The long wait for a plot of land came to an end today for 16 Native Hawaiian residents of Lanai who received vacant lots from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands where they can build homes of their choice.
Lot selection took place at Hale Kupuna O Lanai in Lanai City, and among those offered a lot was Solomon Kaho‘ohalahala, who traces his lineage back several generations on the island.
“To be given an opportunity to have homelands on an island that is 90 percent owned by a corporation, that it is very important,” Kaho‘ohalahala said. “More importantly we are fulfilling a commitment to the kupuna that their children and their grandchildren and their moʻopuna yet unborn will be recipients of this kind of program that was intended for native Hawaiians.”
The 16 lots are on Kamoku Street and Kamoku Place within a DHHL subdivision of 45 lots. The department awarded the first 29 lots there in 2004.
“The vacant lots allow families to choose what’s best for them,” said William Aila, chairman of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. “It fulfills a vision of Prince (Jonah) Kuhio in rehabilitating the beneficiaries of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.”
DHHL, which has 50 acres on Lanai and plans to develop another 79 lots on the island.
“Today we are fulfilling that vision of our kupuna to now put our families on these lands here on Lanai,” Kaho‘ohalahala said, “so I’m very, very happy and I’m sure our kupuna who are looking down are very happy to see that their own mo‘opuna are going to be the ones receiving their places here on Lanai.”
Today’s lot awards are among 395 planned statewide this year. DHHL intends to prepare and award more than 1,300 lots over the next five years.