IAHA, a Hawaii not-for-profit incorporated entity, is lead by Pōkā Laenui

What is the authority for your proposed model of governance and why?

The IAHA recognize the General Rules of the Right to Self-Determination[1] which accrue to all peoples and nations as contained through modern international law as the authority for our proposed governance model. The IAHA also supports the draft Independence Constitution by the ‘Aha Hawaʻi ʻŌiwi which has not yet been ratified by the Hawaiian Constituents due to the withholding of funding by OHA and State Legislature.

When was the IAHA founded or began to organize?

The IAHA was founded in 1980 and was formerly the Sovereignty for Hawaiʻi Committee.

What initiated the founding of the IAHA?

The IAHA was founded to initiate the promotion of Hawaiian affairs which were being ignored and not addressed by the political, social, economic, educational, and judicial systems of Hawaiʻi at the time.

What is the goal of the IAHA?

The goal of the IAHA is to advance the Hawaiian affairs in all of its manifestations.

What process is the IAHA utilizing to achieve their goal?

The advancement of Hawaiian affairs can be achieved in many ways such as education, health care, Hawaiian organizations and increasing their political power, and through obtaining greater support for the integrity of the Hawaiian nation in the international arena. The IAHA is supportive of all of these areas of advancement and does not believe in a dichotomy of separation or priority.

What path of governance does the IAHA propose?

The IAHA support both independence as well as federal recognition. We believe in the use of the conjunction “and” as opposed to “or” and see that the use of the wrong conjunction has resulted in the unnecessary division of our people. We believe that we can protect the rights of the Native Hawaiian people recognized by domestic laws of the U.S. and the State of Hawaiʻi without sacrifice to the international rights to self-determination which includes the choice to emerge or reemerge as an independent nation. This means that those rights which the U.S. and State of Hawaiʻi currently recognize for the Native Hawaiian people may continue under an independence model of governance. This is dependent on the decision made by that nation. It also means that Native Hawaiian people may very well have increased rights, such as the management and control over all of the “ceded” or stolen lands held by the U.S. during the period of occupation.

What will your proposed form of government look like?

We support the independence model as designed by the ʻAha Hawaiʻi ʻŌiwi (“AHO”). The model has not been finalized by AHO, but we support the current version of this model.[2] This model consists of two basic structures which make up the Hawaiian National government: the Kumu Hawaiʻi, which is composed of Native Hawaiians, and the second is the General Citizenry which is made up of people of all races who choose to secure their Hawaiian nationality.

What is the criteria for citizenry under the AHO Independence model?

For the Kumu Hawaiʻi house, only native Hawaiians, regardless of blood quantum, are eligible. For the General Citizenry, descendants of Hawaiian Kingdom nationals/subjects and who also meet the naturalization laws of the Hawaiian nation[3] which is a combination of residency in Hawaiʻi as well as a naturalization test. The AHO model does not take a stand on the question of dual citizenship, however we disfavor dual citizenship for questions of Hawaiian Citizenship.

What are the voting criteria under the AHO Independence model?

For Kumu Hawaiʻi, you must be a Native Hawaiian and are subject to the rules to be established by the Kumu Hawaiʻi. For the General Public, you must be a Hawaiian citizen and subject to the specific rules to be established by the government. Voting requirements are to be specific for various purposes such as a plebiscite or election. The IAHA supports the AHO independence model draft and would advocate further refinements[4] to that draft as reflected at

What are the criteria to run for office under the AHO Independence model?

The Kumu Hawaiʻi would require that the individual be of native Hawaiian ancestry and subject to other rules of the Kumu Hawaiʻi, and for the General Public, there is no ethnic or racial criteria.

What would the education system look like under your model of governance?

If you plan for one year, plant Taro (a food crop harvested in a year).

If you plan for ten years, plant Koa (a large tree used for canoe building).

But if you plan for a hundred years, teach the children.

(Hawaiian proverb, similar to Chinese as well as ancient Greek) Public Education for everyone in Hawaiʻi would be available and mandatory for all children up to the 12th grade or age 18. A program of life-long education would be encouraged. It would be influenced by the deep culture of OLA. Within the Kumu Hawaiʻi, the exclusively native Hawaiian branch of government, its education program should be based upon the following concept:

Education should serve, as a primary purpose, to continue the consciousness of our people as a people. Unless we are able to maintain this continuity of consciousness, we die! Sure, we may become good doctors and lawyers, we may become teachers and business people. But who are we if we don’t know who we are? If we have no continuity of consciousness, we become mimics of someone else, borrowers of another’s personality shaped by another’s history and cosmology.

What would the health system look like under your model of governance?

Health as defined by the World Health Organization is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”[5] Its objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”[6] So it should be for the Hawaiian nation.

As we deal specifically with the native Hawaiian “race” of people, we have a particular concern. If we strip aside the philosophical, spiritual, intellectual and emotional aspects of the Hawaiian race, then it is the oldest to the youngest individual alive today who has flowing in his or her body the blood of ancestors who populated these islands before our discovery of James Cook. This is the biological definition. We should address the health of the Hawaiian people in the most comprehensive way by recognizing the following four characteristics of our people.

