OHA And Ka Huli Ao continue initiative to serve Native Hawaiian community

University of Hawaiʻi
Kapua Sproat, 8089567489
Assistant Professor, Law
Derek Kauanoe, 808 956 0836
Student & Community Outreach Coordinator, Law
Posted: Feb 18, 2014

Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law
Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (“OHA”) finalized an agreement with Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law to continue the Aʻo Aku Aʻo Mai Initiative (“Initiative”).  The Initiative was crafted to provide access to justice for Native Hawaiians through legal education and direct legal services on issues of importance to the Native Hawaiian community.  OHA committed $250,000 for Ka Huli Ao to:  (1) serve rural neighbor island communities through its legal clinics; and (2) facilitate workshops on the islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Maui, Molokaʻi, Hawaiʻi Island, and/or Lānaʻi on four legal primers written by Ka Huli Ao faculty and students on Water, Traditional and Customary Native Hawaiian rights, Iwi Kūpuna (Native Hawaiian burials), and Quiet Title.  The Initiative’s latest phase aims to expand the base of knowledge and support on these important issues by introducing these areas of law to those who want to better understand their rights and the overall legal and cultural landscape.

OHA and Ka Huli Ao first launched the Initiative in 2011 to produce a legal primer and support community outreach on Native Hawaiian land issues, with a focus on quiet title law.  Quiet title actions are a judicial method to determine title to land in which a court decides the interests of the various parties.  Quiet title lawsuits often arise when more than one party claims ownership, if there are boundary disputes, or when questions surface about who owns or should own the property.  Historically, many Native Hawaiians have lost title to land via this process.

In the first two years of the Initiative alone, Ka Huli Ao provided information and assistance to nearly 70 people, facilitated 15 community workshops/trainings, and educated 40 law students about quiet title, partition, and adverse possession.  Given this success, OHA and Ka Huli Ao are now focusing on other areas of Native Hawaiian Law. 

“The results of the Aʻo Aku Aʻo Mai Initiative have been extremely positive so far and we are honored to continue partnering with OHA in this important endeavor and to be able to expand the reach to other legal issues impacting Native Hawaiians.  Through this effort, we hope to create a lasting legacy that will benefit our community into the future,” explained Ka Huli Ao Assistant Professor Kapua Sproat

Established with federal funding in 2005 at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach, and collaboration on issues of law, culture, and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples.