Land of my Birth

Colette Y. Pi`ipi`i Machado

Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Moloka`i and Lana`i

Serving OHA Beneficiaries
for 12 years with...



Experienced Political Leader


Dedicated Community Service

Community-based Economic Development

Recognized Leader

Molokai - Land of My Birth

Learn more about Colette

Click here to see GSPD and Trustee Grants of $5,131,196.02
- Molokai and Lanai FY 2004 - FY 2008

Colette with her ohana. I love Moloka`i. It is my `aina of my birth: land of my kupuna kahiko...ancestor; and my kulaiwi...where I will remain when I hala.

Colette at Mokio, a 1600 acre land parcel that will be protected in perpetuity by the Molokai Land Trust.

Kawaikapu watershed on east Moloka`i will be protected from future developement by the Molokai Land Trust,
chaired by Colette Macado.

The well being of Native Hawaiian families and communities requires an expanding and sustainable resource base. Since the 2000 Rice vs. Cayetano U.S. Supremem court ruling, the OHA resource base has constantly come under attack. Up until now, OHA has successfully defeated these challenges. We won a major victory on January 31, 2008, when the Hawaii State Supreme court ruled that the ceded land can no longer be sold.

OHA has made major strides in negotiations with the State of Hawaii over past due revenues. In the past 2 years, OHA acquired the first two major parcels to be land banked for the future Native Hawaiian sovereign government - 25,856 acres at Wao Kele O Puna, Hawaii an dthe 1,800 acres Waimea Valley. OHA has just signed a 30-year commitment with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to provide $3 million a year to place beneficiaries on their land.

Click here to see GSPD and Trustee Grants of $5,131,196.02
- Molokai and Lanai FY 2004 - FY 2008

Can We Keep Moloka'i, Moloka'i?
By Trustee Colette Y. Machado

Editor's note:  This month, Trustee Colette Machado shares her column space with Davianna Pomaika'i McGregor. 

At a time when Hawaiian legacy lands are being eroded by challenges to the beneficiaries for whom the lands have been held in trust, the people of Moloka'i have a unique opportunity to receive back lands that were alienated to offshore owners. 

But this opportunity comes with challenges and risks for our subsistence resources.  And so, it is the community, especially the subsistence practitioners who need to decide if these risks are acceptable, and manageable.  (Since I am not a subsistence practitioner, I abstained on the vote)

In the land use planning process, most everyone did NOT support the proposal to develop 200 luxury homes at La'au Point.

Instead, everyone supported (1)  the extraordinary gifting of 26,000 acres with an income of $250,000; (2)  the permanent protection of another 29,000 acres by Moloka'i Properties Limited (MPL) to a Moloka'i Land Trust; (3) Management of the legacy lands of Naiwa and Ka'ana by cultural practitioners; (4) Reopening of Kaluako'i Hotel.  (5) Protecting the jobs of the MPL employees; (5) No additional allocation of potable water (6) Improvements to the MIS Water System.

Since the La'au Point Development was the condition to achieve all of this, the majority of those involved in the planning process reluctantly agreed to take a risk and include the La'au Development in the Master Land Use Plan.  BUT to minimize the risk, there a lot of conditions, restrictions and covenants for the design and development of the La'au subdivision (see article).

The key issue is protection of the subsistence and cultural resources of La'au.  We learned from Hale O Lono that once an area is opened up, the subsistence resources are exploited and depleted.  A lot of attention was given to regulating access to the Laau shoreline and managing and monitoring the marine resources for subsistence.  The key question is if these conditions and restrictions are adequate to protect our subsistence resources?  I hope that the community will carefully review these and make suggestions.

AND, the process is not over.  The Enterprise Community (EC) is funding the development of an Alternative to La'au Development by Clark Stevens of New West Land Company and Ian Robertson.  This alternative will be completed in time for the EC to make its decision on the completed Master Land Use Plan.  The community can be involved with the alternative and with the EC decision.

Ultimately, the proposed development will need permits from the county and the state and the community can give meaningful input at that point too.

