2016 Television Spot

Apoliona for OHA 2016 from Blaine Fergerstrom on Vimeo.

Civil Beat Candidate Survey: Haunani Apoliona

Candidate Q&A: Office Of Hawaiian Affairs At-Large — Haunani Apoliona


Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Aug. 13 primary election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions.

The following came from Haunani Apoliona, a candidate for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee at-large position. There are six other candidates, including Daniel Anthony, Kelii Akina, Douglas Crum, Leona Kalima, Kealii Makekau and Paul Mossman.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the Primary Election Ballot.

Haunani Apoliona

Haunani Apoliona

Name:  Haunani Apoliona

Office Seeking: Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee  at large 

Occupation: Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Community Organizations/prior offices held: Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs since 1996, OHA chairperson 2000-2001 and 2002-2010; OHA Resource Management vice-chairperson 2015 to present; OHA vice-chairperson, 1997-1998; ALU LIKE, president/CEO, 1991-1997, operations director, 1989-1990, Oahu Island Center administrator, 1982-1987, counselor employment and training, intake placement, community specialist positions, 1978-1982; National Museum of the American Indian; Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum; Nature Conservancy; Queen Emma Foundation; Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu; Queen Liliʻuokalani Children’s Center Advisory; Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce

Place of residence: Waahila

Campaign websitewww.apoliona.org

1. This year has seen an outsized influence from people who want big changes in how government is run. What would you do to change how OHA is run?

First, The Hawaii State Constitution Article XII, Sections 5 & 6 affirms OHAʻs mandates, powers and duties. Second, the Statutory powers and duties for OHA in HRS Chapter 10 identifies it as “a separate entity independent of the executive branch” and otherwise acts as a trustee as provided by law. 

Breach of fiduciary trust duties are sanctioned by Trustees and warrant recall by Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. 

To date, OHA prepared the foundation which ensures Native Hawaiian perpetuation of natural resources, self-sufficiency, recognition and support nationally and globally, e.g. increased income and proceeds for OHA via Act 34, Act 178; established OHA Washington D.C. Bureau to advocate N.H. interests  nationally with informed networks; acquired Wao Kele O Puna, Waimea Valley, in perpetuity; protected Na Wai EhA, public trust; returned Kalaniopuu Cape, provided substantial grant funds to Hawaiian agencies and beneficiaries and much, much more.    

For 2016, accountability for N.H.s includes: Public Land Trust Strategy Fund; CEO Fiscal Sustainability Plan; Strategic Plan updates (i.e. Land and Property Holdings, LLCs); N.H. Self-Determination efforts; and Co-Trusteeship of Papahanaumokuakea to ensure Native Hawaiians and Hawaii are  recognized and protected.

2. Hawaii has long been dominated by the Democratic Party establishment. Should this change, and if so, how?

Political party domination grows over scores of years with control over multiple factors. You are asking for a strategy that more than one political party has attempted to design and accomplish for decades. Certainly, there should be respectful adversarial political positions represented by honest, ethical elected officials and the electorate. However, the current political climate is no longer respectful nor completely honest or ethical. 

Based upon media coverage people perceive that in Congress legislation to properly address the critical issues is deferred or stonewalled or somehow neutralized. It appears that the right or “pono” thing to do is no longer the primary priority. Instead, how to make the other party look bad is the focus and intent of action or inaction on national legislation.

Unfortunately, misinformation in excessive coverage by the media increasingly dupes the ill-informed citizens to believe dishonest statements by public figures. The root of the problem is far deeper than party affiliation. It is an absence of “core values” which are modeled by family members, mentors , favorite public figures who work in “service and not self-service” and others in the existing “broken” socio-economic environment. There is no easy solution today.

3. Would you support eliminating Hawaii’s high fees for access to public records when the request is in the public interest?

A claim of “in the public interest” is extremely important as a measure for transparency and accountability to the community at large. If access to pubic records will provide information that is essential and that will be used responsibly and not for financial, political or other business and personal gain the fee for access should not be exorbitant. Conversely, there should be a significant fine or penalty when misuse or abuse of such access occurs.

