OHA and Ka Huli Ao Center at Law School to continue Initiative

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Kapua Sproat, (808) 294-0182
Associate Professor, Ka Huli Ao, William S. Richardson School of Law
Posted: Oct 9, 2015

Kapua Sproat
Kapua Sproat

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (“OHA”) has finalized an agreement with Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law at UH Mānoa’s William S. Richardson School of Law to continue the Aʻo Aku Aʻo Mai Initiative (“Initiative”).  This Initiative was created to provide access to justice for Native Hawaiians through legal education and direct legal services on issues of importance to the Native Hawaiian community.  OHA has committed $150,000 for Ka Huli Ao to offer a minimum of four legal clinics over the next two years.

This latest phase of the Initiative aims to expand the base of knowledge and support on issues impacting OHA beneficiaries and Hawaiʻi’s natural resources, especially those in rural, neighbor island communities.  For example, during the Fall 2015 semester, the Environmental Law Clinic is offering free workshops and informational assistance to more than eighty community members on Maui who are participating in an administrative trial without the assistance of an attorney. 

OHA and Ka Huli Ao first launched the Initiative in 2011 to produce a legal primer and support community outreach on Native Hawaiian land issues, with a focus on quiet title law. Quiet title actions involve a judicial method to determine title to land through which a court decides the interests of the various parties. Quiet title lawsuits often arise when more than one party claims ownership, if there are boundary disputes, or when questions surface about who owns or should own the property.  Historically, many Native Hawaiians have lost title to land via this process.

In the first two years of the Initiative alone, Ka Huli Ao provided information and assistance to more than 150 people, facilitated 14 community workshops/trainings, and educated 40 law students about quiet title, partition and adverse possession. Given this success, OHA and Ka Huli Ao are now focusing on other areas of Native Hawaiian Law. 

Explained Ka Huli Ao Associate Professor Kapua Sproat, “The Aʻo Aku Aʻo Mai Initiative has already produced significant benefits for Hawaiʻi’s people and resources. We are honored to continue partnering with OHA in this important endeavor and are thrilled to expand our reach to other legal issues that have an impact on Native Hawaiians, especially those in rural communities. Through this Initiative, we hope to create a lasting legacy that will continue ā mau loa."

Added Richardson Law School Dean Avi Soifer, “This is yet another example of the crucial role played by Ka Huli Ao through its community outreach. They do extraordinary work in many other realms as well, such as in their teaching and scholarship, including the recent publication of their major treatise, Native Hawaiian Law."   

Established in 2005 at the William S. Richardson School of Law, Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law is an academic center that promotes education, scholarship, community outreach, and collaboration on issues of law, culture, and justice for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific and Indigenous peoples. 

For more information, visit: https://www.law.hawaii.edu/