State & OHA reach settlement regarding ceded lands

OHA Chairperson Colette Machado
OHA Chairperson Colette Machado

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The state and Office of Hawaiian Affairs Wednesday afternoon announced the two sides have come up with an "agreement in principle" to settle ceded land payments.

Under the agreement, the State and OHA agree that a $200 million settlement represents a "reasonable compromise of the disputed claims." To satisfy that $200 million amount, the State is offering adjacent parcels in Kaka'ako Makai. The parcels are near Kaka'ako Waterfront Park, including Fisherman's Wharf.

"My administration has been working with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for months to reach an agreement that is pono, that benefits native Hawaiians, and that is the right thing for the State. The Legislature must still properly consider and vet this proposal and give its final approval, and I look forward to working with the Legislature during that process. So while we are pleased that the State and OHA have reached this agreement in principle, there is still a long way to go. We are optimistic that we'll get there," said Governor Abercrombie.

"Although we realize there is more work ahead of us, we are extremely excited and encouraged about the potential of this news to help OHA continue its mission, and to continue to support education, job training and social service programs" said OHA Chairperson Colette Machado. "It also represents a major milestone and the most critical stage in the process to provide hope for a brighter future for Native Hawaiians and all of Hawai'i Nei."

"We will be doing our due diligence on this proposal to make sure it makes sense for OHA and the Native Hawaiian people," said Clyde W. Namuo, OHA Chief Executive Officer.

The lands are and will remain under the jurisdiction of the Hawaii Community Development Authority ("HCDA"), and will continue to be subject to HCDA's zoning and other land use conditions. The lands will be conveyed "as is", "where is". OHA will do due diligence investigations on the lands, and can walk away prior to Legislative approval.

The $200 million payments to OHA are for the use of ceded lands, including airports, hospitals and housing projects.

This is the second ceded lands deal.  Three years ago, OHA and Governor Linda Lingle agreed to a $200 million dollar settlement, however it was never implemented because the State Senate failed to pass the required legislation.

The current deal will also need legislative approval.

We will have more on this story tonight on Hawaii News Now.

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