Letter: To pave over these lands is to pave over my culture

Letter to the Editor

I just came back from the Sierra Club/Mililani-Waipi’o Neighborhood board meeting on Koa Ridge which was held at Mililani Mauka elementary school. There was a whole lot of people present—the cafeteria was packed, and I believe a couple news stations were there.

I was able to speak against the development of Koa Ridge and in favor of food security and sustained agriculture.

We were the minority at this meeting. This meeting was almost entirely comprised of Castle & Cooke supporters along with hordes of out-of-work construction workers—their main issue being jobs. A young woman, whose husband is an unemployed construction worker, spoke on behalf of “green” jobs. She made it clear that there are jobs in agriculture, and they are secure jobs, unlike construction that seems to end when the building stops. However, the horde simply did not want to listen.

I emphasized food security. Are we supposed to eat houses?

I emphasized food security. Are we supposed to eat houses? Apparently, most of these people just don’t listen to reason. They argue that their families need to survive, but how will they survive if there isn’t any food to eat? Hawai’i produces roughly 15 percent of its own food. It’s almost as if they refuse to look beyond the present and into the future. One construction worker went on to express how he enjoys hunting, fishing, and farming, but he needs a construction job to make sure that his kids get to enjoy the same things he does. My questions to that: Where will your kids get to hunt? Where will your kids get to fish? Where will your kids get to farm?

When I was much younger, my father would take me and my siblings hiking up ma uka. We would occasionally go hunting, fishing, and even gathering (of ki, ulu, hapu’u, etc.). This is something I’ll never be able to do with my kids, especially after the development of Mililani Mauka (where we would go). It’s really both sad and infuriating. This is our ??ina. And I aloha this ??ina as I would any other member of my ‘ohana. This place in question is also wahi pana. To pave over these lands is to pave over my culture and everything my kupuna stand for.

I plan on attending the upcoming Land Use Commission hearing, and will be testifying there as well.

To me, the development of abominations like Koa Ridge go against my values and beliefs as a Kanaka Maoli. It’s hewa out there—we need pono.       


Z. ??k?,