Kahoolawe director to speak at chamber meeting

Michael Naho‘opi‘i

The Maui News

Michael Naho’opi’i, executive director of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission, will be the speaker at the Maui Native Hawaiian Chamber of Commerce meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. Aug. 16.

The dinner and networking event will be held at the Kahili Restaurant in Waikapu.

Naho’opi’i will be discussing the status of the restoration of Kahoolawe, the old Navy Target Island.

Archaeological evidence suggests that Hawaiians came to Kahoolawe as early as 400, settling in small fishing villages along the island’s coast, the chamber news release said. To date, nearly 3,000 archaeological and historical sites and features indicate Kahoolawe was a navigational center for voyaging, the site of an adze quarry, an agricultural center, and a site for religious and cultural ceremonies.

Kahoolawe would be used briefly as a penal colony, for sheep and cattle ranching, and eventually transferred to the Navy for use as a bombing range. Litigation forced an end to the bombing in 1990 and the island was placed under the administration of the Kaho’olawe Island Reserve Commission.

Following a 10-year period of ordnance removal, control of access to Kahoolawe was transferred to the state in 2003. The commission is responsible for the restoration and sustainable management of the island until it can be transferred to a Native Hawaiian entity to manage, the news release said.

Naho’opi’i is a former naval officer in charge of Kahoolawe during the island’s conveyance to the state and a senior manager during both the ordnance cleanup projects. After the cleanup, he managed safety and engineering programs for the Hana Group and was a program director for the nonprofit Pacific American Foundation.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in electrical engineering, from the U.S. Navy’s Nuclear Power School as a nuclear engineer and from Chaminade University with a Master in Business Administration. He served in the Navy as a submarine officer and commanded a SeeBee (Navy combat engineers) detachment.

Admission is $25 for members and $30 for nonmembers. Attendees should pay in advance at www.mnhcoc.org or by calling (808) 757-3045 to pay by phone.

The deadline for RSVPs is Aug. 12.