stroke in 1992, which necessitated a change from right to left handed work, Torres has a diverse range of medium to work with. Critics who debate whether his finest works are in acrylic or oil based paints, woodwork, pastel or inks will soon have more to contemplate. John Torres plans to release his first abstract later this year.

Gateball rocks seniors into action

Thursday, March 29th, 2007

Gateball was invented by Eiji Suzuki in Hokkaido, Japan; Suzuki developed the game as a sport for children, which would require minimal equipment and space in the post-war era. It is played on a rectangular court 20-25 meters long and 15-20 meters wide, with three gates and a goal pole. The game is played by two teams (red and white) of five players. Each player has a red or white numbered ball corresponding to their playing order. Teams score one point for each ball hit through a gate and two points for hitting the goal pole, in accordance with the rules and a game of gateball lasts 30 minutes.

As a large group from the Play And Learn Sessions (PALS) provided rousing music from Hawaiian hymns to traditional children’s songs, Terada spoke with Gladys Brown; co-organizer of the trip and Vice President of the Molokai AARP; in order to leave equipment to set up a Molokai team.

There are currently 15 affiliated members of the World Gateball Union (WGU) and more than 8 million people play gateball worldwide. The appeal of the sport was explained by Nancy Unemori who watched Friday’s tournament. Her simple interest in the game came from a desire “to see something different.” Her interest piqued, Unemori hoped for enough players to create a team.

If you would like more information on joining the Molokai Gateball Team, please contact Gladys Brown on 553 5375.

A True Champion for Molokai’s Entrepreneurs

Thursday, March 29th, 2007


Pauole-Ahukuelo recognized as best in the state

Small businesses are the foundation of the country, creating two out of every three new jobs and accounting for nearly half of America's overall employment. Small businesses are the cornerstone of Molokai and have been helped immeasurably by Annette Pauole-Ahukuelo, Director of the Kuha`o Business Center. Earlier this month, the U.S. Small Business Administration awarded Annette the Maui County Financial Service Champion of the Year.

The Business Center provides the tools with which the Molokai community can attain economic self-sufficiency and empowerment to open their small businesses. With a record of helping over 600 clients since 2004 and immeasurable far-reaching results for the community, Auntie Annette has finally been given the formal recognition she deserves.

“The awards honor the outstanding small businesses that demonstrate excellence and achievement,” said Jane Sawyer, spokesperson for SBA. Sawyer reported that the Kuha`o Business Center flourished after hiring Annette in 2004 due to “a level of dedication (to the community) that the center had not previously seen.” Sawyer mentioned that Annette “revitalized Kuha`o Business Center…and attracted new resources to sustain and build the center.” These efforts included the establishment of a chapter of retired entrepreneurs under the SCORE counseling and mentorship program which provides free business consulting services to clients.

Helped by the Molokai chapter of SCORE, Annette made collaborative efforts to train people in entrepreneurship and to offer specialized workshops ranging from agribusiness to copyright requirements.

Annette also regularly helps clients to figure out their businesses by aiding in the research of business plans, business structure and the operation of their business. Often working late into the night, Annette said that “the hardest part is helping them find the right resources. The Molokai community lacks business resources: we don’t have the big agencies you get in big metropolitan areas.”

Charlene Aquino, branch Manager of the American Savings Bank in Molokai saw the results of Annette’s work and decided to nominate Auntie Annette for the award. Aquino commented that “Ms. Pauole-Ahakuelo’s passion for learning is reflected in her self-education efforts (on) business and financial literacy. She shares this knowledge with the youth as well as the senior citizens, volunteering her time to speak to kupuna and their extended ohana about budgeting, credit restoration, and much more.”

This business-like description almost hides the heart behind the business center, which has not gone unnoticed by Molokai or the SBA. Aquino said that Annette’s “love and aloha for the Moloka’i community is reflected both in and out of the Kuha`o Business Center.” She was echoed by Sawyer, who explained that “the main reason Annette won the award was because of her work with people in the community… She’s always extra helpful and supportive, always willing to help.”

Annette said that she was surprised to win the award. Speaking with emotion, she said “I love my job, helping the Molokai people get ahead… I am exactly where I want to be, it's my calling in life to help the people on Molokai with financial and business education.”

Born and raised on Molokai, Annette Pauole-Ahukuelo remembers her days at Molokai High School with her twin sister, Beverly, as “the best days of our lives.” Back then, the sisters sat together on the student council. Now they both work within the Moore Center and are as close as ever. On April 27, they will walk the red carpet when Annette is honored at the 20th annual Small Business Administration's awards luncheon.

