Office Of Hawaiian Affairs

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The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is a semi-autonomous state agency created in 1978 “to address the needs of the aboriginal class of people of Hawaii.” By state law, 20 percent of all income and proceeds derived from the public land trust — 1.2 million acres of ceded land held in trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians — are to be paid annually to OHA by the state of Hawaii. That 20 percent amounted to approximately $15.1 million in ceded lands revenue for the 2011 fiscal year.


While OHA is a government agency, only 6 percent of its budget for fiscal 2011 — $2.47 million — came from the state’s general fund. The rest of its $40 million operating budget came from ceded lands revenue from the state, investments and federal funds.

It’s mission is “to malama Hawaii’s people and environmental resources and OHA’s assets, toward ensuring the perpetuation of the culture, the enhancement of lifestyle and the protection of entitlements of Native Hawaiians, while enabling the building of a strong and healthy Hawaiian people and nation, recognized nationally and internationally.” The agency spends the bulk of its revenue on grants and programs to support its mission.

The use of OHA’s trust funds is limited to Hawaiians of 50 percent blood quantum, making general funds from the Legislature “critical as it allows OHA to provide support and assistance to Hawaiians in fulfillment of state law, which states OHA’s purpose as bettering the condition of all Hawaiians regardless of blood quantum.”

The agency, which has 163 employees, is led by its CEO, Clyde Namuo, and its board of trustees. Here’s a link to OHA’s organizational chart.

At times, OHA has claimed its employees are not public employees, nor subject to open records laws, because the bulk of its revenue comes from ceded lands, it says are not “public funds.”


OHA’s Office of the Administrator is organized into two branches: operations and beneficiary advocacy and empowerment. The operations branch manages internal operations, while the beneficiary advocacy and empowerment branch oversees OHA’s six program divisions: Hawaiian Governance Hale; Grants Unit; Native Rights, Land, and Culture Hale; Economic Development Hale; Education Hale; and Health, Human Services and Housing Hale. The office also oversees the Washington D.C. office, which focuses on Hawaiian issues at the federal level.

View its annual reports online.

Board of Trustees

OHA’s nine trustees are elected by the general public for four year terms. Four positions are representatives “at large” and the other five represent districts, including Hawaii Island; Maui, Molokai, and Lanai; Oahu; and Kauai and Niihau. Some of its responsibilities include policy setting and managing of the agency’s trust. Here’s a link to bios of OHA’s trustees.


When Hawaii became a state in 1959 all lands of the Hawaiian monarchy that were not being federally used were “ceded” to the state, about 1.8 million acres. Section 5(f) of the Admission Act held that all transferred lands being designated into a trust with the following purposes: support public education, improve the conditions of native Hawaiians, development of farm and home ownership, make public improvements, and provision land for public use.

At the 1978 Constitutional Convention, delegates packaged a group of provisions for the new Constitution of Hawaii for the benefit of Native Hawaiians, including the establishment of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

OHA held its first election on November 4, 1980 with a voter turnout of 43,000 Hawaiians. The first trustees were sworn in on November 27, 1980 by the late Hawaii Chief Justice William S. Richardson. The first nine members of the OHA Board of Trustees were Peter Apo, Roy Benham, Rodney Burgess, Frenchy De Soto, Thomas Kaulukukui Sr., Moke Keale, Joseph Kealoha, Walter Ritte, and Malama Solomon. The election of OHA trustees is now open to all voters, not just Hawaiians.


The Office of Hawaiian Affairs assists thousands of Native Hawaiians through a number of grants and loan programs as well as through service providers. OHA offers six different grant categories ranging from $10,000 to $100,000. In 2007, OHA revealed the Malama Loan Program for native Hawaiians naming First Hawaiian Bank as the strategic lender. The loan is offered for businesses, education, and home improvement purposes for amounts up to $75,000 at 5 percent fixed rates for five year lifespans. Read descriptions of OHA’s grants and loan programs online.


OHA Honolulu Headquarters
711 Kapi’olani Blvd., Ste. 500
Honolulu, HI 96813
Phone: (808) 594-1835
Fax: (808) 594-1865

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Office Of Hawaiian Affairs

December 2017

Friday, December 22

OHA Trustees’ Settlement Cost $879,000 In Legal Fees

Monday, December 4

OHA Settles Lawsuit That Pitted Trustee Against Her Colleagues

November 2017

Wednesday, November 8

OHA Sues State, UH Over ‘Longstanding Mismanagement’ Of Mauna Kea

October 2017

Tuesday, October 31

This May Be The Election When We Stop Ignoring OHA

Friday, October 20

OHA Money Will Go Directly To Hawaiian Charter Schools

September 2017

Monday, September 11

Reader Rep: Dig Deeper Into Peter Apo’s Misdeeds

August 2017

Thursday, August 31

OHA’s Peter Apo To Pay $25,000 For Ethics Violations

Thursday, August 17

How A Princess’s Embattled Fortune Could Become A Massive Native Hawaiian Charity