A Letter to Molokai Residents and Newcomers Alike
By Trustee Colette Y. Machado

Aloha Kakou!  This month I share with you a letter written by a young man named Matt Yamashita.  After college on the mainland, Matt returned to Molokai and has become an active voice for his generation in the community.  For those of us who have been on countless lines with picket signs, here's something to ponder.

The 4 Agreements and Being Pono:
When I hear all the controversy and angry dialogue about John McAfee and other new residents moving to Molokai I realize that much of it is due to a lack of healthy communication between all sides.  I think we can begin to solve these problems of misunderstanding without having "big beefs" if we can all embrace four simple agreements.

These agreements are explained in a short little book written by Don Miguel Ruiz called the Four Agreements.  The book is based on ancient wisdom from the native Toltec culture of Central America.  Like most ancient wisdom, the agreements are simple yet profound.  Incorporate them into your life and I guarantee that you will spend less time being angry and more time finding solutions.

The first agreement is to "be impeccable with your word."  This means to say what you truly mean and to realize that the words you use create the reality you experience.  The ancient Hawaiian concept embraces this fully when it speaks of the mana held within language, "In language there is Life... In language there is Death."  When we speak negative words we attract negative people and circumstances.  When we speak positive words we attract positive people and circumstances. 

To all newcomers, please do not speak deceptively when you move to Molokai.  Speak positive words and be honest about who YOU really are, and people will respect you for it.  And, to the people of Molokai, we are pretty good at saying how we feel, but let's try harder to be positive with our words so that we can build up the Pono that keeps our island alive. 

The second agreement is "don't make assumptions."  This means don't think that you know anything outside of yourself.  Everyone's reality is different, so we cannot think that we ever really understand other people or their paths.  Therefore, we really have no right to judge others.  Neither should we have expectations about how things or people should or might be.  Not assuming also means being willing to ask honest questions and searching out answers for our selves. 

If you are new to Molokai, please do not assume that you understand the way we live or think or that we are one way or another.  Try to come only with an open mind and honest words and the truth will reveal itself in time.  And, to the people of Molokai, this is what we are supposed to be best at...Aloha.  Having Aloha means not assuming, it means embracing all people with love and allowing them to be who they are so that they can show their true colors.  When our true colors surface we understand each other better and can communicate more effectively.

The third agreement is "don't take anything personally."  In a small community we are often the subject of rumors or hearsay, this is because some people assume things and do not watch their words, but we cannot get angry when this happens to us.  To take something personally is to lend mana to it.  If you get angry about something that is untrue or said in spite, you empower the negativity behind it.  This might be the most difficult to practice of the 4 agreements, but it is the one that will keep you free of the nastiness of others and allow you to keep yourself positive. 

Newcomers really need to understand that the people of Molokai are not necessarily mad at them as individuals (we don't really know them!), rather we are concerned about the impact they might have if they don't try to understand and embrace our community.  Don't take it personally, our concerns about newcomers don't revolve around hate and prejudice, but stem from our knowledge of the workings of the world outside Molokai and our strong desire to protect and perpetuate our island culture, our tightly knit community lifestyle, our Hawaiian values, and the health and wealth of our natural resources.  Ultimately, newcomers and locals alike need to make an effort to understand each other’s concerns and perspectives without feeling threatened and angry by each other on a personal level.  We will find clarity and answers much quicker if we do not create self-centered ego battles out of these issues.

The fourth and final agreement is "always do your best." This means listen to your na'au and act in a manner that represents your best positive effort without using harmful words, making assumptions, or taking things personally.  Always know that there is a better solution to be found, a clearer understanding to be had, a truer effort to be made, and make it your desire to find it. 

When you live on Molokai you are equal with everyone.  More money, more fame, more success, or more power doesn't mean your doing things any better than anyone else on this island.  You are only as good as your actions, only as successful as the people you share this island with, only as loved as you are willing to love, and only as healthy as your community and the natural environment in which you always do your best to be your best as a loving human being and as a humble caretaker of this island.

