Editor’s note: For Hawaii’s Nov. 3 General Election, Civil Beat asked candidates to answer some questions about where they stand on various issues and what their priorities will be if elected.

The following came from Colette Machado, candidate for Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees Molokai resident. The other candidate is Luana Alapa.

Go to Civil Beat’s Elections Guide for general information, and check out other candidates on the General Election Ballot.

Candidate for Office of Hawaiian Affairs Molokai Trustee

Colette Machado
Party Nonpartisan
Occupation OHA trustee, grassroots organizer
Residence Pukoo


Community organizations/prior offices held

State Land Use Commission; Hawaiian Homes Commission; Kahoolawe Island Reserve Commission; Molokai Island Burial Council; Hui Alaloa, member; Protect Kahoolawe Fund, treasurer; Protect Kahoolawe Ohana, kua; Malama Manae, po’o; Kakoo Kawela, member; Ka Ohana O Kalaupapa, board member; Molokai Enterprise Community, board member; Molokai Land Trust, president.

1. What do you see as the most pressing issue facing Native Hawaiians?  What will you do about it?

One of the greatest issues facing Native Hawaiians is the ability to afford  to continue to call Hawaii home.  Native Hawaiians need to be able to achieve economic self-sufficiency, have access to quality affordable housing, and be able to continue to access and malama our aina and wai resources for future generations.  Our keiki deserve to grow up knowing that they can thrive in Hawaii.

I have worked to advance the needs of our lahui for several decades and have a record in working successfully with community leaders and elected officials. I will continue to take these issues to other elected officials to work on sustainable long-term solutions.

As I have been, I will continue to be straightforward and honest in my approach and in the way I work with others. I will continue to stand up for what I believe is right, and give a voice to people who feel they are not being heard.

2. What would you do to change how OHA is run?

As an incumbent candidate, I have worked hard to increase transparency and efficiency at OHA throughout my career. Since the release of the mandated state auditor report of OHA in February 2018, I have been committed to incorporate effective policy changes which allow for open and transparent disclosure by OHA’s CEO and administration.

As the chair of OHA’s Ad Hoc Committee on Grants and Sponsorships, I have been a supporter of policies which ensure transparency and fairness in OHA’s grants awarding. I will work to ensure that OHA can continue to increase its offerings in grant programs to beneficiary serving organizations who serve our communities.

3. What would you do to bridge the gaps within the Native Hawaiian community over issues like construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope or development of energy projects?

Everyone is entitled to their own manao. Our ability to respect each other and show aloha despite disagreeing is important to maintain a balance. However, Native Hawaiians have, for far too long, been ignored by people with decision-making authority.

Specifically regarding Mauna Kea, the State of Hawaii has not been a good steward. It has failed to malama the mauna. Not only has it mismanaged the mauna, it has also failed to protect the rights of Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners. They have failed us, the people.

It is important that Native Hawaiians are assured that rights of access and cultural practice are guaranteed.  Further, there should be a limit against commercial permits that conflict with cultural practices.

4. Do you support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope atop Mauna Kea? Why or Why not?

Aole. I do not support the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea. The construction plans as proposed dominate the mauna and would be detrimental to the sacredness of this wahi pana, this place special to Native Hawaiians.

5. Do you support OHA providing financial aid to Mauna Kea protestors?

Yes. It was important that OHA support the safety and well-being of the protectors by providing financial support for those purposes. I voted in support of this aid.

6. What role should the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands play in reducing homelessness?

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands should increase the amount of leases awarded and continue to settle lessees and their families on the home lands. In addition, the department should increase opportunities for financial support of loan payments as well as financing home ownership opportunities. I also believe the department should provide financial literacy training opportunities for all lessees.

These efforts combined would greatly contribute to providing Native Hawaiians with a pathway to homeownership and in contributing to a reduction in homelessness.

7. Why do you think Hawaiians are disproportionately represented in our prisons and jails?  What can be done about it?

I believe that Native Hawaiian prisoners, paahao, are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system in part due to the generations of trauma our people have faced as a result of being displaced from their lands and in systematic oppression we continue to face.

Preventative measures are needed early on. Children of paahao are at risk for intergenerational incarceration because of their higher interactions with the criminal justice system. Early intervention is possible by providing adequate funding for education and other programs which service at-risk youth.

Further reform is needed in the criminal justice system to incorporate cultural values of Native Hawaiians, which includes a full implementation of the recommendations of the 2012 Native Hawaiian Justice Task Force.

8. What are your views regarding Hawaiian self-determination? 

The Native Hawaiian people have never relinquished their right to self-determination. There needs to be parity in the government-to-government relationship between the Native Hawaiian people and the U.S. government, on par to the relationships already extended to other indigenous people of the United States.

It is pono and it is long overdue.

9. What other important issue would you like to discuss here?

The State of Hawaii must revisit and remove the cap placed on public land trust revenues intended for the betterment of the Native Hawaiian people. Although Native Hawaiians are entitled to 20 percent of public land trust revenues as codified in the Admissions Act, the funds for Native Hawaiians have been capped at less than that.

It is time for the Legislature to enact legislation that removes this cap and provides Native Hawaiians with the amounts they are entitled to under the Admissions Act.

Lastly, I want to stress how important it is for all who call Hawaii home to make their voices heard through the power of their vote. I mana ka leo. There is power in your voice.