Kuleana Homestead Settlement Plan for Puʻu ʻŌpae Wins Award
The Puʻu ʻŌpae Kuleana Homestead Settlement Plan for land on Kaua’i won the Outstanding Planning Award by the American Planning Association’s Hawai‘i Chapter.
The plan, crafted by the Department of Hawaiian Home Land and Honolulu-based design firm G70, provides a roadmap for future homesteading in Waimea.
The plan “will ultimately result in native Hawaiians settling on lands that have been in the Hawaiian Homes Lands trust since the beginning,” said Tyler Iokepa Gomes, Department of Hawaiian Home Landsʻ Deputy to the Chair.
Consultants for the plan include Keala Pono Archaeological Consulting, Hui Ku Maoli Ola, Hawaiʻi Wildfire Management Organization, Sustain Hawaiʻi and Resource Mapping Hawaiʻi.
The plan focuses on the development of a DHHL Kuleana Homestead community on the mauka Waimea lands of west Kaua‘i. Planning for Pu‘u ‘Ōpae began with DHHL’s 2011 West Kaua‘i Regional Plan, which identified the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae area as a priority project and called for the development of an agricultural and water plan.
The lands of Pu‘u ‘Ōpae are an ideal location for the Kuleana Homesteading Program due to the suitable topography, drainage, accessibility, proximity to natural and cultural resources, management of wildfire risk, and beneficiary preferences for subsistence
DHHL’s Kuleana Homestead Program is intended to rehabilitate native Hawaiians by providing opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-determination. Raw land is offered to beneficiaries to live on, grow food to sustain their families, and use for community economic purposes.
The Puʻu ʻŌpae Kuleana Homestead Settlement Plan is an alternative and innovative approach to fulfill the vision of Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole. This Plan perpetuates the legacy of Kūhiō’s civic service to today’s beneficiaries.
“In this context, kuleana is more than a right or responsibility but rather an ancestral obligation being carried across generations,” said Kawika McKeague, AICP, Principal at G70. “The next steps of plan implementation will ensure the resiliency of future homesteaders to feed their families and make this special place their home. Accordingly, this award by the APA Hawai‘i Chapter is a significant milestone that lends merit in recognizing community perseverance towards Maoli governance and self-determination.”
G70 and DHHL published the Final Environmental Assessment with a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae homestead settlement in August 2020.
For more information about the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan, visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/kauai.
DHHL received the Outstanding Planning Award at the Hawaiʻi Congress of Planning Officials Conference Awards Session on Sept. 15 at the Grand Hyatt Kaua‘i Resort and Spa.
Photos courtesy of DHHL.