POSTED: 9:04 p.m. HST, Nov 6, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 10:37 p.m. HST, Nov 6, 2012
Dan Ahuna, a 44-year-old educator and coach, prevailed in a crowded field vying to replace retiring trustee Donald Cataluna on the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.
“It is with great humility and confidence that I accept the endorsement of the people of the state of Hawaii,” Ahuna said tonight. “In the coming months, I’ll be working hard to prepare myself and staff for this great leadership role.”
Ahuna had 12.9 percent of the vote, followed by Haunani Pacheco with 6.6 percent and Kanani Kagawa Fu, with 6.1 percent, in a field of 11 candidates. Roughly half of the ballots cast left blank the race for the Kauai Resident Trustee seat.
In other OHA races, incumbents fared well. Haunani Apoliona, a 16-year veteran trustee, turned aside challengers including coach Cal Lee and Molokai activist Walter Ritte.
Apoliona had nearly 23.8 percent of the vote, followed by 18 percent for Lee, 8.6 percent for Kelii Akina and 8 percent for Ritte in the third printout.
Two other incumbents, Robert K. Lindsey, Jr., of Hawaii island, and Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey of Maui, were leading in their races. The two are distantly related and met for the first time as OHA trustees.
Chairwoman Colette Machado, a Molokai resident, faced no opposition and was automatically reelected.
Voting for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs is statewide, with every voter eligible to cast a ballot in any OHA race, wherever they live. That makes it challenging for new candidates to get their names before voters. Five of the nine seats on the board were at stake this year.
Ahuna, a Kamehameha Schools graduate well known from his days as a football player at the University of Hawaii, now teaches at Kauai High School and is the father of four boys.
Carmen Lindsey, owner of Lindsey Realty, was appointed to OHA by the governor in January and says she wanted to stay on the board to offer her expertise in real estate. She is the owner of Lindsey Realty and a former land use and codes administrator for Maui County.
“I’ve worked really hard in the last 10 months and I could see that I could make a difference,” she said.