I suppose the four agreements are basically another ancient culture's way of defining what is Pono.  I just wanted to share these agreements to remind everyone of what we all already know.  Pono is in all of us... no matter the creed, color, or place of birth.  Pono is the Creator's imprint within us all... and it is good, humble, and righteous.  Write the four agreements down, practice them, and find the Pono within... then trust it to guide us to the solutions that we need.

Colette at Puu Kaeo, an ancient adz quarry discovered near Mokio. As president of the Molokai Land Trust, Colette will ensure the Puu as well as 1600 acres of north shore on
Molokai in perpetuity.

View of shoreline from the top of Kawaikapu watershed that will remain the same into perpetuity because of Colette's leadership.

Aka`ula School Opens on Molokai
By Trustee Colette Y. Machado

A proud group of Molokai teachers, parents and local officials celebrated the opening of Moloka`i's newest educational endeavor- Aka`ula School.  Guided by its motto, "Learning and Leading together", the school observed opening ceremonies on August 13, 2004.  Parents prepared a luau for the occasion and students sang their theme song filled with words that reflected a deep aloha for Moloka'i and its beauty. 

Aka`ula School is located in Kaunakakai town, at the Kahua Building in a way, you could say we are an `urban school,` said Head of School Vicky Newberry.  Several food establishments located nearby have developed lunch specials for the students, adding to the local economy.

Currently the school has an enrollment of forty-six (46) students in grades five (5) through eight (8).  More than half of the students are in the sixth and seventh grades. The school employs three (3) full-time teachers and one education assistant. Students were accepted on a first come first serve basis for each grade level. School officials plan to expand slowly to eventually accommodate 160 students in grades 5-8. Currently more than seventy percent (70%) of the students are Hawaiian or part-Hawaiian and about twenty-five percent (25%) have special learning needs.

The curriculum at Aka`ula combines traditional teaching with progressive techniques. They cover reading, writing, mathematics, science, history, art, music, foreign languages (a quarter of German, Hawaiian, Spanish), and physical education. The signature of the school is the award-winning PRISM Project which is an environmental science program that investigates and evaluates environmental issues and actions. Through this curriculum, students select and investigate an environmental issue on Molokai. The investigation includes collecting and analyzing data, and writing action plans based on the data. Most of the investigations also touch on cultural concerns. Past PRISM investigations have provided data on fishponds, hunting, and solid waste.

At Aka`ula, the focus is on project based instruction and getting involved in the community. Parents of students are required to volunteer ten hours each quarter and will be asked to assist with after school homework help, cleaning classrooms, and working in the front office. Parents are active partners in the school which helps build the school family. Aka`ula also offers an after school program that includes homework help, special interest clubs, and enrichment activities.

A special program offered to students is an in-school employment service complete with application process, interviews, and evaluations on job performance.  Students also participate in the community programs and projects like attending Aha Ho`okumu - Molokai's Native Hawaiian Education Island Council meetings. School officials believe in and try to incorporate "Na Honua Mauli Ola," Hawaii Guidelines for Culturally Healthy and Responsive Learning Environments.

Aka`ula School has received funding from a number of different resources.  The school is a project of the Molokai Enterprise Community and works in close collaboration with Ke Aupuni Lokahi, their governing board. A grant from Ke Aupuni Lokahi provided the school with money for start up expenses.  "We are very proud of that partnership," said Vicky Newberry.  Other contributors include: Tides Foundation, Alexander and Baldwin, Watamull Foundation, student tuition ($1000 per student per year), a founder's program, and individual contributions. The school has also been gifted with many used items including twenty-two computers, which were upgraded and connected to the internet by a parent.  The rest of the money will be raised through signature events; a silent auction and dinner, an annual drive, and perhaps a golf tournament.

Congratulations to Aka`ula School's Board of Trustees, Administrators, parents and students.  Best wishes as you work with the community to build a tradition of educational excellence on Molokai in a way that is culturally and environmentally sensitive.

Colette Machado
Office of Hawaiian Affairs
Moloka`i and Lana`i
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