Native Hawaiian leaders demand say in how fire-ravaged Lahaina is rebuilt

In a press conference, residents say they have multiple demands of government officials -- one of which is to give their community time to grieve.
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 6:19 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 18, 2023 at 6:38 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Lahaina residents are demanding to have a say in the future of their town.

Native Hawaiian community leaders held a news conference Friday with multiple demands to government officials — one of which is to give their community time to grieve.

The fire happened only 10 days ago and they said many people are still in shock and mourning.

They said the government should not rush to rebuild the community without first giving the people time to heal — and especially without including the community itself in the planning.

“We don’t want to hear the governor’s office saying that we have a plan for Lahaina because none of us ever got to speak to the governor,” said Kekai Keahi, of Na Ohana o Lele, a coalition of community members in Lahaina.

“Your plan, in my opinion, is not the plan. The plan gotta come from the people of Lahaina.”

They’re also demanding that government put the community first in any planning process for for rebuilding Lahaina.

They see this as an opportunity to rebuild how they see fit.

“We are hoping that the governor really seeks that mana’o that we really need,” said Keeaumoku Kapu, of Na Ohana o Lele. “So we can reveal, we’re facing with a lot of families, the loss. We’re still grieving. We need that time to find closure. Before we look at where do we go from here.”