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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


DATELINE: February 1, 2016, Honolulu, Hawai`i
CONTACT: Kelsey Meehan, (808) 591-9193, kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org

Hawaiian Aha Convention Does Not Represent the Public

Grassroot Institute President Keli’i Akina comments on opening of convention that will attempt to create a Native Hawaiian tribe 

HONOLULU, HAWAII–February 1, 2016–Despite a Supreme Court injunction that halted the race-based election sponsored by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs and the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission, government contractor Na’i Aupuni unilaterally transformed the election into an “everybody wins” scenario, seating everyone who had been on the ballot.  The resulting convention–the stated intent of which is to formulate a government for Native Hawaiians–begins today amid continued controversy over the actions of Na’i Apuni and OHA and whether any tribal entity developed from the meeting will be able to pass legal muster.

The lawsuit against the election is still ongoing and currently before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Native Hawaiian activists continue to protest the political aims of Na’i Apuni and OHA, questioning OHA’s management of funds intended for the betterment of Native Hawaiians.

“The Aha convention clearly does not represent the voices of Hawaii’s citizens in general nor of Native Hawaiians in particular,” stated Keli’i Akina, Ph.D., President of the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii and a plaintiff in the case against the election. “Whatever document or governing organization the delegates come up with will have no more force of law or moral authority than a wish list put together by any group of 150 or so individuals.  The participants in this convention have been misled by organizers if they believe that they are able to start a viable race based government. Their efforts are also at risk as the status of the Na!I Aupuni  process is still an open case before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals”

Dr. Akina continued, “The more than 6.5 million dollars of public funds that have been wasted on the Native Hawaiian roll and Aha convention have robbed Hawaiians of money that should have been spent on housing, education, jobs, and health services.”

A list of documents and filing associated with the case of Akina v. Hawaii can be viewed at:  http://new.grassrootinstitute.org/2015/10/akina-v-hawaii-the-documents/

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For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelsey Meehan at (808) 591-9193 or email kmeehan@grassrootinstitute.org.

About the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii:
Grassroot Institute of Hawaii is a nonprofit, nonpartisan research institute dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, the free market, and limited, accountable government throughout Hawai`i and the Asia-Pacific region.  Read more about us athttp://www.grassrootinstitute.org/
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About Grassroot President:
Keli’i Akina, Ph.D.,  is a recognized scholar, educator, public policy spokesperson, and community leader in Hawaii.  Currently, he is President/CEO of Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, a public policy think tank dedicated to the principles of individual liberty, free markets and limited, accountable government.  An expert in East-West Philosophy and ethics, Dr. Akina has taught at universities in China and the United States and continues as an adjunct instructor at Hawaii Pacific University.  Dr. Akina was a candidate for Trustee at Large of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs in the 2014 General Election run-off.