Excerpts from HB2188, proposed to the Twenty-Third Hawaii State Legislature, House of Representatives, January 2006
Preliminary archaeological surveys indicate that Waimea valley, Oahu, was inhabited by native Hawaiians from approximately A.D. 1100.... It is reputed that Kamehameha recognized the importance of Waimea valley when he awarded the valley to his top spiritual advisor, Hewahewa....
Today, the 1,875 acre valley, the only remaining intact ahupua'a on the island of Oahu, remains a rich and sacred cultural, historic, and aesthetic resource for the entire State. The bottom or makai three hundred acres of the valley contain many known cultural resources, including agricultural terraces, kauhale kahiko or ancient living sites, a heiau dedicated to Lono, the god of agriculture, weather, medicine, and peace, a hale iwi or house of bones, and a platform of large boulders believed to be the burial site of a high priest or chief.
Waimea valley is also the home of many species of endemic and migratory avifauna... The valley flora includes many endemic and endangered species of native Hawaiian plants and trees...
Today, the legislature finds that this vast treasure may be lost to the people of Hawaii. ...The legislature finds that it is important to the people of Hawaii to preserve and protect Waimea valley.
The purpose of this Act is to make an appropriation for the purchase of the entire Waimea valley, Oahu, comprised of 1,875 acres.
Support for the Waimea Acquisition
At a crowded meeting of the Water, Land and Ocean Resources Committee of the House of Representatives, February 8, 2006, the issue of allocating $1.6 million in State funds to the acquisition of Waimea Valley was raised for public discussion.
HB2188 was introduced by 21 State Representatives, a bi-partisan group headed by Michael Magaoay, who represents the North Shore. A companion bill, HB2400, was also introduced which deals with the specifics of the appropriation requested.
Dozens of individuals and community groups rose to speak in support of the bills. One of the Trustees of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Linda Dela Cruz, rose to say she preferred that the State spend no money on this acquisition, allowing OHA to make the full $14.1 million purchase on its own, using Hawaiian funds only. Others supported this opinion in principle, but recognized that, in practical terms, the Valley acquisition has been well-structured and approved by the State Court as a partnership of several groups, with OHA in the lead and taking title.
The Stewards of Waimea submitted written testimony in favor of the bills, along with oral testimony, noting in support of Mrs. Dela Cruz that the State should use this opportunity to recognize the central role of native Hawaiians in determining the future of the Valley, with full community participation; and to attract support for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from government, public, non-profit and business people throughout the State. Here are some excerpts from the Stewards' written testimony:
The Bill passed this Committee hearing easily, with all six members present voting in favor; as of this writing, the Bill is scheduled to go to the Finance Committee before being presented to the House. A companion bill, SB2363, has been introduced in the Senate by Senate President Robert Bunda; it has passed first reading, and is making its way through the Committee process as well.