Judge orders release of Native Hawaiian Roll Commission list

Judge orders release of Native Hawaiian Roll Commission list
Published: Jun. 4, 2015 at 12:55 AM HST|Updated: Jun. 4, 2015 at 12:59 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow)

On its website Kanaiolowalu, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission's enrollment list, said it's registered about 123,000 Native Hawaiians. Kelii Akina, president of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, believes the public has a right to know who's on it.

"It was a shame that a public document belonging to the public was being withheld by a government agency," he said.

Judicial Watch sued to make the list public. On Wednesday Circuit Court Judge Jeannette Castagnetti ordered the Roll Commission to release it saying Hawaii has a strong public policy for open government.

"It will now be possible to examine the concerns of tens of thousands of individuals whose names were put onto the list without their direct permission," Akina said.

Many of the names came from three lists that already existed, like Kau Inoa. Kanaiolowalu maintains the official list isn't complete or certified.

In February, Commission chairman John Waihee told Hawaii News Now that Grassroot Institute was more about politics than substance and it didn't want to see Hawaiians reorganize.

In a statement Wednesday, Waihee said "Our belief is that the court didn't order the release of anything that we wouldn't have ultimately turned over."

But Akina insists the list can now be scrutinized to see if people were included over their objections or if the names belong to individuals who are in prison or are dead.

"There's a lot of concern that there are actions that aren't transparent. And this gives people the opportunity to look into the process," Akina said.

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