One day you are hunting for food for your family in your lifelong hunting grounds and the next day you are told, you can’t. Many Hawai‘i subsistence hunters have faced obstacles of hunting on their own ‘aina (land). This unfortunate debate has been a three year journey for the Maui southeastern Hawaiian Homestead of Kahikinui.
Three years ago a commercial outfit selfishly positioned themselves amongst the Department of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) and the County of Maui. Subsistence hunters called an immediate meeting and from that initial group of 40, over a hundred more meetings were held. The ripple effect of two branches of government favoring commercializing a subsistence resource triggered strong reactions and, ultimately, inspired the creation of the Kahikinui Hawaiian Homestead Association (KHHA).
KHHA prides itself on full beneficiary reach and transparency. Remote delivery Zoom meetings have been busy with the guidance of Pa‘upena Community Development Corporation and the Sovereign Council Hawaiian Homestead Associations (SCHHA). In frequent and convoluted meetings, KHHA has woven together partnerships that serve each other with rich exchange of experiences that have bridged homesteads separated by sea.
Founding partner Kahikinui Game and Land Management ‘Ohana (KGLMO) was curated by Living Indigenous Forest Ecosystems (LIFE) when homesteaders began resettling the homestead in the early 90’s. The 22,000 acres is known for its wild cows, boars, goats and axis deer. Under the guidance of generational subject area experts, KGLMO conducted stellar forest management for 26 years with a 100% safety record.
In a strong collective move KHHA has incorporated the intellect and historical data of KGLMO and applied for a $300k Maui County Feral Animal Management grant. The application includes the game and land management restorative needs of Kahikinui and would further warrant the DHHL area Right of Entry. The grant work assesses Maui island Axis Deer and feral chickens. With steadfast confidence and an all encompassing plan, Hawaiian Homesteaders, Beneficiaries and Waitlisters have assembled and feel a returned footing to the vast area that they feel is their kuleana (responsibility).
As other homesteads eagerly wait for their developments to unfold, Kahikinui homesteaders have realized their remote lifestyle exhibits the “off-the-grid” living that is important to other homesteads. As it is perfected in Kahikinui, the option increases for homesteads throughout Hawai‘i. KHHA sees the benchmarks of the grant deliverables to be the stepping stone to larger pools of monies that would help to stabilize the Homestead with adequate access and critical fire mitigation.
The County of Maui has heard frequent subject-specific testimony over the last three years and has consistently kept the subject of feral animal management on the Council calendar. The subject item has moved from Budget & Finance Committee to the Environmental, Agriculture and Cultural Preservation Committee and now resides in the Climate Action, Resilience and Environment Committee. The original County grant that was earmarked for Feral Animal Management from the Office of Economic Development has moved to the Department of Housing and Human Concerns. The monies allocated have also increased significantly with $300k for Maui, $300k for Molokai, $300k for Lanai and a $100k study.
The subject area has sorely lacked action since the 2002 Maui County study recommended a County wide management plan. This grant encompasses a significant step towards feral animal management balance and KHHA is the gauge of best practices and is not afraid to take the bull by the horns.
Subject related news feeds:
An emergency assistance program has opened for farming and ranching operations that have suffered losses due to excessive deer populations on Molokaʻi and Maui:
Kahikinui Homestead Issues Covered in Honolulu Star-Advertiser
Kahikinui Leaseholders Testify to DHHL:
Senate Hawaiian Affairs Committee Questions DHHL about Ungulate Management on Hawai‘i island: