Frequently Asked Questions about Hakuone

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How did the Hakuone (Kaka‘ako Makai) lands get transferred to OHA?

In 2012, 30 acres of land makai of Ala Moana Boulevard in Kakaʻako were transferred from the State of Hawai‘i to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) as a settlement for past-due Public Land trust revenue debt of $200 million for its use of ceded lands. This landmark settlement represented the end of one of the longest-running disputes related to the State of Hawai‘i’s use of the Native Hawaiian people’s ancestral lands. Spread across 10 parcels, the Kakaʻako lands are 14 percent of the total land area (221 acres) that makes up Kakaʻako Makai.

What has OHA done with Hakuone since acquiring it in 2012?

OHA completed policy development and initial planning for the area, including a major conceptual master planning effort that included statewide input gathering from the community. Land use restrictions and long-term leases for some parcels that OHA “inherited” when the land was conveyed from the state have slowed progress. Despite these challenges, the land currently generates about $4.5 million annually, a portion of which funds grants to the Native Hawaiian community.

What is OHA’s experience with land management?

OHA first acquired land in 1988 when Pahua Heiau in Maunalua was deeded to OHA. Since then, OHA has acquired and currently manages thousands of acres of legacy lands to protect our natural and cultural resources. These properties include Waimea Valley on O‘ahu, Wao Kele o Puna on Hawai‘i Island, and Palauea Cultural Preserve on Maui. OHA has a decades-long track record of effective and responsible land management.

Why does OHA want to develop several parcels as residential?

OHA seeks to balance commerce and culture to ensure the land will generate important revenues for the betterment of Native Hawaiians. Once developed, Hakuone has the potential to generate millions of dollars in additional funds that will be put into community-based programs to directly benefit Native Hawaiians. A full spectrum of housing options in a thoughtful, mixed-use community will allow OHA to realize this goal. The development of Hakuone will also bring a broad long-term economic benefit to local businesses and workers.

If OHA gets involved in residential development, won’t it result in public land sales?

Hakuone lands are Native Hawaiian trust lands, not public lands. In the spirit of Indigenous self determination, Native Hawaiians deserve the right to determine the use of their own lands, and OHA is seeking to acquire that right for Hakuone. OHA’s immediate goal is to obtain the ability to choose between all available options for its land. If successful, OHA will determine a development scenario that honors Native Hawaiian culture and creates the greatest value for its beneficiaries.

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Why did OHA accept the 2012 settlement without residential zoning?

After decades of fighting at the Legislature and in court to compel the state to pay its debt to Native Hawaiians, OHA believed that the 2012 settlement was the best deal it could get at the time – and into the foreseeable future. In 2012, after rejecting proposed settlements for four consecutive years, legislators were at odds about whether OHA should be allowed to build housing on the lands proposed for transfer to the agency. OHA decided that accepting the lands with the existing residential prohibition and committing to return to the Capitol for further discussions after conducting due diligence and planning, was the best option for OHA beneficiaries. These lands are clearly valuable, and despite being underutilized, they still generate revenue that helps to fund community grants.

How will development at Hakuone alter the cityscape?

Kaka‘ako has been evolving for decades from a light industrial area to a residential community, where kama‘aina can live, work and play. Hakuone supports the development of a cultural marketplace that invests in intellectual capital, seeking possibilities of exploration and innovation in education, health and political leadership to establish Kaka‘ako Makai as a safe, accessible and sustainable modern Hawaiian landmark in Honolulu’s urban core. 

Native Hawaiians should have the same opportunity to participate in the revitalization of this area with a mixed-use project that can complement existing development mauka of Ala Moana Boulevard, while adding a distinct Hawaiian cultural presence and identity.



Beyond residential, what else is planned for Hakuone?

OHA envisions a place where ancient trading practices of mauka (farmers) and makai (lawai‘a) converge; where keiki and kupuna thrive; where la‘au lapa‘au practices heal body, mind and spirit; and open spaces provide restorative healing: 

Cultural uses, activities and programming that will draw Kānaka Maoli and local people to gather in Kaka‘ako Makai will be encouraged. 

Businesses that focus on the social and economic wellbeing of Native Hawaiians; or those that promote health, sustainability, food security, alternative energy, and ocean research, will be welcomed. 

This will include medical facilities, entertainment, restaurants, farmers’, fish and craft markets, and retail spaces for the public, as well as enhancing surfing and ocean access, open spaces, ample low-cost parking, and providing family-oriented amenities (such as accessible care and services for keiki and kupuna) and community activities focused on the needs of local 


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How will Hakuone be developed?

Plans for Hakuone include 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and commercial uses; 2,100 residential units on Parcels E and F/G; 3,600 garage parking spaces; and 10 acres of open space.



How is OHA working to achieve this goal?

Kuilei Consulting, the Native Hawaiian led in-house developer consultant for OHA, is actively working with the Native Hawaiian community, the public, and real estate professionals to develop an inclusive master plan for Hakuone that will be finalized in 2023. This process – a key organizational priority for OHA – will help determine the best uses of the 30 acres for the betterment of its beneficiaries. OHA seeks to steward these lands in a way that fulfills its kuleana. 

OHA is working to lift a 2006 prohibition by the State Legislature that bans residential housing on these lands. Without a repeal of this prohibition, OHA will not be able to generate revenues consistent with a $200 million investment, which assumed a 400-foot building height limit for select parcels when appraised by the state at the time of the settlement. In addition, building much needed housing is an essential part of creating a vibrant heart of a community centered around a true live, work and play mission. 

Therefore, OHA is supporting legislation in the 2023 session that will allow for the development of housing of up to 400 feet in height on three of the 10 Hakuone parcels, with a focus on kama‘aina needs for affordable and residential workforce units at various income levels.

How will residential parcels affect open space at Kaka‘ako Makai?

OHA’s land at Kaka‘ako Makai is on either side of the Kaka‘ako Waterfront and Gateway parks, which are City & County of Honolulu properties. Kaka‘ako Makai public park lands total 47 acres – significantly more than the 30 acres under the Hakuone master plan. OHA is incorporating ample green spaces, community spaces and gathering spaces, along with shoreline access, safe pathways for families, and accessible parking, into its master plan. OHA’s 10 acres of planned open space are one-third of its total Kaka‘ako Makai lands.