A Call to Organize

`Aha Ki`ole surveys island

Molokai’s `Aha Ki`ole is beginning to stimulate island participation for its core values: protecting and preserving the island’s resources.

The organization’s po`o alaka`i (executive board) announced they are beginning a registration drive for all residents 18 years of age or older, who have lived on Molokai for two or more years.

“We are much stronger as a whole unit speaking out, than we are as smaller parts,” said Karen Poepoe, one of the organization’s po`o alaka`i.

A Big Issue
Their first act of community service was to take a survey of registered residents on an issue that is undeniably on people’s minds: windmill development on Molokai.

“There are some fears that this is inevitable, that eminent domain is inevitable,” Poepoe said. “We want to know either way what [the community] wants in their hearts.”

The survey took place at each moku, or district, from March 8 to March 15. Poepoe said they will have someone at the Queen Lili`uokalani Children’s Center review and compile the results soon.

`Aha Ki`ole will also have a booth at the Prince Kuhio Day celebrations on March 26 at Kiowa Park (Coconut Grove) for their registration drive.

“This is a major move to organize everyone on Molokai; to know they’re a part of their moku, and that they have a voice,” said po`o alaka`i Opu`ulani Albino.

Modern Tradition
The `Aha Ki`ole is a statewide organization tasked with returning part of the islands’ land management back to traditional, ancestral resource management.

“The management of the resources in this state has gotten to a point that the resources are critically damaged,” said Molokai `Aha Ki`ole leader Vanda Hanakahi. She is also the `Aha Ki`ole leader for the entire state.

“The major reason is that the state’s budget doesn’t provide for what’s needed.”

The `aha ki`ole system was the form of governance on Molokai for hundreds of years, according to Hanakahi. While other islands were overtaken by Kamehameha V and began using the ali`i system, Molokai remained steadfast using the moku system.

“You don’t have to be Hawaiian to [register], but this is based on the Hawaiian people that took good care of the `aina…the best practices of the Hawaiian people,” Hanakahi said.

“The past is our perspective,” Albino added. “Through that lens we have a lot of answers.”

Registration continues across the island; contact your local moku representative for information.

Molokai’s Moku Represenatives
Ko`olau – Ruth Manu and Judy Caparida
Halawa – Pilipo Solatorio
Mana`e – Bronson Kalipi
Kawela (including Kaunakakai) – Merv Dudoit
Pala`au (including Kualapu`u, Ho`olehua, Kalae, Kalamaula, Mahana) – Wayde Lee
Maunaloa – Byron Espaniola


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