Saturday, June 06, 2020
Hawai'i Free Press

Current Articles | Archives

Friday, November 01, 2019
Hawaiians & the Economy: We're in The Same Boat as Everyone!
By Keli'i Akina PhD @ 7:46 PM :: 2050 Views :: DHHL, Economy, OHA, Cost of Living

Hawaiians & the Economy: We're in The Same Boat as Everyone!

by OHA Trustee Keli’i Akina, PhD, Ka Wai Ola, November, 2019

Whenever I visit mainland cities, I'm delighted to run into kama'aina. For example, when I go. to conferences in Las Vegas, I am frequently greeted with "Aloha. Uncle!" by hotel workers or employees in restaurants who hail from Hawai'i. On trips as far away as Washington, D.C., I've joined in celebrations with Hawaiian Civic Clubs and have been entertained by hula halau.

According to recent census figures, nearly half of all Hawaiians now live on the mainland. This growing trend reflects that Hawai'i now has one of the highest rates of long-term residents leaving home. While most leave to seek better opportunities, many of their stories are tinged with sadness.

For example, Chelsea, an OHA beneficiary, writes from Tacoma, Washington:

"Here I purchased a three-bedroom, two bath house with a garage, large yard and street parking for $280,000. It is six houses away from a great elementary school. My grocery bill is about $120 a week; it provides three full meals, snacks and extras daily. I have extra money and can help support my sister's kids." But as wonderful as Chelsea's new opportunities on the mainland are, she continues ... 'I wish we could go back. I miss the beach, the food, the sun, the people ... but realistically, what I see for myself and my family I no longer see in Hawai'i."

Ashlynn, another kanaka who has moved to the mainland, writes ...

"In Hawai'i, we could never think of owning a home, but here in Arizona we actually have a chance to be able to buy a home. As hard as it was to leave Hawai'i, we knew we had to do better for our daughter."

Chelsea’s and Ashlynn's stories underscore a serious problem. Even though Hawaiians have access to resources from OHA, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, the Ali'i trusts, and various government programs, we are still part of an economy that is not working as it should.

In Hawai'i, the cost of living, especially housing, makes it difficult for many to make ends meet. Solving the cost of living problem is essential to improving the conditions of the Hawaiian people. And to solve it, we have to recognize that it is not simply our problem, but everyone's problem. When it comes to the economy, we are all in the same boat. Therefore, we need to consider major solutions that make it possible for all to earn a reasonable living.

One solution worth mentioning is to increase the supply of housing to bring the cost of housing down. In Hawai'i less than 5% of all land is used for housing and urban development. A small but reasonable increase of that figure could enable construction of significantly more housing to address the high demand. There are ways to do this without damaging the environment nor limiting agriculture. Simply updating our land use policies according to best practices would make this possible. This is just one of many macro solutions that can benefit all residents.

The point I'm trying to make is that if we work to do good for all people of Hawai'i, we end up helping Hawaiians. The solutions Hawaiians need for housing, jobs, education and health care go well beyond the resources of Hawaiian serving organizations.

These solutions are not possible without a healthy overall economy. To use another boat analogy, the way to raise the water level of one boat is to raise the water level of all boats.

I'll be writing more on this in future columns.

E hana kakou / Let’s Work Together!



TEXT "follow HawaiiFreePress" to 40404

Register to Vote


808 Silent Majority

808 State Update AM940


ACA Signups Hawaii



Alliance Defending Freedom

Aloha Life Advocates

Aloha Pregnancy Care Center

American Council of Trustees and Alumni

American Mothers of Hawaii



Antonio Gramsci Reading List

A Place for Women in Waipio

Astronomy Hawaii

Audit The Rail

Ballotpedia Hawaii

Better Hawaii 

Blaisdell Memorial Project

Broken Trust 

Build More Hawaiian Homes Working Group

CAFR Hawaii

Castaway Conservative

Children's Alliance Hawaii

Children's Rights Institute

Christian Homeschoolers of Hawaii

Citizens for Recall

Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

Coffee Break

CSIS Pacific Forum

DAR Hawaii

DVids Hawaii

E Hana Kakou Kelii Akina

E Māua Ola i Moku o Keawe

Farmers For Choice Hawaii


Fix Oahu!