4. Voters complain their elected officials don’t listen to them. What would you do to improve communication? 

Annually, OHA trustees convene community meetings the night before each neighbor island meeting, as a basic practice. There should be additional opportunities for trustee discussions, especially with neighbor island citizens. Therefore, OHA, by policy, should require each island trustee to hold a meeting with beneficiaries on his/her island at least once in each quarter or semi-annually during the year  to “listen” to their concerns. As a follow-up of each neighbor island community meeting the trustee should issue an open letter summarizing concerns raised, the action taken, if needed, and additional information requested by our beneficiary participants.

The OHA CEO would ensure that highlights of the neighbor island quarterly or semi-annual meetings are regularly reflected in brief within the Ka Wai Ola for all Hawaii. All trustees without excuses should consistently publish their trustee column in the Ka Wai Ola monthly. Thus far, it has been sporadic. OHAʻs consistent practice to stream “live” all neighbor island community and board meetings, statewide along with all Oahu-based standing committee and Board of Trustee meetings, statewide as well, have and will further improve communications. 

5. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your district? What will you do about it? 

There are numerous issues of concern like homelessness and the plight of the diminishing “middle class.” Numerous pressing issues include the health and well being of individuals, families, households, neighborhoods, communities, jurisdictions, districts, counties, the State of Hawaii and the “state of Hawaii” being impacted internationally and globally.

A timely example is President Obama’s expected expansion of Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in the Northwest Hawaiian Islands. “On (Thursday), May 26, 2016 the OHA – Board of Trustees passed an action by majority vote to conditionally support the proposed expansion of PMNP provided that 1. OHA is elevated to a Co-Trustee position; 2. The cultural significance of the expansion area to Native Hawaiians is recognized; and 3. There is no boundary expansion southeast towards the islands of Niihau and Kauai.” “The proposed boundary expansion provides an opportunity to correct a flaw in the co-management structure for PMNM and ensure that the Native Hawaiian interests are represented at every level of policy and decision making. As significant expansion of the monumentʻs is being considered, it is even more important to ensure that the Native Hawaiian voice is appropriately represented at all levels of co-management for the kupuna islands.”

6. Is OHA fulfilling its mandate to serve the Hawaiian people?

Yes, OHA is performing its mandate, but not enough is being done due to internal and external barriers such as: limited OHA resources; costs of threatened and actual litigation; weak support by Congress of Native Hawaiian issues; lack of readiness for common resolutions by some community leaders or groups; need for improved communication methods and means for disseminating accurate information and facts to leaders and the public; need for increased scholarships, grants and training of potential youth/communities; etc.

More is being done each day to fulfill OHA’s mandate, mission and vision for Native Hawaiians and Hawaii in the global context, as well.

7. What are your views regarding Hawaiian independence?

The nation building strategy initiated in 2015 by Native Hawaiians appeared headed for the election of delegates and the convening of an ‘Aha (Native Hawaiian convention).  The ongoing pursuit of nation building was forced to redirect its efforts due to litigation filed by the Grassroot Institute and two additional Native Hawaiians in federal court (case of Akina v Hawaii) to halt the planned convention. Ironically or maybe not, two of the three Native Hawaiian litigants suing OHA (Akina and Makekau) are now seeking election to the OHA Board of Trustees in 2016. A draft of the Native Hawaiian constitution and referendum remains a work in progress. As a current OHA trustee I am committed to OHA’s majority-approved position. However, as a re-elected trustee, I am committed to refining existing strategies consistent with additional input we seek from the majority of Native Hawaiians.

8. Are you satisfied with the way OHA has negotiated with the state over ceded-land revenues?

From the creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs by the state constitutional amendment in 1978, OHA and the state of Hawaii have disagreed over what portion of the income and proceeds from the public land trust should be transferred to OHA.

