Native Hawaiian Law Trainings

In partnership with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Ka Huli Ao hosts a free Native Hawaiian Law Training course for decisionmakers, including members of state and county boards, commissions, councils, and other bodies.  This training is focused on the trust obligations and duties of state and county decisionmakers regarding Native Hawaiian natural and cultural resources.  Specific subjects include:

  • Hawaiian History
  • The Public Land Trust
  • Traditional and Customary Native Hawaiian Rights
  • Water and the Public Trust Doctrine
  • Laws relating to Iwi Kūpuna (Native Hawaiian ancestral remains)
Professor Emerita Melody Kapilialoha MacKenzie opens our in-person Native Hawaiian Law Training in Kona, Hawaiʻi.

Signed by Governor David Ige on June 30, 2015, Act 169 requires members of certain state boards, commissions, and councils to attend the Native Hawaiian Law Training Course within twelve months of initial gubernatorial appointment. Since then, our Native Hawaiian Law Trainings have served over 1,000 people across Hawaiʻi pae ʻāina. Our guiding theme for these trainings are “Hahai Pono I Ke Ala Kukui Me Ka Huli Ao,” translated as “Pursue the Path of Enlightenment Through Justice.”  This ʻōlelo noʻeau encourages decision-makers to seek justice by upholding the state’s trust responsibilities in relation to natural and cultural resources that support the Maoli (Hawaiian) community.  It also recognizes that the state has commitments, as recognized in both federal and state law, to pursue a path that will lead to reconciliation with and justice for Hawaiians; a path that ultimately will benefit all those who call Hawaiʻi home. Our trainings also explore concepts of aloha and kuleana not only as important values to our collective society, but also as the underpinnings of participants’ duties and responsibilities.  

Given the ongoing pandemic, Ka Huli Ao shifted its Native Hawaiian Law Trainings to an online format. To date, we have hosted five online, synchronous training courses that sought to transcend physical distance and create pilina (relationships) with decisionmakers, staff, and community members. With a particular focus on practical, real-world advice, our trainings have featured a range of cultural and legal practitioners as well as elected and appointed officials who have direct experience carrying out their kuleana under Native Hawaiian Law.

Given our current kuleana, Ka Huli Ao currently hosts these trainings twice a year, typically once in the Spring/Summer and once in the Winter. Mahalo to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs for their ongoing support!

For more information about our upcoming trainings, please contact us at