Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, in partnership with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, designs and facilitates water law and advocacy trainings for homestead communities across our paeʻāina (archipelago). For so many Kānaka (Native Hawaiians), ola i ka wai, e mālama i ka wai, i mana i ka wai: fresh water is life and it is our kuleana (responsibility) to steward it for present and future generations, such that we are empowered by that life-giving resource. That was both our inspiration for and a central goal of this training series. Another objective is to overview Hawaiʻi’s legal and cultural frameworks governing water resource management and proffer specific strategies for homestead communities to advance the pono (appropriate) use and protection of wai (fresh water). Our I Mana i ka Wai trainings also seek to inform decisionmakers and the broader community about the history and rights of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and its beneficiaries.
In 2018 and 2019, ten workshops were offered on Molokaʻi, Maui, Kauaʻi, Lānaʻi, Oʻahu and Hawaiʻi Island. With the onset of the covid-19 pandemic, Ka Huli Ao transitioned these trainings online and modified them to meet emerging needs, including preparing for online advocacy before various decisionmaking bodies. In 2022, Ka Huli Ao resumed in-person trainings with a workshop in Kekaha, Kauaʻi. We now design and facilitate online, hybrid, and in-person offerings.