The year 1993 secured a partial settlement. State of Hawaii Judiciary impacted 1996-2000 OHA negatively, by the legislative and executive branches diminishing OHA revenues. In 2000 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Rice v Cayetano, 2001 Court overturned Heely decision on OHA revenues. In 2001, Cayetano stops all OHA payments. In 2003, new governor reinstates the undisputed OHA payments, discussions renew on past-due Public Land Trust payments. Act 178  (2006) codifies annual payments along with  $17.5 million through E.O. In 2012, new governor transfers 9 parcels of approximately 30 acres (Kakaako Makai) to OHA. On deck next is, HCR No. 188, 2016, “Urging the convening of a public land trust revenue negotiating Committee.” In the future, it would be the responsibility of elected leaders of the Native Hawaiian governing entity to renegotiate or litigate the ceded lands revenues matter for all Native Hawaiians.

9. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails? What can be done about it?

“The disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on Native Hawaiians accumulates at each stage. Native Hawaiians are more likely to receive a sentence of incarceration over probation.” (2010 Report The Disparate Treatment of Native Hawaiians in the Criminal Justice System, produced by OHA, in collaboration with UH Manoa, Justice Policy Institute and Georgetown University). In order to better delineate future policy decisions relating to Native Hawaiians in the criminal justice system, “The State needs to identify what data needs to be collected at different points in the system, improve data integration, and improve data infrastructure amongst state agencies. Further study, including additional control variables, would provide a richer understanding of why N.H,’s remain disproportionately represented …..”.

Correctional institutions with ongoing efforts toward education and training inmates for viable jobs and for strengthening their self-image have had some positive results in reducing recidivism. However, earlier intervention in training and modeling of Native Hawaiian values and practices for Native Hawaiian youth and families should be of highest priority with greater positive impact on lifestyles. The outcome would be reduction in delinquency and crimes as well as totally avoiding entry into the criminal justice system.

E Hoʻokanaka, Be a person of worth.

10. Do you support the construction of the TMT telescope atop Mauna Kea?

OHA’s Board of Trustees has approved the following position regarding the TMT telescope atop Mauna Kea: “The Board of Trustees rescinds its support of the selection of Maunakea, Hawaiʻi, as the site for the proposed Thirty-Meter Telescope Project.”

Until further action is taken by OHA, Native Hawaiians and the community at large await the testimony, legal briefs, hearings and court rulings, and trustee deliberations.

As a current trustee, it would be inappropriate for me to take any position other than that of the majority-approved one. As a re-elected trustee, I am committed to reassessing and refining OHA’s position consistent with additional input from the majority of the Native Hawaiian community.

Apoliona for OHA 2016 Radio Spots

Haunani Apoliona Radio 30 General 1

Haunani Apoliona Radio 30 General 2

Haunani Apoliona Radio 30 General 3

Haunani Apoliona Radio 30 General Maui

Star-Advertiser Candidate Survey

Haunani Apoliona

Full Name: Suzanne Haunani Apoliona

Name on Ballot: Haunani Apoliona

District: Office of Hawaiian Affairs trustee at large

Age: 67

Current Job: Trustee, Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Place of birth: Kalaepohaku

Campaign website: www.apoliona.org

Job history past 10 years:

OHA trustee: 1996 to present, OHA chairwoman 2000-2010, OHA vice chairwoman 1997, OHA Resource Management Committee vice chairwoman 2015 to present. ALU LIKE Inc.: 1978 to 1997 (employment and training counselor0, intake placement specialist, community specialist, Oʻahu Island Center Administrator, Planner Health and Social Services, Program Operations Director), ALU LIKE President/CEO 1991-1997.

Ever run for public office? If so, when? Outcome?

Aloha e nā kamaāina a me nā malihini o Hawaiʻi nei.Ae. Yes, I was elected trustee at-large for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for the first time in November 1996.

Since then, I have been re-elected 4 additional times. I now humbly seek re-election for 2016-2020. Mahalo nui for your support.

