The first Maoli Thursday of the Spring 2022 semester: The Water Crisis at Kapūkakī: Law, Culture and Environmental Justice was held by Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law. The lunchtime forum was held on Zoom and featured Ernie Lau, the Manager and Chief Engineer of the Board of Water Supply and Camille Kalama, an attorney and founder of Kaʻohewai. The discussion was moderated by 3L, MJ Palau-McDonald.
As a champion for Honolulu County’s water supply, Ernie Lau began with a presentation overviewing the Board of Water Supply’s kuleana, water system, and impacts of the oil spills on Oʻahu’s aquifer. Camille Kalama shared Kaʻohewai’s most recent efforts in building a koʻa as a means to draw ola, or life, to everything that is impacted by the military presence in Hawaiʻi. As a mahiʻai and steward of ʻāina in Puʻuloa, she also highlighted the effects of this crisis not only on humans’ drinking water, but also the effects on the ʻāina. In addition to loʻi kalo, inland loko iʻa, and other farming efforts, Puʻuloa was once a place of aliʻi and the breadbasket of Oʻahu. The discussion concluded with questions from the audience and next steps for advocacy.
The Spring Maoli Thursday series center on the environmental and cultural impacts of militarization in Hawaiʻi.