INDEX - SOVEREIGNTYwww.islandbreath.org ID#0613-03
SUBJECT: HAWAIIAN AHUPUAA
SOURCE: JUAN WILSON firstname.lastname@example.org
POSTED: 23 APRIL 2006 - 12:45pm
Planning based on Hawaiian land divisions
by Juan Wilson on 23 April 2006
At two recent public meetings of private groups I have been struck by the importance of using the traditional Hawaiian land division of ahupua`a as a means to regain a better process of planning and taking care of the land.
The first instance was at the 25 March 2006 meeting of the Westside Watershed Council led by Rhoda Libre. A guest speaker was Don Heacock. Don is a biologist who works for the State DLNR Aquatic Systems division.
When asked about the best way to protect the land he suggested that the Hawaiian system of ahupua`a cared well for the aina. Essentially, the ahupua`a were the sections of the island marked by the major watershed divisions leading back to the top of the island, Mount Waialiali. They were, as the "greens" would say, "bio-regions". Each in a sense a self-sustaining living ecosystem. The traditional divisions are Kona, Puna, Ko`alau, Halele`a and Na Pali.
Don added that the Hawaiian State Constitution made some allowances for Hawaiians with ahupua`a to maintain and care for the aina. Here are some parts that may be pertinent.
& DEVELOPMENT OF RESOURCES
Section 9. Each person has the right to a clean and healthful environment, as defined by laws relating to environmental quality, including control of pollution and conservation, protection and enhancement of natural resources. Any person may enforce this right against any party, public or private, through appropriate legal proceedings, subject to reasonable limitations and regulation as provided by law.
FARM AND HOME OWNERSHIP
Section 10. The public lands shall be used for the development of farm and home ownership on as widespread a basis as possible, in accordance with procedures and limitations prescribed by law.
TRADITIONAL AND CUSTOMARY RIGHTS
Section 7. The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua'a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.
The second instance was the 22 April 2006 meeting of the League of Women Voters on the subject of "Planning & Permitting". The interest of the public who attended was focused on the question of what could be done to alleviate the problems we face associated with uncontrolled growth and the economic uncertainty looming in the future that centers on the issue of oil.
I suggested that our planning should focus on the health and well being of the island through re-establishing the authority of the ahupua`a as planning and government units.
Even on as small an island as Kauai, doing all the planning for the island from a room in the County Building on Rice Street in Lihue is no way to address the problems we face across this small planet, Kauai.
I suggest the State of Hawaii and County of Kauai create several political subdivisions (ahupua`a), in line with the traditional Hawaiian land divisions, that would have representation on the County Council and would be land divisions for the future planning of land use and development on Kauai. I am not a lawyer, but I believe that is possible using Article 8 of our constitution.
CREATION; POWERS OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISIONS
Section 1. The legislature shall create counties, and may create other political subdivisions within the State, and provide for the government thereof. Each political subdivision shall have and exercise such powers as shall be conferred under general laws.
LOCAL SELF-GOVERNMENT; CHARTER
Section 2. Each political subdivision shall have the power to frame and adopt a charter for its own self-government within such limits and under such procedures as may be provided by general law. Such procedures, however, shall not require the approval of a charter by a legislative body.
Charter provisions with respect to a political subdivision's executive, legislative and administrative structure and organization shall be superior to statutory provisions, subject to the authority of the legislature to enact general laws allocating and reallocating powers and functions.
A law may qualify as a general law even though it is inapplicable to one or more counties by reason of the provisions of this section.
Our current system has become corrupted and is rife with nepotism and cronyism, centered in the government in Lihue, that seems out of touch with the mood of the island people.
What do you think?