Other civic experience or community service?

Queen Emma Foundation, Queen Liliʻuokalani Childrenʻs Center, Nature Conservancy, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum, National Museum of the American Indian, Hawaiian Civic Club of Honolulu, Hongpa Hongwanji Living Treasure, Hawaiian Music Hall of Fame Lifetime Achievement, Maryknoll H.S. Lifetime Achievement, UH Distinguished Alumni, Native Hawaiian Chamber, National Association of Social Workers.

Anything else you’d like voters to know about you?

My dad Eugene Apoliona (Liliha) attended St. Louis, my mom Anne Grote Apoliona, (Koʻolaupoko, Kāneʻohe) attended Sacred Hearts Academy. Education was supported. Completion of higher education by my brother, sister and me, was essential and expected. Hawaiʻi is and always will be “HOME” (kuʻu kulaʻiwi).

What makes you qualified to be a trustee of OHA?

Kuleana, disciplined, fair and ethical treatment of self and others to achieve priorities individually and collectively, instilled by my parents, guided my education of 20 years, my 20 years of nonprofit, statewide work with ALU LIKE, and my 20 years of “ELECTED” public service to OHA for Native Hawaiians.

What are your top five priorities for OHA?

Five Priorities Include: OHA CEO Fiscal Sustainability Plan 2016, OHA Strategic Plan For 2016 -2020 (inclusive of Land and Property Holdings along with LLCs), 2016 OHA Income and Proceeds of the Public Land Trust Strategy, Native Hawaiian Self-Determination, and 2016 OHA Co-Trusteeship of Papahānaumokuākea National Marine Monument.

What is your one big idea?

To build upon family and community strengths, expand methods, resources, strategies and programs that will transform and offset current societal directions of materialistic priorities, self-importance and self-interest to embrace and respect cultural values and ethical practices in life style and socioeconomic, environmental matters.

Why are you running for trustee?

My purpose and professional commitment has been and still is about empowering Native Hawaiians and strengthening Hawaiʻi. Four decades of experience, trust and credibility that I have established with beneficiaries and all Hawaiʻi supports OHA in contributing to an overall environment where Native Hawaiians advance opportunity to thrive.

Gov. David Ige has said residential development should not be allowed on the Kakaako Makai lands that were turned over to OHA by the state. How do you believe those lands should be used or developed?

OHA Kakaʻako Makai planning continues. If state and county plans can satisfy O`ahuʻs housing concerns upon which OHAʻs initial plans are focused, OHA could enable vertical integration of mechanisms and expertise to address Pacific region and global methods as as a means for impacting World Peace.

ILWU Endorses Apoliona for OHA 2016

Ka Wai Ola Candidate Survey 2016

July 2016 Ka Wai Ola cover



Opportunity must be aligned with a community readiness commited to achieve accountable outcomes for positive change to occur.

Physical, mental and spiritual health of our Lahui, tested over time by diverse issues, stifled collaborative solutions for common concerns.

Opportunities exist now for identified and willing Native Hawaiian leaders and collective people power, resources and a shared commitment to solutions to entice Native Hawaiian leaders

of two major land preservation trusts — Kamehameha Schools and The Nature Conservancy (Hawai’i) to collaborate with Native Hawaiians in implementing an environmental strategic plan for Hawaiian lands guiding generations to come.

Opportunities exist now for OHA scholarships, educational/ community development grants to expand mentoring of leader and worker skills in planning and implementing community and nation building capabilities for state, national and global impact.

Opportunities await our collaborative attention.

Readiness in communities, with OHA collaborating, is the key.



The nation building strategy initiated in 2015 by Native Hawaiians appeared headed for the election of delegates and convening of an ʻAha (Native Hawaiian Convention). The ongoing pursuit of nation building was forced to strategically redirect its efforts due to litigation filed by the “Grass Roots Institute” and two additional Native Hawaiians in Federal Court to halt the planned Convention. Ironically, two of the three Native Hawaiian litigants suing OHA are now running for election to OHA in 2016. A draft Constitution and Referendum by registered Native Hawaiians are planned and nation building remains a work in progress.

