Question and Answer with Colette Machado

Kau Inoa, Akaka Bill, and purchase of Molokai Ranch discussed.

Incumbent candidate Colette Machado is running for Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) Moloka`i/Lana`i residency. She has over 20 years of service on public boards and commissions including, State Land Use Commission, Hawaiian Homes Lands Commission, Molokai Island Burial Council and Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission. She has served as the OHA Trustee for Molokai-Lanai for 12 years. The Molokai Dispatch had a chance to ask Machado a few questions about her 2008 campaign.

What is the most important issue in this election?
The well being of Native Hawaiian families and communities requires an expanding and sustainable resource base. My priorities would focus on the following: Successful passage of the Akaka Bill, support efforts of Kau Inoa registration for all Hawaiians, support Native Hawaiian rights and entitlements, secure a sovereign land base for our Hawaiian Nation, work with the State of Hawaii to seek an amicable settlement which is fair and equitable for Native Hawaiians.

How have things at OHA been?
The path of OHA has been very bumpy and stressful, but I have managed to weather the frequent storms by focusing on the needs and rights of all native Hawaiians. I have been instrumental in providing a stable and dedicated leadership for OHA and we have accomplished a lot.

What should Molokai residents to keep in mind as they vote?

Over the past 9 years, I have been a leader in the Ke Aupuni Lokahi Enterprise Community (KAL/EC) which spearheaded 25 community-based economic development projects with over $40 million.

Vocal opposition targeted the development of the 200 two-acre lots. This placed the Master Plan on hold. Facing annual loses, Molokai Ranch closed.

The controversy surrounding Molokai Ranch should not overshadow the impressive accomplishments of the KAL/EC or my leadership.

It is vital for our community to find the courage and compassion to overcome our differences and work together to heal our community and create new opportunities for our families.

What plan for the future would you bring to the table as OHA Trustee to help Molokai residents through this tough economic period?
At OHA, the Trustees' creation of a Land Management Hale and our recent acquisitions are acknowledged as important achievements not only for OHA, but for Hawaiians and all the people of Hawaii.

In our approach of land acquisition, at OHA we always have to acknowledge that our overall kuleana for Hawaiians is immense, our resources are small by comparison, and Land acquisition and management is only one of many responsibilities we have. Because of that, we always seek and need to partner – which is how we were able to acquire Wao Kele O Puna and Waimea Valley.

In that light, OHA could not on its own acquire Molokai Ranch, but we could play an important contributory role in the acquisition of the Ranch.

OHA has also been pursuing acquisition, in partnership, of other significant lands. On O`ahu, the 2100 acre Galbraith Estate prime agricultural lands are also part of Kukaniloko, a place considered by many to be the piko of Oahu; OHA has been working with the Legislature, the Trust for Public Land, and other groups to protect and acquire those lands.

In Maui County, OHA for years has expressed a willingness before the County Council to partner with the County in the acquisition of watersheds of N? Wahi `Eh? to ensure year round mauka to makai stream flow and permanent stewardship of the watersheds that generate these flows.

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