The first characteristic is the continuum of a people. This means that health services for the Hawaiian race must address elements of history and tradition, art forms, literature, and language in order for a people to maintain their health.

The second characteristic is the indivisibility of the Hawaiian people and their traditional territories. In the Hawaiian language, we commonly use the term ʻāina which can mean not only the land but the source of all sustenance of the human person. To separate a people from that sustenance is tantamount to genocide The health of the Hawaiian people cannot be addressed without addressing their continual need for `aina.

The third characteristic of the Hawaiian people is the individual and collective character. People often believe that by addressing the individual, the collective is well taken care of. That is the philosophy of protection behind the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights. To address the health needs of a race, their collective needs must be given just as much attention as their individual needs. Their customs and traditions must be preserved; their religious practices must be honored; their system of social organization must be respected.
The fourth characteristic of Hawaiian race is free will. Oftentimes, people working with Hawaiians do not appreciate this characteristic which is held very preciously by Hawaiians. Oftentimes, health providers attempt to impose their will upon the patients they serve. This can result in a Hawaiian who accepts the medication, listens to all the instructions on how to take it, but goes home and never uses it because it was never his decision to take the medicine. His politeness prevented him from confronting the physician with questions or objections but that politeness certainly did not mean agreement. Only when his spirit is ready to accept good health and he accepts suggestions as his own and believes it is the way to good health, will such a patient conform to treatment.

How will economic self-sufficiency be achieved under your model of governance?

Economic self-sufficiency is secondary to a larger question of an economic model to be pursued by the Hawaiian nation. In this model we must find a way to integrate peace, environmental sanity, cultural & religious values, human rights, and respect for ʻāina. We should seek to achieve not necessarily an ever-increasing gross national product but an ever improving human condition. The approach to the development of Hawaiʻi’s economy must begin not from an assessment of the monetary flow between Hawaiʻi and the United States of America, Japan, and other foreign countries; nor the assessment of monetary flow within Hawaiʻi and its people. The place of the human being is central to economics. The study of Hawaiʻi’s economy must begin through the eyes of a hungry child. We believe and advocate for a deep culture of OLA. Upon this culture, we should build our economic system.[7] What would be the land base under your proposed model of governance?

Jurisdiction of the Hawaiian Nation would extend to the Hawaiian archipelago as well as the 200 mile economic zone as defined by the Law of the Sea Convention.[8] It would include as well, those lands taken by the United States as a result of the intrusion to Hawaiʻi’s self-determination, including Kalama atoll. We would review and negotiate with other countries that now hold what had previously been within the jurisdictional inventory of Hawaiʻi including the Sinkian islands which now make up the Solomons.

What kind of natural resource management systems/strategies would be implemented?

We would maintain initially the current system which the State of Hawaiʻi has adopted, making changes as we make the conversion to our renewed independence.

What have been the outcomes or outputs of the IAHA thus far?

We have provided valuable information and guidance to the movement for Hawaiian independence to the native Hawaiian people, to the general Hawaiʻi public, to the U.S. audience, as well as to the international community. We carried on a campaign beginning in the 1970s of responding to colleges, high schools, organizations throughout Hawaiʻi to speak to various classes on the topic.

We have raised the topic of Hawaiian sovereignty beginning in 1977 in the State Circuit Court where we challenged the jurisdiction of the U.S. court and government over our Hawaiian nationals (State v. Pulawa). We brought the defense of five Hawaiian nationals arrested for interference with governmental operations following Hurricane Iwa on the grounds that Makua belongs to the Hawaiian nation and was stolen by the U.S. in the ceded lands charade of land transfer. These cases and many more were organized and publicized to give the public an understanding and appreciation of the issues of Hawaiian sovereignty.

We initiated general public gatherings including Sovereignty Sunday events, was an active member of “Of Sacred Times and Sacred Places and held live public broadcasts on Hawaiʻi Public Radio at Iolani Palace, University of Hawaiʻi law school, and at the main studio in Honolulu since 1991. We continue to do weekly radio broadcasts entitled Hawaiian Potpourri on radio station KWAI 1080 AM, currently spending 4 hours a week, Saturdays from 4 – 6 p.m. and Sundays from 7 – 9 a.m. in a talk show format. We also broadcast two shows weekly on Television station ʻŌlelo Channel 54 entitled “2nd Glance” normally scheduled Mondays 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays 7:30 p.m. as well as other specials intermittently.

We have published numerous papers on various topics of Hawaiian sovereignty, and have placed such papers on our web site at

We have participated in the international arena by advocating for indigenous peoples rights, using the venue of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples (WCIP) in which Poka Laenui acted as the political spokesperson and vice-president for the WCIP. He has been one of the early architects of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as well as the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s convention on the right of indigenous peoples, ILO Convention 169 in which he acted as the ILO’s Indigenous Expert on that convention.
The “outcome” of these various outputs must be measured along with the contribution of many others in the advocacy of Hawaiian sovereignty. Some of the outcomes specific to our organization include the very early discussions of sovereignty, the non-racial aspect of this human right, clarifying how international law and domestic law intersects in this important question, a description of the process of colonization and of decolonization, discerning the difference between mere occupation and of colonization in Hawaiʻi, introduction of the concept of the deep cultures of D.I.E. and O.L.A., and the need for shifting the discussion from “or” to “and” in the choices between integration and independence.