As a current OHA Trustee I am committed to OHA’s majority-approved position. However, as a re-elected Trustee I am committed to refining existing strategies consistent with additional input we seek from the majority of Native Hawaiians.


Native Hawaiian ancestors foresaw the role of our Lāhui to ensure survival of our cultural values by enabling mutual respect and peaceful collaboration among nations (and cultures) of the world. Native leaders dispatched to other global communities engaged and learned skills in readiness for impacting Hawaiʻiʻs future.

Modern technology enables Native Hawaiians to witness peoples and cultures without even leaving Hawaiʻi yet understand that person-to-person contact is the preferred medium of communication.

PVS’s Hokule’a world voyage (supported by OHA) is a critical base from which Hawai’i’s impact on island nations and global survival is crucial.

OHA’s decade role with Papahanaumokuakea and its global status is a catalyst for expeditiously investigating the rising ocean tides issue which gravely affects Hawaiʻi and Pacific archipelagos and adds cultivation of marine resources (on land and in ocean) critical to the lifelines of island nations globally.

The East-West Center and the UH Matsunaga Peace Institute provide Native Hawaiians (and Pacific islanders) an institutional arena for mediation centers to address resolving differences/disputes among island nations and global countries.

League of Women Voters 2016 Election Guide

Haunani Apoliona

Office Running For:
Office of Hawaiian Affairs, At-Large

Public Administration Certificate,1989 Masters Social Work (MSW): 1974 to 1976; Double Bachelors (Sociology and Liberal Arts –Hawaiian Studies)1968-1974, Maryknoll 1967
Community Service
OHA: 1996 to present, OHA Chairperson 2000-2010. ALU LIKE, Inc.: 1978 through 1997, served as ALU LIKE President and Chief Executive Officer 1991 until 1997.
Web Site
Please provide a brief Candidate Statement (250 words or less).
Aloha e nā kamaʻāina a me nā malihini mai ka mokupuni a Keawe a hiki i ka `āina o Kahelelani a Papahanaumokuākea. ʻO wau no o Haunani Apoliona, he ʻōiwi Hawaiʻi, hānau wau ma Oʻahu nei. Aloha to all, statewide, I am Haunani Apoliona and I am running for my 6th term as OHA Trustee-At-Large. I served as OHAʻs Board Chairperson from 2000-2010 and am OHAʻs longest serving Chairperson thus far. My father, Eugene Apoliona grew up in Liliha, Oʻahu and attended Saint Louis College. My mother, Anne Meta Grote was born and raised in Koʻolaupoko, Kāneʻohe and attended Sacred Hearts Academy. My parents raised their three children at Ka Lae Pohaku, our ʻāina hānau (homeland). Education was important to our parents and completion of higher education by my brother, sister and me, was supported and expected. My mom and dad modeled for us sound family values, “respect for elders and kuleana, honesty, fair and ethical treatment of self and others, working hard with sense of discipline and discernment to achieve priorities, individually and collectively, internally and externally, for peace.” Native Hawaiians and all of Hawaiʻi, from Papahānaumokuakea in the north to Loihi in the south, are crucial to lōkahi, striving for balance and well being. For me, Hawaiʻi has been, is and always will be “home”, “Hawaiʻi no ia, kuʻu one hānau”. Me ka mahalo a nui.

