The preservation of Honolua holds genuine importance to me. It's where my roots stem from. I was "born and raised" in West Maui and my connections with Ahupua'a Lipoa run deep. I am only 22, and yet I've witnessed drastic changes due to developments. I've watched my native land used and abused. I'm told these changes will boost our economy, yet I see more homelessness and poverty than before. I'm more aware of the destruction these commercial developments have on the environment and community.
Five years ago, I spoke at the Maui County Council in support of preserving Lipoa Point. The emotions I felt then are even stronger now. My opinions have broadened due to my growing appreciation, toward my 'aina, and my Native Hawaiian ancestry.
It is sad that someone with no ancestral or cultural ties to Ahupua'a Lipoa has power and authority over its future. Instead of appreciating and perpetuating the natural beauty that is Hawai'i, our own County Council is acting to extinguish it.
My fear is that our children won't be able to witness this beauty and will lose all sense of cultural importance due to economic issues.
I won't sit back and watch any longer. I'm registered to vote and I'll continue to stand up for what I believe is right, because it is my kuleana as a Native Hawaiian.
"Ua mau ke ea o ka aina I ka pono" [The life of the land is perpetuated in righteousness] is our state motto. If we don't believe it, respect it or defend it, no one will.