Kōkua Needed: New Website Collects Resources for Community and Cultural Concerns
As Director of the Hawaii Life Conservation and Legacy Lands initiative, I regularly get phone calls and emails asking me for guidance on how to approach a situation like preserving community beach access or how to begin the process of nominating a property for conservation. I was delighted to learn of a recently launched website, Kōkua Needed, that has gathered invaluable links to government and private resources.
Kudos to Oʻahu resident Anne Marie Kirk for taking her decades of experience and providing all the numbers and links in one spot for residents of all four Hawaiʻi counties.
How to Research and Who to Call Regarding Land Use, Cultural Sites, and Community Access Questions
The website is organized in a very clear fashion.
At the top of the Kōkua Needed (“kōkua means “help”) home page are links to step-by-step instructions for what to do in three situations:
- A cultural site is threatened
- Iwi Kūpuna are threatened
- Ocean access is blocked
Surprisingly, in my experience I get as many calls from newcomers and property owners with questions about these very topics as I do from locals and native Hawaiian residents. Imagine you are going for your daily walk and come across a site whose stone walls clearly have some significance and wonder if it is ok for the landscape crew there to be disturbing and rearranging the rocks. Or imagine you get a call from your contractor saying that as they prepared the foundation for your home, bones were discovered. These are actual calls I have fielded, and appreciate a third party source with information and contacts for next steps to take.
General Contact Information for Active, Engaged Residents of Hawaiʻi
Many times people do not know which government office to all to ask a question about their property — or how to find their TMK number or permit status when thatʻs the first question the person they reach asks. The Kōkua Needed website has links to all these sites:
Of course I was particularly interested in the Acquisition to Protect section, and that is an area where I have also tried to provide information in my conservation tagged blog posts.
Sometimes it can be difficult to figure out whether a property has significant conservation values; other times the significance is clear but which organization to approach and how to work with stakeholders is not at all clear. I would always welcome a phone call or email if you have questions about how and where to begin.