Why are you running for this office?
1) There exists urgent ongoing business for the OHA Trust and our beneficiaries that must be addressed: The 2016 State Legislature enacted HCR 188 (House Concurrent Resolution: Urging The Convening Of A Public Land Trust Revenues Negotiating Committee) placed within the Office of the Governor with a Committee comprised of Governor, Senate President, House Speaker, and OHA Chairperson for the purpose of resolving the matter of the income and proceeds from the public land trust that the Office of Hawaiian Affairs shall receive annually under the State Constitution and other state law. My service tenure, knowledge and previous OHA leadership as Chair (2000-2010) will provide substantial and critical insight to Trustee deliberations. 2) Native Hawaiian self-determination remains a work in progress, yet is essential for the future of not only Native Hawaiians but all of Hawaiiʻi. As a current Trustee I am committed to OHAʻs majority-approved position. However. as a re-elected Trustee I am committed to refining existing strategies consistent with additional input we seek from the majority of Native Hawaiians. These matters and more guide my running for OHA..

What are your top two goals and how will you achieve them?
Two Goals: 1) To successfully complete efforts to elevate OHA to the Co-Trustee position for Papahānaumokuakea Marine Monument (PMNM). This is a significant step in ensuring that Native Hawaiians (and Hawaiʻi) interests are appropriately represented at all levels of co-management — policy and decision-making. Itʻs a crucial reminder to world nations of the importance of this Pacific area and that Native Hawaiians and Pacific people must not be overlooked in global decisions. Hawaiʻiʻs survival and future well-being depends on this inclusive and collaborative atmosphere. 2) To build upon methods, resources and programs which will ensure the critical role of cultural values, ethical practices to basic lifestyles of current and future generations of families, communities, leaders and government. Failing to change now and allowing self-importance and self-interest sacrifices Hawaiʻi for future generations.

The League of Women Voters of Hawai`i County reserves the right to review all responses and edit for clarity and content.  We will contact you if changes need to be made. 

UPW Endorses Apoliona for OHA 2016

Carpenters Endorse Apoliona for OHA 2016

Ke Ola O Na Mele Newsletter Article

Ke Ola O Na Mele newsletter

An interview with Local 677 member: Haunani Apoliona


Issues facing Hawaiian musicians who perform Hawaiian music are diverse. One immediate challenge is balancing Hawaiian music performance to maintain the integrity of the culture/tradition of the art versus existence and marketing as mere entertainment to support and sustain one economically. A unified voice is needed to rally such support for the value, dignity and honor of Hawaiian music, which in many venues here in Hawai’i is “devalued” as not commercial enough. That has resulted in lack of presence and representation in recording, media and live venues, such as hotels especially, even- tually leading to the disappearance and extinction of consistent and thriving “live” Hawaiian music performance.

So many Hawaiian musicians have to leave home, traveling to Asia, to survive musically. The perceived lack of commu- nity interest, limited radio play, lack of performance and sales venues, dilution of Hawaiian music by the increased play of non-Hawaiian music, and “devaluing” of the Hawaiian musicians’ role are some obvious issues facing Hawaiian musicians today. These are but a few thoughts on the issues raised by your question. Each Hawaiian Musicianʻs story is unique and each musician you ask will identify shared concerns as well as concerns special and distinct to their own professional experiences.


Being a member of the Musicians’ Union is confirmation of a brotherhood/sisterhood and inclusion in a coordinated effort to ensure that issues of importance to our industry and business find a collective and unified voice to advance fair play and productivity for positive results, always. A single voice, combined with many voices can be a profound tool for social action. I appreciate the Musicians’ Union providing me this opportunity to share my manaʻo and responses contained herein. I also appreciate our other Unions, the Carpenters’, the Laborers’ Local 368, UPW and HGEA for their endorse- ment of my re-election to OHA as Trustee At Large this November.


In 2002 OHA Trustees adopted a vision, mission statement and OHA Strategic Plan which is updated to 2018 with six strategic priorities;

  • Hoʻokahua Waiwai – economic self-sufficiency (to have choices and a sustainable future, Native Hawaiians will prog- ress towards great economic self-sufficiency);
  • `Aina – land and water (to maintain the connection to the past and a viable land base; Native Hawaiians will participate in and benefit from responsible stewardship of Ka Pae `Aina Hawai’i);
  • Mo`omeheu – culture (to strengthen identity, Native Hawaiians will preserve, practice and perpetuate their culture);
  • Mauli Ola – health (to improve the quality and longevity of life, Native Hawaiians will enjoy healthy lifestyles and expe-rience reduced onset of chronic diseases);
  • Ea – governance (to restore pono and ea, Native Hawaiians will achieve self-governance, after which the assets ofOHA will be transferred to the new governing entity); and
  • Ho`ona`auao – education (to maximize choices of life and work, Native Hawaiians will gain knowledge and excel in educational opportunities at all levels).

