On Monday, community supporters gathered to protest the eviction of six Native Hawaiian families who had been living in Kahana Valley on revocable permits as the state defended its decision to limit the number of leases it issues.
In a press release today, Department of Land and Natural Resources chair Laura Thielen announced that the state would be granting the families more time to prepare to move and work with transitional service providers this week.
Nearly two decades ago, the state had come to an agreement with 31 families who were living in Kahana to stay in the valley as part of a "living park," where lessees would provide 25 hours a month in interpretive services in exchange for a lease rent.
"This agreement struck a balance between the interests of the original valley residents and the broader public park purpose where educational opportunities would be provided to visitors by the residents," Thielen said. "The balance recognized that the number of lots could not increase, otherwise the public park would eventually become a private subdivision."
The DLNR chair said in the press release that several adult children of the original families moved out of the valley, while six families remained in hope of receiving a lease. Plans to increase the amounts of leases in Kahana Valley changed when the attorney general said that the state's authority grant more than 31 leases had expired in 1993.
"We will give the six families a bit more time to prepare to move, and we will bring additional transition service providers this week to provide assistance to help with this transition," Thielen said. "I recognize that up until last summer the families and the department thought there would be an opportunity to issue three leases, and that the families would need more assistance and time to prepare themselves. We met with the families earlier this year to discuss the decision and brought service providers to assist them in their move, but I can understand that they were not prepared to accept the decision at that time. Accordingly we will not move forward with any eviction this week."
To read DLNR's entire statement, click here.
To read correspondence between DLNR and the Attorney General regarding Kahana Valley leases, click here.