Hakuone’s vision for the blighted land

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In 2012, 30 acres of land makai of Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaʻako were transferred from the State of Hawai’i to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) as a settlement for past-due Public Land trust revenue debt of $200 million for its use of ceded lands.

In late 2022, these lands were named Hakuone, which represents the history and cultural significance of the area.

OHA seeks to bring a greater sense of Hawaiʻi back to Kakaʻako by growing the culture, language and increased opportunities for the lāhui, so these lands can again become a source of abundance and pride.

OHA is, however, inheriting badly abused land from the state, damaged by decades of uses ranging from landfill to waste incineration. But OHA will do what is right—and what is required by law of all developers—conducting environmental impact studies and addressing their findings prior to any construction. OHA is committed to the cleanup of its parcels at Kaka’ako Makai, finally and fully transforming them into safe and productive land.

After the land was handed over to OHA, surveys and studies revealed decades of neglect. Shoreline and other core infrastructure in Kaka’ako was damaged or deteriorating as a result of undisclosed deferred maintenance by the state. Coupled with the known environmental damage caused by prior private and public tenants, the conveyance of this collapsing infrastructure added insult to injury.

OHA believes the state is responsible for funding at least a portion of the critical repairs that it failed to perform over the many years it controlled the land. This is one of the requests before the Hawaii state legislature this year.

More importantly, the Hakuone parcels are currently restricted to retail and commercial uses, preventing the development of residential units to create a vibrant, multi-functional planned community that would allow OHA to fund its mission of bettering the conditions of Native Hawaiian people in education, health, housing, and economic stability.

OHA is supporting legislation in the 2023 session that would ensure that Native Hawaiians have the same opportunity to develop the makai lands as their mauka neighbors. The principles of self-determination and governance over Native Hawaiian resources, including lands, have always been vital.

With residential options open to OHA, Hakuone will be built as a place where ancient trading practices of mauka (farmers) and makai (lawai’a) converge; where keiki and kupuna thrive; where la’au lapa’au practices heal body, mind and spirit; and open spaces provide restorative healing.

For more information, visit www.hakuone.com or on Facebook and Instagram @hakuonehi.