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Catch up on what’s happening in Kaka’ako. View our latest monthly newsletter here.

Previous Newsletters photo courtesy of HCDA

Historic Ala Moana Pumping Station

KIA General Membership Meeting

The first of two KIA General Membership Meetings was held at lunch time on Wednesday, January 29th, at Dave and Buster’s. Two timely presentations were made by the City and County of Honolulu and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

Representing the City and County of Honolulu were Michele Nekota, Director of Parks and Recreation, as well as Georgette Deemer, Deputy Managing Director. