BTR holds largest meeting to date

Informational session brings more support

A week after a public announcement to purchase Molokai Ranch, Buy The Ranch (BTR) organizers held their largest meeting so far. About 200 residents showed up at Kulana `Oiwi on Wednesday, June 11 to learn more about the campaign. Music and grinds were also on the schedule. 

“We are going to explain what BTR is, and hopefully get input from the people,” Karen Holt said. She is the executive director of Molokai Community Service Center (MCSC) and one of BTR’s main articulators.

Vanda Hanakahi explained the many positive translations of Pono, which include the values of beneficial, successful, and accurate, among others.

“Pono begins with human intent,” Hanakahi said, “and it continues with collective human intent.” BTR members have already decided community support is crucial to the plan’s success.

Hanakahi assured the community will benefit. “When we are talking about buying the Ranch back, what we are really doing is returning it to the people,” she said.

“Land is our ohana,” Kauwila Hanchett said. “We cannot disconnect ourselves from the land.”

The BTR movement may be just emerging, but its main articulators are hoping it will reach large proportions. “From small things, big things can happen,” Glenn Teves said.

“What is going on tonight is bigger than buying the Ranch,” Walter Ritte said. “This is about what Molokai always does – providing leadership for the rest of the State to follow.”

Ritte mentioned that unlike the La`au Point development, which have divided Molokai, BTR will bring the community together.

“We know that $200 million is a large amount of money,” Holt said. “We are hoping that every single family in this island will give at least something.”

According to Ritte, full community support will inspire outsiders to help BTR. “If Molokai gives, everybody is going to give,” he said.

Bridget Mowat, in an emotional statement, said she plans to put money in memory of her late husband. Wiping tears away, she cheered the audience: “Let’s go!”

Kammie Purdy said the community in Pupukea, Oahu, when faced with an imminent development, brought up a similar plan. The area which was targeted for development was bought and later designated a State Park.

Communities in the United States and the rest of the world are trying to do the same thing, according to Moke Kim. “We … feel if this is pono, it can be done,” he said. 

BTR ended its biggest meeting so far with local grinds and a special performance from local musician Lono. Meanwhile, several people approached the treasurers and put in their contribution to the campaign.

For more info, visit the MCSC website


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