The Stewards of Waimea

The culturally, ecologically and historically precious
Waimea Valley, on the North Shore of O'ahu,
Hawai'i, was saved from division and development by
concerted community action in 2006.

The last traditional Hawaiian ahupua'a
on O'ahu -- from the mountains to the sea --
remains whole, so its sacred voices can be heard and respected.
Click here for information on how to become involved
in the future of Waimea Valley.

Rebirth of
Ahupua'a o Waimea
a moving re-dedication ceremony, recounting of
ancestral Hawaiian stories, and hula kahiko
led by renowned Kumu Hula Sonny Ching and
Kumu Hula Victoria Holt Takamine
August 12, 2006

Click above for television news coverage,
as once again Waimea Valley dominates the news.

Here is the official program for the event,
as published by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, showing
the names of key speakers guests and participants:
The Program

The historic performance
by Kumu Hula Sonny Ching and Halau Na Mamo O Pu’uanahulu:
Hula Kahiko

The Waimea Story:
classic video, music and visions
from Waimea

recently recovered and restored video of Waimea Valley as it was nearly twenty years ago, when Hawaiian culture was the center of activities in the Valley -- the heiaus and living sites, fishing, the plants and streams, hula, martial arts, music and chanting -- click here to see:

Waimea Funding Bill Passes Key Legislative Hurdle
February 8, 2006

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Waimea Valley Saved!
 January 27, 2006

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is set to assume ownership of Oahu’s Waimea Valley within the next few months under the terms of a court settlement that will permanently protect the stunning and historic valley, considered to be Oahu’s last intact ahupuaa. The purchase represents OHA’s second major acquisition of important conservation land in just a few months, after September’s agreement that will give the agency title to Wao Kele o Puna rainforest on Hawaii island. The two deals mark the first time that OHA has acquired substantial land holdings.

for the complete story, click here

Inside the Waimea Valley Settlement

Court Statement reveals details of highly-charged proceedings;
January 26, 2006

Mediator Clyde Matsui reports "intense and necessarily hurried negotiations", in a "co-operative and determined effort to 'save the valley'"
Settlement provides that "no future development of the valley will be will remain as it is for all future generations, forever"

more details...

Renaissance of Waimea Valley Begins Today

news release from the Stewards of Waimea
January 13, 2006

HONOLULU: 4:00 PM JANUARY 13, 2006 - After several tumultuous months, Mayor Mufi Hannemann has announced a settlement agreement which will preserve the entire 1,875-acre sacred ahupua'a of Waimea Valley intact. The court appointed mediator has facilitated a settlement agreement for $14 million that will keep the case from going to court on February 13, 2006 where the property's "fair market" value would have been decided by a trial by jury.

Parties to the settlement include the City & County of Honolulu -- who have already paid $5.1 million towards the settlement -- the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, the Hawai'i State Department of Land and Natural Resources, the National Audubon Society, and the U.S. Army (which has indicated a desire to maintain a "buffer zone" between the Valley and their adjoining property). Although not the settlement was not officially announced until 5:45 PM, Mayor Hannemann had called a highly-unusual emergency meeting with the City Council at 11:00 AM this morning (Friday) where the offer was presented to the City Council for their approval.

read the full release here

read the Editorial in the Honolulu Advertiser
"Many chapters are yet to be written on the preservation and rediscovery of Waimea Valley, but at least the book has been cracked open."

read the report in the Pacific Business News

see video of the major television news stories
leading off the broadcasts of KHON and KITV

Waimea Valley Preserved
front page, Honolulu Advertiser
January 14, 2006

A consortium of government agencies and nonprofits is buying Waimea Valley for $14 million and will keep it undeveloped.
Following a flurry of activity and closed-door meetings yesterday, government officials announced an out-of-court settlement that ended the dispute for control of the North Shore valley.

Agreement preserves Waimea for $14.1 million
The state, the Army, the Audubon Society and OHA join the city in settling the dispute

front page, Honolulu Star-Bulletin; January 14, 2006

Waimea Valley will remain pristine open space after the city reached an agreement with a landowner to buy the land for $14 million.

Under the deal announced yesterday, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs will get title to the 1,875-acre valley, and the Audubon Society will continue to operate the Waimea Valley Audubon Center on about 300 acres of the valley.

Big Win for Waimea: Dec.7, 2005
City Council meets; press conference;
letters from Attorney Jim Case, Stewards of Waimea

Click here for television news clips

Constant Updates on the Status of Waimea Valley
Newspaper, Magazine Articles, TV News Clips

click here to download this free color poster

Comments from the Capitol
by Senator Robert Bunda
North Shore News, January 4, 2006

"...I was never more proud of our community than during the critical City Council vote on Waimea Valley. It was truly remarkable to watch individuals, bound by determination and a strong belief in the rightness of their actions, change the course of history and preserve a state treasure."

click here for Sen.Bunda's full year-end statement

Struggles with the Value
of Waimea Valley

Environment Hawai'i, January 2006

He's got entitlements. He's got an appraisal for $18.2 million. He had an offer of $16 million for the property...
These are the kinds of worries that made some Honolulu City Council members believe they'd be putting the City at risk...

full article here

To the State Legislature--
Recommendation for 2006: Support the 'aina of Waimea
January 1, 2006

I am in Zhongshan. This southern region is the most highly developed manufacturing center in China. Prosperity bursts at the seams. Rows of apartments are being built. Miles of huge factories line the freeways to the provincial capital of Guandong.

This prosperity carries a price of heavy, smelly air and cement gray streams. The air and land are not managed well here. Nature suffers.