A direct connection for Hawaiian music is at Moʻomeheu. Through grants to community initiatives (i.e. HARA, Mele Mei) OHA historically and presently advances Hawaiian music – traditional and contemporary.


Hawaiian musicians who have become “politically active and engaged” very likely have a unique story and circumstance that pointed them in that direction. My experience combines family upbringing and values nurtured in my `ohana, expo- sure to that larger world of people through work and education, and music and composition. Among mele or songs that I have written, you will find several that speak to taking individual responsibility to making a difference, advancing values of social change through the path of peace, cooperation and collective effort. The manaʻo in ALU LIKE, E Mau Ana Ka Haʻaheo, Na Lei Hulu Makua, Na Wahine Hawai`i originate from that source of individual responsibility, collective re- sponsibility, improving the tomorrows by building upon the good of the past and present carried by values and spirit that opposes inertia, a sprit that seeks social justice, the spirit of a change agent. I have been fortunate to be able to not only compose such messages through mele, but to engage and inspire myself and others toward collective action to manifest positive and inspiring change in the Native Hawaiian community and all of Hawaiʻi nei. I am blessed and am very grateful for those who guide me each day.


For nearly 40 years, my personal and professional commitment has been and continues to be about empowering Native Hawaiians and strengthening Hawai’i. Starting in 1978 at ALU LIKE, Inc., as an employment counselor then programs administrator, I resigned in January 1997 as ALU LIKE President/ CEO upon taking my oath of office as OHA Trustee- at-Large. As Trustee in 1996, my objective was to bring greater stability, professionalism, respect, and productivity to the OHA Board of Trustees. In Honolulu Weekly’s May 29, 1996 issue, reporters Sanburn and Dawes reported that I “hand- picked” a coalition of OHA candidates (Machado, Springer and Perry) “to bring the spirit of cooperation to the notoriously dysfunctional agency.” My 2000, 2004, 2008 OHA reelections allowed me to lead OHA as its longest serving Chairperson (2000-2010) continuing OHA’s reform and maturation into an entity of focus, discipline and accountability in service to our Native Hawaiian beneficiaries. When reelected in 2012, the Kaka’ako Master Plan, Native Hawaiian Governance, increased advocacy for advancing Native Hawaiians will be in the forefront of issues. For more information please go to www.apoliona.org


Music liberates the soul and renews the spirit each time. Music is uplifting and allows our humanity to be joined together with our spirituality for powerful and inspiring moments of individual and collective connection, communicating not through words but through unspoken mutual understanding and insight. Music is a great healer and can rebalance what is not in balance.

For me, music has provided a path of expression that just speaking words can not achieve. Music has bridged relation- ships before any first introductions are made and has more than once allowed individuals to join collectively in common mission and effort.

Music has allowed me to keep balance in my life while bringing hope and peace to many. As Native Hawaiians, as people of Hawaiʻi, the nation and the world, we need to rekindle hope and always strive for peace. Aloha.

“Music has allowed me to keep balance in my life while bringing hope and peace to many”

Editor’s note: Many Local 677 members are not only active as performers, composers and recording artists, but also are active in the broader non-musical community. With this edition of Ke Ola O Na Mele, we begin a new occasional series that features members who are prominent and active in other roles in Hawai’i. Hau- nani Apoliana is one such member: a consummate musician (a member of Olomana since 1982), she has also been an elected Trustee-At-Large with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) since 1996.

If you would like to suggest other Local 677 members for future features, please contact the office or email us at musicians677@gmail.com