Congratulations Annette! You deserve every bit of praise and recognition.

Children’s Opera Group Stay True To Their Hawaiian Roots

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

The Hawaii Youth Opera Chorus (HCOC) visited Molokai last weekend with six concerts in three days, showing a vibrancy that challenged the stuffy perception of opera lovers. Molokai residents were impressed by the group, which sang a range of traditional Hawaiian songs as well as the western music which they have become renowned for.

Singing at many places such as the Mitchell Paole Center, La'au Day at One Ali`i fishpond and the Kalaiakamanu Hou and Wailua United Churches, thirty children came on the tour of Molokai. Aged from ten to twelve, the singers are part of the Cora ensemble of the youth chorus, one of eight ensembles which are grouped according to age and ability.

The Chorus has over 200 children from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve of all ethnicities and backgrounds. They are offered lessons in music theory and healthy singing techniques, learning through many fun and exercises which Molokai children tried during three workshops at Kualapu`u school. Many experienced the fun of music whilst expanding their musical abilities and learning new songs with the children of Oahu.

Although the children perform many songs from the Pacific, their musical repertoire includes Broadway songs, traditional Western European music, Sacred music, Secular music and music from the many cultures of Hawaii. As well as two songs composed by adult staff members Herb Mahealona Jr and Stacey Mailelauli`i Naki, who visited Molokai on a retreat ten years ago. The children’s performance at MPC included six traditional Hawaiian songs such as “Moloka`i Nui A Hina,” “Ka Paniolo Nui O Moloka`i” and the Filipeno folk song “Ahay Tuburan.”

The children were accompanied on their trip by the adult chorus which celebrate their tenth anniversary this year. The adult, a capella group are named “Kawaiolaonapukanileo,” which means “The Life Giving Waters of Those Who Unite In Song.”

HYOC was founded in 1961 to provide children for the Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT)'s production of La Bohème by Puccinni. Children from the Cantilena and Scelto ensembles have recently taken part in the operas Il Trittico and Tosca, while past HYOC members have been involved in Turandot, La Bohème, Carmen, and Cavalleria Rusticana.

As Hawaii's only kids opera chorus, the company were approached by the state and asked to become responsible for the preservation of Hawaiian choral music. This honour was accompanied by a grant from the State Foundation for Culture and the Arts (SFCA) and the American Masters Grant. The chorus are ideal candidates as they have performed across the globe from Wales to Beijing and are delighted to host this summer's Pacific Rim Children's Chorus Festival.

Despite their busy schedule of performances and travel from Mo`omomi to Halawa, there was enough time left for the children to explore Molokai and work at Keawe Nui, learning about Hawaiian fishponds before heading home. The Cora ensemble was delighted with their first visit to Molokai and HYOC will be welcomed back anytime.

A Plea For Official Recognition Of Helm’s Lifetime Of Work

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

Long before George Helm became a skilled orator, he showed his feelings by singing and playing ukelele.  Helm said that “what we needed was to get Hawaiians active… Music is the easiest way I know because people tune into music.”  The intensity of his lyrics and emotion reached those who were unwilling to listen to any political speeches. 

He explained “the words, the language – pain, revolution; it’s expressing the emotional reaction the Hawaiians are feeling to the subversion of their lifestyle.”

For the past nine years, Ron Perreira has led a campaign to have George Helm’s achievements recognized in a lifetime achievement award by Hawai‘i Academy of Recording Arts (HARA.)   Helm’s power as a leader came from his character, a man who understood the world through music and understood the power of music to the community and the individual.

Dancing Through 39 Year Marriage, Couple Rest On Molokai

Tuesday, March 20th, 2007

Tim and Susie Grabski have spent the past seven years aboard cruise ships but they believe that those ships have no place on Molokai.  Beginning their cruise ship travels as companion, caregiver and official suitcase carrier to Susie's 91 year old mother, the couple have taught ballroom dancing since "an awful dance class experience" aboard a luxury liner drove them into action.

Although they’ll always dance together, the couple have limited their pubic performances on Molokai to demonstrations for friends.  They have danced together for thirty years and prefer to spend their time here quietly pet sitting sick or special needs animals.

The energetic duo has travelled around the world several times, in as little as 30 days (beating Jules Verne’s 50-day record) and has found Molokai the perfect place to be.  They firmly believe that cruise ships would have changed Molokai for the worse and say that “the best way to see Molokai is to come as a couple and spend a few nights here - that is the way to really enjoy it.”