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Hale Pai
Pacific American-News Journal

`Okakopa - October 1996 Volume 2 Issue 10

 Native Hawaiian Politics Is Alive and Well in Hawai`i

by W.B. Laronal, Jr.

Politics doesn’t come easy for this writer but what I see happening in Hawai`i is invigorating. The Native Hawaiian community had the chance to re-elect or elect new trustees to the Office Of Hawaiian Affairs - OHA this November 5th. A major effort is being made to unseat many of the incumbents.

Hui Kali `Aina is a political party started by King David Kalakaua says David Kauahi Hui Kalai `Aina member. Hui Kalai `Aina has four candidates running for OHA trustee.

Na Lei Lokahi while not a political party has fielded four candidates also for OHA trustee.

Hui Kalai `Aina has four of its candidates in the next to final day of an island wide walk. The walk started at the Iolani Palace. Today, while driving in Nanakuli, I caught up with Walter Ritte and his wife Loretta as they were walking on the mauka side of Farrington Highway just down from Hawaiian Homestead Princes Kahanu estates. It was mid morning the temperature was in the 80’s.

I made a left turn across Farrington Highway and parked. I walked up to Walter and Loretta. Walter gave the hand held sign saying, "Walter Ritte for OHA Trustee" to Loretta. An occasional car would blow their horn or the occupants would give the "shaka" sign.

I asked Walter, "why he was running again for trustee of OHA?" Walter replied, "I’m wanting to continue working for the betterment of Hawaiians, now and in the future." After a few minutes Walter and Loretta were back walking, heading Diamond Head way towards Honolulu. Walter is a man of few words.

Further down the highway in the opposite direction towards Makaha, Na Lei Lokahi was preparing pa`ina for a candidates forum. Arriving just after noon people were gathered at the home of the Gomes’s under a big common mango tree a band was playing Hawaiian music. A few open sided tents with tables and chairs were set up to one side of the yard.

I had an opportunity to speak briefly with Colette Machado one of the four candidates endorsed by Na Lei Lokahi. Colette simply stated that she wants to share her experience, strength and hope for the future of the Hawaiian community; to contribute to realizing the mission of OHA through integrity and perseverance; and to put the needs of OHA beneficiaries before political agendas. Both Ritte and Machado are running for the Trustee seat on Moloka`i.

What this writer learned from the candidates running for OHA office was their commitment to making OHA pono.

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Last modified: February 28, 1998

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