Justice Delayed Is Justice Denied tells of the ongoing struggle to ensure that the State of Hawai‘i fulfills its commitments to the Native Hawaiian people stemming from the loss of their ancestral lands.

PLT pie chart

During the 2022 Legislative session, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) submitted a bill (HB1474 and SB2122) that called on the State of Hawaiʻi to fulfill its constitutional trust obligation and convey to OHA its proportionate share of Public Land Trust (PLT) revenues.

The 20 percent share of PLT funds to which OHA is entitled by law is not taxpayer money. PLT lands are former Hawaiian crown and government lands seized during the illegal overthrow which are now controlled by the state government. Revenues from the land includes funds generated by annual leases for the use of those lands, and by business activities conducted on those land.

At the time, revenue was estimated to be about $394.3 million per year. By law, OHA should have been receiving $78.9 million – 20 percent – for its Beneficiary and Community Investments. Instead, since 2006, state lawmakers allocated only $15.1 million per year to OHA, leaving some $63 million that should have gone to Native Hawaiians instead was used by the state for other projects and purposes. This violates the law.

The 2022 Legislature eventually passed Act 226 which increased the payment amount for OHAʻs pro rata share of the PLT revenue Specifically, the measure:

· Increased OHA’s interim annual pro rata from $15.1 million to $21.5 million, which, while an improvement, is far less than OHA’s request for $78.9 million annually.

· Allocated a one-time payment of $64 million to OHA, which reflected the difference between $21.5 million and the prior allocation of $15.1 million over a period of 10 years.

· Established an OHA-led working group to account for all ceded lands in the PLT inventory and for all income and proceeds from PLT, in order to determine the actual 20% pro rata share..

The working group is comprised of three members appointed by the governor and three members appointed by OHA trustees. Under the leadership of OHA Ka Pouhana Kūikawā/Interim CEO Colin Kippen, the working group continues to meet as of September of 2023.