The public will soon be able to provide input on what Honolulu’s political boundaries should look like after the Oahu Reapportionment Commission on Tuesday approved three district maps for consideration.

One map plan wouldn’t change the current district boundaries much. The other two map plans would have District 7, which stretches from Sand Island to parts of Kalihi, expand to Aiea, Halawa and take up most of the mountain ranges. Meanwhile on the Windward side, Kahaluu would belong to another district.

The public may testify and provide insight for the commission to consider during hearings on Oct. 7 and Oct. 11. The panel must complete the final map of the nine City Council districts by Oct. 26. 

The commission meets once every decade to deliberate on how to redraw nine Honolulu county districts based on the census data, which aims to make sure each district has roughly the same number of people. It also informs the public about which City Council member they will vote for in the 2022 elections. 

Unlike the state Reapportionment Commission, the Oahu commission will count military and out-of-state students. Military personnel and dependents make up 6.3% of Oahu’s population, while there are 6,589 nonresident students.

The Oahu Reapportionment Commission approved the Modified Existing District Map. Screenshot

“It’s keeping communities together,” Chairman James “Duke” Aiona said at the meeting. “You really have to take that into consideration. That’s a big part of the equation. It is about representation and the type of representation that they have.” 

A lot has changed since 2010. Oahu’s population increased by 6.6%, topping 1 million for the first time, according to the recently released 2020 census data. And most of the population growth occurred on the Leeward side, or District 1, which saw a 20.7% increase. 

City officials and commissioners have said the Leeward Coast will have a substantial change, although that was not reflected in the maps approved on Tuesday.

The commission approved two drafts of the Kaena/Makapuu map plans. They included one notable change that would expand District 7, which consists of Sand Island, Salt Lake and parts of Kalihi, to parts of District 6, which currently consists of portions of Makiki, downtown Honolulu, Kalihi valley and portions of Liliha. 

The other map approved was the Modified Existing Districts Plan, which would keep things essentially the same.

The Oahu Reapportionment Commission scrapped the Kaena Point plan. Screenshot

The commission scrapped the Kaena Point Plan, which would have drastically sliced District 2, which stretches from Wahaiwa to the North Shore, and District 3, which extends from Waimanalo to Kaneohe.

Nine people submitted written comments mostly in opposition to that plan, which would have broken up Kailua into different districts.



Ingrid Peterson, who has lived in Kailua for 66 years, told the commission that communities should be kept together. 

“The Kailua community should be in one district, not broken in half as in the Kaena Point Plan,” she said. “Waimanalo definitely should not be lumped with Hawaii Kai as in the Kaena Point Plan. The two communities are extremely different.”

“Waimanalo of course has a large Hawaiian population, and Kailua has a lot of Hawaiians, too. We must not dilute the Hawaiian community’s voices,” she added.

The Oahu Reapportionment Commission approved two drafts of the Kaena/Makapuu map plan. Screenshot

Those testifying on Tuesday were largely in favor of the Modified Existing Districts plan because it would make the least drastic change. 

The public will be able to testify remotely and email recommendations to the commission. The public also can play with the lines at Dave’s Redistricting, an online website that allows the public to personally redraw district lines for practice.

Support Civil Beat during the season of giving.

As a small nonprofit newsroom, our mission is powered by readers like you. But did you know that less than 1% of readers donate to Civil Beat?

Give today and support local journalism that helps to inform, empower and connect.

About the Author