How would your model affect life as we know it today?

Freedom. As an independent nation, Hawaiʻi would have control over our population, and of migration. We would have control over the militarization of Hawaiʻi and the return of massive land areas to Hawaiian management, the clean-up of the super-fund sites including Lualualei, Pu`uloa, and Wahiawa. Should we decide to terminate or reduce U.S. military presence in Hawaiʻi, we would see a dramatic decrease in our population, freeing much of our natural and public utilities for local use. We envision land reform in Hawaiʻi, looking at our islands and ocean through the eyes of Pacific Islands. Island perspectives differ from continental perspectives, seeing island land as an important community resource and not merely as investments. Residents of Hawaiʻi who own land, irrespective of their nationality would not lose their land. Transfer of real property title to non resident, non citizens shall be prohibited. There shall be no transfer of real property to non residents with the exception of citizens who establish residence in Hawai`i within five years from date of transfer.

As an independent nation, we would be in greater control over shipping and foreign trade to and away from Hawaiʻi. We would see many more cruise ships landing into Hawaiʻi because of the elimination of the Jones Act.[9] As an independent nation, we would be in better control over Tourism. We would be able to eliminate the “foreign bubble” which controls too many tour packages in Hawaiʻi and “ice out” the local tourism-dependent trades by locking in all of such tour packages within and among their own associates. We could develop our postal service and begin the printing of our own Hawaiian postage, even to the extent of creating a stamp collection market under the office of the Hawaiian postmaster. We could assess proper tariffs upon all trade with foreign countries to add to the contribution of our national operations.

As an independent nation, we would eliminate the Federal Income Tax, Social Security Tax, and other charges levied by the U.S. government upon its citizenry. The Hawaiian nation would consider the management of such programs funded via such taxes, but those funding decisions would be made locally. We would advocate a turn-about to many of the current foreign affairs programs now being conducted by the USA including programs regarding immigration into Hawaii, use of Hawaii as a drop-off site for the Federal Marshall’s program of relocation of criminals from the U.S. Hawaiian taxation would probably continue to exist, but we would be on the pathway of opening new methods of financing our society’s programs by looking into our ocean resources and begin the reasonable management and royalty collection over such resources. Our ocean resources within the 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) demarcated by the Law of the Sea Treaty are to be considered as our national “commons”, a treasure we should all protect and which benefits we should all share in. This “royalty collection” would be an assessment for all extractions out of this EEZ as a form of return for the taking from our national treasure. We would examine our natural resources found in our former Hawaiian government and crown lands and assess how such resources can be redirected to support of the Hawaiian nation.
Under an independent Hawaiian nation, our organization would encourage a policy of not allowing the non-citizen population to exceed 25%. Not included in this count would be students, tourists, and other transient visitors who remain in Hawaiʻi for less than one year.
In an independent Hawaiʻi, there will be a movement to greater use of the Hawaiian language. Over a generation, we would encourage all government employees to be fluent in both the English and the Hawaiian language. The result will be a greater appreciation for Hawaiian values and will encourage the future of Hawaiian development into the direction of OLA.

As time prevents me from further elaboration on this question, I will forego additional comments, but recommend a paper entitled “The 2035 Edition of the Traveler’s Guide to Hawaiʻi” found at our web site

Other important information about your hui:

We make no claim to being a government or to holding any special rank or position within the Hawaiian nation. We believe that an educated public is absolutely necessary for the proper and informed exercise of our self-determination.

[1] The principle of Self-Determination can be found in the charter of the United Nations, G.A. Resolution 66, 1514, and 1541, and the North American Declaration of Independence.

[2] The current draft of this constitution is available at the Native Hawaiian Convention website

[3] The IAHA believe there is only one Hawaiian Kingdom constitution followed by numerous amendments. The original constitution was the unwritten constitution of Kamehameha I, pono. Subsequent constitutions were attempts to express pono given the changing circumstances and struggles over time. The most recent laws regarding naturalization to Hawaii, i.e., prior to the 1893 overthrow, are the laws being referred to.

[4] The underlined provisions are additional recommendations to the draft. Poka Laenui, as chairman of the convention, undertook the drafting of those, additional recommendations which are now subject to further discussion and debate by the members of the convention.

[5] Constitution of the World Health Organization which was adopted by the International Health Conference held in New York from 19 June to 22 July 1946 by the representatives of 61 States. Located at and accessed on 29 July 2014.

[6] Constitution of the World Health Organization.

[7] See The Institute for the Advancement of Hawaiian Affairs “Sovereignty and the Hawaiian Economy,” available at

[8] Article 57 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Available at

[9] The Jones Act is a U.S. Federal Statute that requires that all ships that port at a U.S. port to be U.S. made and manned. U.S. Pub. L. No. 66-261, 41 Stat. 988 (1920).