Follow the Money Hawaii

Frank in Hawaii

Front Page Magazine

Frontline: The Fixers

Genetic Literacy Project

Get Off Your Butts!

God, Freedom, America

Grassroot Institute

Hawaii Aganst Assisted Suicide

Hawaii Aquarium Fish Report

Hawaii Aviation Preservation Society

Hawaii Catholic TV

Hawaii Christian Coalition

Hawaii Cigar Association

Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling

Hawaii ConCon Info

Hawaii Credit Union Watch

Hawaii Crime Victims' Rights

Hawaii Crop Improvement Association

Hawaii Debt Clock

Hawaii Defending Marriage

Hawaii Defense Foundation

Hawaii Families for Educational Choice

Hawaii Family Advocates

Hawaii Family Forum

Hawaii Farmers and Ranchers United

Hawaii Farmer's Daughter

Hawaii Federalist Society

Hawaii Federation of Republican Women

Hawaii Firearm Community

Hawaii Fishermen's Alliance

Hawaii Future Project

Hawaii Gathering of Eagles

Hawaii History Blog

Hawaii Homeschool Association

Hawaii Jihadi Trial

Hawaii March for Life

Hawaii Meth Project

Hawaii's Partnership for Appropriate & Compassionate Care

Hawaii Public Charter School Network

Hawaii Rifle Association

Hawaii Right to Life -- Big Island

Hawaii Right to Life -- Oahu

Hawaii Shield Law Coalition

Hawaii Shippers Council

Hawaii Smokers Alliance

Hawaii State Data Lab

Hawaii Together

Heritage Foundation

HI Coalition Against Legalized Gambling



Hiram Fong Papers

Homeschool Legal Defense Hawaii

Honolulu Homeless Crisis

Honolulu Navy League

Honolulu Traffic

Horns of Jericho Blog

House Minority Blog

House Republican Caucus YouTube


Hump Day Report

I Vote Hawaii

If Hawaii News

Imua TMT

Inouye-Kwock, NYT 1992

Inside the Nature Conservancy

Inverse Condemnation

Investigative Project on Terrorism

Iowa Meets Maui

Jackson v Abercrombie

Jihad Watch

July 4 in Hawaii

Kahle v New Hope

Kakaako Cares

Kau TEA Party

Kauai Co GOP

Keep Hawaii's Heroes


Land and Power in Hawaii

Legislative Committee Analysis Tool

Lessons in Firearm Education

Lingle Years

Malulani Foundation

Managed Care Matters -- Hawaii

Malama Pregnancy Center of Maui

Mauna Kea Recreational Users Group

Middle East Forum--The Legal Project

Mililani Conservatives for Change

Military Home Educators' Network Oahu

Missile Defense Advocacy

MIS Veterans Hawaii

Muslim Brotherhood in America

NAMI Hawaii


National Christian Foundation Hawaii

National Parents Org Hawaii

National Wind Watch

New Zeal

NFIB Hawaii News

No GMO Means No Aloha

Northwest Economic Policy Seminar

Not Dead Yet, Hawaii

Now What I Really Think

NRA-ILA Hawaii

Oahu Alternative Transport

ObamaCare Abortion Hawaii


OHA Lies

Opt Out Today

Pacific Aviation Museum

Patients Rights Council Hawaii

PEACE Hawaii

People vs Machine

Pritchett Cartoons 

Pro-GMO Hawaii


Rental by Owner Awareness Assn

Republican Party -- Hawaii State

Research Institute for Hawaii USA

Rick Hamada Show

RJ Rummel

Robotics Organizing Committee

Save Dillingham Airfield

School Choice in Hawaii

SIFE Remington

SIFE W. Oahu 

Sink the Jones Act

Smart About Marijuana--Hawaii

St Marianne Cope

State Budget Solutions Hawaii

State Policy Network

Statehood for Guam

Tax Foundation of Hawaii

The Harriet Tubman Agenda

The Long War Journal

The Real Hanabusa

Time Out Honolulu

Trustee Akina KWO Columns

Truth About Trade & Technology - Hawaii

UCC Truths

Union Members Know Your Rights

US Tax Foundation Hawaii Info

Valor in the Pacific

VAREP Honolulu

West Maui Taxpayers Association

What Natalie Thinks

Whole Life Hawaii