Let’s resolve future of Waimea Valley
once and for all

Letter to the Editor,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Jan.2, 2006
by Honolulu City Council Member, Romy Cachola

After the Honolulu City Council's 9-0 vote on Dec. 7 to reject a settlement offer to develop Waimea Valley, the plaintiff's attorney, Bill McCorriston, stated that he:
1. Wants to continue settlement talks on behalf of his client but only if Mayor Mufi Hannemann, not members of the City Council, leads these discussions; and
2. Has no confidence in the Council to continue mediating these talks.

As the representative of the City Council on matters relating to Waimea Valley, it is unfortunate to hear such statements.

Builder eyeing Hawaii
Rural Oahu could be developed
Associated Press/Daily News; 12-17-05

HALEIWA, Hawaii - It wasn't the beaches, Pearl Harbor or the
Waikiki night buzz that Aleksandra Witkowska remembers most
about her first trip to Hawaii.

Her memories of the towering green slopes of Waimea Valley on Oahu's North Shore was the highlight, which is why the Chicago businesswoman is now trying to protect the pristine ecosystem from potential development.

Council votes 9-0 to kill Waimea deal

In a stunning example of people power, five Honolulu City Council members changed their minds yesterday and voted against an agreement to split Waimea Valley between the city and New York investor Christian Wolffer.

Although the vote was unanimous, 9-0, the decision really went to the parade of more than six dozen speakers who told the council in no uncertain terms that the community was ready to take its chances in court.

The speakers were backed up by the Audubon Society and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, which pledged to come up with the money needed to match whatever price a court ruling decrees. The rejection of the deal yesterday means the next move is a February court date.

front page, Honolulu Advertiser,
December 8, 2005

Waimea Valley deal rejected
Community members protest development in the valley, spurring the Council's 9-0 vote

THE CITY COUNCIL has unanimously rejected a deal that would have settled a condemnation lawsuit by allowing some luxury housing development in Waimea Valley.

front page, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
December 8, 2005

Waimea's Fate Nears Final Vote
Front Page: Honolulu Advertiser
December 5, 2005

Any development in Waimea Valley — the possible outcome of continuing talks between the city and a private owner — would violate a master-plan agreement designed to preserve the area's unique character, North Shore residents say.

Waimea Indivisible
cover story about Waimea Valley
Honolulu Weekly, Nov.30, 2005
On Dec. 7, the city Council will convene to make a very difficult decision with respect to the future of Waimea Valley.

Full Coverage Here

November 30, 2005
State on standby to assist city in Waimea effort
Rep. Brian Schatz will propose a plan to fund a land purchase

State officials say they're willing to assist the city to protect Waimea Valley from development, but only if city officials ask for help.
"There's a lot of options. If somebody is serious, we ought to sit down and address the issues and figure out what is the right thing to do," said Peter Young, chairman of the state Board of Land and Natural

To see Rep.Schatz' press release, which proposes innovative financing and management ideas for Waimea, click here:


November 30, 2005
New law may help state join purchase of valley

A state law passed this year raises the conveyance tax, which is paid at the time any property is sold, and dedicates 10 percent of collections for land conservation, providing money to the state, counties or other agencies seeking to purchase land that has environmental, cultural or other value. The tax is expected to increase the Department of Land and Natural Resources' Land Conservation Fund to approximately $9 million a year.

November 26, 2005
No 'open checkbook' for Waimea Valley
Mayor Mufi Hannemann said yesterday he backs efforts to purchase the front end of Waimea Valley but cautioned council members that the city shouldn't provide "an open checkbook." Hannemann said he is a supporter of and "regular visitor" to the park and is sensitive to its environmental and cultural significance. "But I really believe there is a limit to what the city can and should pay," Hannemann said at a news conference.

November 24, 2005
Heritage at stake in Waimea Valley
A leading archaeologist said yesterday that precious Island heritage could be lost in a proposed agreement to divide the 1,875-acre Waimea Valley between the city and New York investor Christian Wolffer. "The majority of the valley is unsurveyed archaeologically," said Joseph Kennedy, who published an article in the October issue of Natural History magazine about Waimea Valley titled "Kahuna Chronicles."

November 21, 2005
Council must stick to Waimea promise
Note to our City Council members, mulling over the Waimea Valley problem: There are times for expedient solutions, but this is not one of them. Waimea is a gem in the coffers of the state's environmental and cultural riches. It's also been a battleground for a classic land-use conflict, especially since the city took control of the 1,875-acre district on the North Shore in 2002.

November 20, 2005
Valley's worth can't be counted in dollars alone
The City Council is considering a proposal to split Waimea Valley.
As the Honolulu City Council deliberates a deal that would sever shoreline from mountain in Waimea Valley, it appears that money is at the core of its considerations.

November 17, 2005
Proposed Waimea Valley settlement draws fire
Kupuna, environmentalists and North Shore residents opposed a settlement proposal before the City Council yesterday that could lead to part of Waimea Valley being subdivided for homes and a tourist ecological camp. "The whispers of the valley would be those who would weep," said "Aunty" Betty Jenkins, 77, who sits on the Waimea Valley Audubon Stewardship Board. "There's no doubt in my mind that we have an obligation to those generations before us to keep it whole."

November 17, 2005
Waimea Valley preservation at issue
The City Council yesterday discussed a settlement offer that would change the future of Waimea Valley, although it's not clear how because details of the proposal remain confidential. All nine members of the City Council met behind closed doors to hear about a proposed legal settlement of the city's move to condemn the 1,875-acre valley on O'ahu's North Shore.

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