Mo’omomi Management Addresses Concerns
To the Moloka’i People,
I am finally writing on behalf of the many people who have encouraged us to respond to the petition and claims being made against the Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi as managers of Mo’omomi Beach.
Let me first say, it is our policy to follow the path of “pono”, and that includes remembering to conduct ourselves with grace in situations in which we are morally challenged. We will not initiate harmful and negative statements meant to damage the reputation or credibility of a particular named individual. We will not be making unsubstantiated claims, or saying ‘any old wala’au’ that has never been be proven. We will not forget that while we each may have different mana’o, that we live on the same island and should treat each other with respect. I must admit that has been hard to do with all of the accusations and attacks we have heard. But above all, we will not and must not forget that our mission is to restore and sustain the health of the Mo’omomi coastline for all of the Moloka’i islanders, their ‘ohana, and future generations to enjoy.
If you are one who has signed the petition protesting Hui Malama’s management, please consider: Has the petition offered one piece of evidence backing its claim? Or did the petitioner just “talk story”? Many untrue and disparaging things have been said to the unsuspecting people of this island. Many folks who signed the petition contacted us after discovering reasonable doubt, wanting their names removed.
The DHHL, landholders of the Mo’omomi beach area, can and will attest to the fact that since conception of the Hui in 1993, there has been not a single complaint regarding it’s management of Mo’omomi except by the petitioner. Hui Malama’s open and fair policies for pavilion reservations have been, and can still be proven by the calendar which provides a who’s-who record of usage that is very obviously non-preferential. There has been no record of anyone ever being asked to leave the beach premises or denied fishing and gathering privileges, and I will challenge anyone to produce the name of such a person. No “haoles” are coming with grants to close down Mo’omomi (that’s a more recent claim of the petitioner), and our kupuna have not been turned away from the beach (another newer, more catchy claim for those of us who feel outrage at the thought of disrespecting our elders).
Our record shows many, many kupuna who enjoy Mo’omomi Beach. In fact, the Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi By-laws specifically state that fishing in the front bay area is reserved exclusively for children, disabled and elderly, because they need more ease of access. And the beach areas are open to everyone to use on a daily basis, period. Check out the signage in front of Mo’omomi Bay. There are no unreasonable rules.
It is our sincere hope that eventually our detractors will understand the Hawaiian value of “Malama ‘Aina” and the necessary effort we must all become a part of in order to keep what we have. Understanding malama ‘aina, then, means understanding that rules become necessary when there is a large constituency that needs to be served. For best practices in terms of serving every constituent equally, Hui Malama has recognized that we share the “ice box”, so we have asked our members to respect each other with the volume of take, to respect the laws of the land, and to respect the rights of their neighbors to visit this well loved beach. We manage the pavilion usage, but more importantly, we manage the resources of the area. We, along with many other Hui members, saw our coastline heading in the same direction as the rest of Hawai’i’s beaches, and we wanted to begin to protect our ‘aina and kai. From a dusty, dirty, erosion-damaged area with proven declining ocean resources (fish, ‘opihi, etc.) Mo’omomi is now a pristine and healthy area, with comfortable facilities and infrastructure for the enjoyment of its constituents, identified as anybody who wishes to visit the beach; and for pavilion reservations, any homesteader and his/her guests.
These are the highlights of the many years of work and contribution by the Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi members, leaders, and supporters as the managers of a successful community stewardship program. With the help of community members the Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi:
- built pavilions one and two for the use of homesteaders and their guests
- maintains pavilions, recent painting of both
- has a fish tagging and monitoring program for tracking and information
- hosts educational groups from Moloka’i and off-island
- has cleared and cleaned the beaches of the contaminated debris left by the dead whale (months)
- has periodic beach cleaning of flotsam, driftwood and nets that clutter coastal areas
- regularly removes trash bags left by campers and beachgoers and hauls to the dump
- maintains the endangered species and indigenous/ endemic Mo’omomi coastal plant garden
- hosts UH and state scientists and officials studying environmental biota
- has negotiated for the return of Mo’omomi’s historic Kalaina Wawae stone, which was held for the better part of a century in the Bishop Museum basement
- set new roads for better access to fishing areas
- built berms and planted low growing plants to control erosion run-off
- has worked effectively with the neighboring Ranch and Nature Conservancy as needed to meet needs of membership
- built a boat ramp to ease access for fishermen to launch and remove boats
- provided trenching and pipe-laying for potable water to the camping/ beach areas
- maintained and landscaped camping areas
- consistently seeks legislation and stays current with issues that benefit Hawaiian subsistence fishing
- brings awareness to the public about malama ‘aina issues
All of this has taken work, and organization and planning. While we appreciate that people have different mana’o, we would ask those who use petitions as a means to convince others of their argument, to do so with some level of honesty and conclusive evidence. The Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi has proven its intention by the work it has done for the people. The next time a petition comes your way, be sure to ask questions and give it some thought before you accept what may not be accurate or verifiable information.
Na ke Akua e nana mai nei ia kakou a pau. E huli i ke ala kupono.
Karen Kamalu Poepoe
Hui Malama ‘o Mo’omomi