Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Office Of Hawaiian Affairs Needs More Fiscal Responsibility, But Certain Trustees Have Lacked 
The Political Will

By OHA Trustee Rowena Akana - Ka Wai Ola - March, 2018

`Ano`ai kakou… Recently, there has been a lot of critical news about OHA’s recent spending on grants, sponsorships, and Limited Liability Companies (LLCs). But this is definitely not news to me. It’s what I’ve been saying all along. Here are some highlights of my past Ka Wai Ola articles during the past year -

January 2018 – OHA publishes a book and hands over Scholarship Program to UH. On November 21, 2017, OHA published a book on mana that took five years of staff time to print. I’ve been waiting months for a response about where the money to publish the book came from.

December 2017 – Bring Back OHA Run Programs. I wrote that change will not occur unless the Trustees begin to hold our Administration responsible for their actions.

April 2017 – Back to Normal - Ho Hum, Business as Usual. I wrote that one of OHA’s money managers recommended that we get rid of the Fiscal Reserve slush fund. Trustees seemed supportive, but nothing has happened since. Now the State Auditor is calling this out! I also wrote that we need to find a more efficient way to run our essential programs such as community grants. The State Auditor’s February 2018 Audit of OHA vindicates my position that OHA grants are still not being monitored and mostly given to those who know who and how to ask.

March 2017 – Transition - Change doesn’t have to be painful. I argued that OHA must be an agency that treats our beneficiaries equally and it’s now up to the new leadership to make sure there is an even playing field at OHA. However, this has not occurred. I also mentioned that on February 8th, the Trustees formed an Advisory Committee to make recommendations to the Board on the scope of a proposed financial audit and management review. This only came about because our beneficiaries demanded it and wanted an answer to the one question I’ve been asking nonstop for the last decade: Where is all the money really going?” This effort has met with great opposition from the Administration.