This semester, the Center launched its popular Maoli Thursdays, a lunchtime forum and speaker series on Native Hawaiian and other Pacific and Indigenous issues, held every first Thursday of the month. Save the dates for Maoli Thursdays in the Spring Semester: February 7th, March 6th, and April 3rd. Visit the Center’s website soon for Maoli Thursday topics!


Past Events

The Center held a number of exciting presentations and events at the Law School this semester. On Thursday, September 6, we held our first Maoli Thursday, An Introduction to the Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. Center faculty and staff discussed the Center's courses, events, resources and job opportunities, research and publications, and how students can get involved with the Center.

On Thursday, October 4, we held an informative Maoli Thursday on Career Opportunities in Native Hawaiian Law, featuring three outstanding Native Hawaiian attorneys who discussed their work representing and advocating for Hawaiians. William Meheula is a partner in the firm of Winer Meheula and Devens, LLP, and has represented individual Hawaiians as well as the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in several landmark breach of trust cases related to the Hawaiian Home Lands and the Ceded Lands trusts. Camille Kalama is a staff attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation and a 2005 graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, who represents Native Hawaiians on issues related to land and natural resources and the preservation of traditional customs and practices. Colin Kippen is former senior counsel to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs and the current executive director for the Native Hawaiian Education Council. Colin is also a member of the Review Committee of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.


On Thursday, November 1, we hosted the third Maoli Thursday, From Wai to Kanawai: Exploring Maui Water Issues. In island communities like Hawai‘i, fresh water is the source of all life. It supplies drinking water for our communities, supports native stream animals that are found nowhere else in the world, enables productive estuaries and fisheries, and facilitates traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights and practices, including kalo (taro) cultivation. Because our fresh water is inherently limited, increasing demands have divided communities as individuals disagree over how to manage this precious resource.

For the past several years, Maui water issues have been taking center stage. This Maoli Thursday explored the legal aspects of water resources and management by delving into two case studies from Central and East Maui that will both help to shape water law in Hawai‘i and impact the future of that island for years and generations to come. The forum featured Pamela Bunn, an attorney with Paul, Johnson, Park and Niles, who has represented clients in a wide range of disputes. She currently represents the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the Nā Wai ‘Ehā contested case; where, together with grassroots community groups and Maui County, OHA is working to restore mauka to makai stream flow to Waihe‘e, Waiehu, ‘Īao and Waikapū Streams in Central Maui. The event also featured Moses Haia, a staff attorney with the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, and an Advisory Board Member for the Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. Moses works on a wide range of Native Hawaiian rights issues and is currently representing Na Moku Aupuni o Ko‘olau Hui, a grassroots group, in a series of actions to restore flow to 27 streams in East Maui.

The Center also hosted and co-sponsored a number of other exciting presentations and events this semester, including: Reconciliatory Justice: Addressing Historic Injustices Against Indigenous Peoples featuring Māori Legal Scholar Dr. Robert Joseph, and Why Micronesia Matters: Present-Day Realities of the U.S.-Micronesia Relationship, with Julian Aguon, a Chamoru human rights scholar and activist. For more information, see Pacific Island Issues, in this issue of Ka He‘e.

We also hosted a lunchtime discussion on Second Year Seminar Topics in Indigenous and Social Justice Law on November 15. Center faculty and staff, and third year students discussed current Native Hawaiian, Indigenous, and other Social Justice issues and suggested potential SYS topics for students about to take the required Second Year Seminar writing course in the spring.