The Office of Hawaiian Affairs returned to the state more than $2 million owed to it from various departments that use certain ceded lands in Hawaii.

OHA Office of Hawaiian Affairs signage.

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs returned $2 million to a trust fund in 2019.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The returned funds exceeded an annual cap of $15.1 million.

The state departments are required to pay $15.1 million each year to OHA, but last year they transferred $17.1 million, according to a report from the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Each year, OHA returns some of that revenue from ceded lands, former lands of the Hawaiian Kingdom, back to a state trust fund.

The departments are actually required to transfer 20% of all revenue from ceded lands to OHA.

OHA has pushed lawmakers to either raise the cap, or eliminate it and allow the office to collect the full 20% of ceded land revenues owed to it under the law.

Last year, a proposal to raise the cap to $35 million and give OHA back pay failed to clear the Legislature.

We need your help . . .

Our small newsroom believes wholeheartedly that news and information is a public service – not something to be hidden behind paywalls or diluted by ads. Your donations ensure that our reporting remains free and accessible to all communities, regardless of a person’s ability to pay. For a limited time become a Civil Beat donor and we’ll throw in a limited-edition Civil Beat t-shirt!

About the Author