July 2017

Tuesday, July 25

$16K Gift To Pay OHA Trustee’s Legal Fees Raises Ethical Questions

May 2017

Wednesday, May 10

OHA Gets An F Grade For Telling You How It Spends Your Money

February 2017

Thursday, February 2

OHA Infighting Continues As Chairwoman Rowena Akana Is Ousted

January 2017

Tuesday, January 24

OHA Chair Says Allegations Against Her Are Unfounded

Wednesday, January 11

Chaos At OHA: A Power Struggle And Employee Accusations

Wednesday, January 4

OHA Board Votes To Buy Out Contract Of CEO Crabbe

November 2016

Tuesday, November 8

OHA Chair Lindsey Holds On To Seat, Akina Edges Past Apoliona

Thursday, November 3

Peter Apo: Native Hawaiian Or Not, Don’t Ignore OHA Races

September 2016

Wednesday, September 7

Can Spending Six Figures On PR Solve OHA’s Image Problem?

August 2016

Saturday, August 13

Two OHA Seats Will Head To A Nov. 8 Runoff

Thursday, August 11

Incumbents Look To Hold Off Reformers In OHA Trustee Elections

June 2016

Thursday, June 30

OHA CEO Crabbe Reappointed

March 2016

Friday, March 18

Office of Hawaiian Affairs Has 10 Employees In The Six-Figure Range

October 2015

Friday, October 30

Endless Infighting at OHA Starts To Cost Real Money

September 2015

Monday, September 21

OHA: Agency at a Crossroads Is Caught in a Power Struggle

August 2015

Monday, August 24

OHA Spent $4,785 on a Massive March With an Anti-TMT Flavor

April 2015

Thursday, April 30

OHA Board Rescinds Support for Thirty Meter Telescope

Thursday, April 9

Protesters Ask ‘Voice of the Hawaiian People’ to Stop Mauna Kea Telescope

February 2015

Thursday, February 26

Peter Apo: Why Does the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Exist?

Thursday, February 5

Peter Apo: The Hawaiians — Building a Nation and the Road Ahead

November 2014

Tuesday, November 4

Office of Hawaiian Affairs: Incumbents Fare Well

May 2014

Tuesday, May 6

More Than 130,000 Native Hawaiians Sign Up for Nation Building

November 2013

Friday, November 22

Lawmakers Scrutinize Office of Hawaiian Affairs Over Land Deals

September 2013

Friday, September 6

Auditor: Office of Hawaiian Affairs Purchase Violated Investment Policy

October 2012

Wednesday, October 24

After Akaka: The Next Generation of Native Hawaiian Leaders

Monday, October 22

Native Hawaiian Clubs ‘Colonizing the Continent’

Friday, October 19

Akaka to Alaska Natives: ‘Strength In Solidarity’

Friday, October 12

Cal Lee: I’ll Bring Teamwork to OHA

September 2012

Tuesday, September 4

Election Could Bring New Leadership to OHA

July 2012

Tuesday, July 31

Hirono: I Stood Up Against Democrats to Restore Native Hawaiian Funding

June 2012

Wednesday, June 27

OHA Race Is About Experience, Credibility

Monday, June 11

Kauai OHA Seat Is One Of The Year’s Hottest Races

April 2012

Friday, April 27

Civil Beat Poll – Does the Government Treat Native Hawaiians Fairly?

January 2012

Saturday, January 21

10 Must Read Stories From The Week Of Jan. 16 – 20

Saturday, January 7

Hawaii State Salaries 2012: Office of Hawaiian Affairs

November 2011

Friday, November 18

Ceded Land Deal Began With A Phone Call

Tuesday, November 1

White House: Waianae Has Most Native Hawaiians

October 2011

Tuesday, October 11

OIP to OHA — Again: Your Employees Are Public

August 2011

Wednesday, August 10

OHA Employees Were Public Last Year — But Not This Year?

March 2011

Friday, March 11

Bill Watch: Cultural Issues Not at Top of List for Hawaii Legislature

February 2011

Thursday, February 10

Senate to OHA: Live to Fight Another Day

Tuesday, February 8

Writing a $200 Million Check to Native Hawaiians

Tuesday, February 1

Are Further Protections for Burials Feasible?

January 2011

Wednesday, January 26

Environmental Groups Roll Out Legislative Agenda

December 2010

Friday, December 3

Open Iolani Palace to All? Some Native Hawaiians Say No Thanks

November 2010

Thursday, November 18

Civil Beat Shares Office of Hawaiian Affairs Salaries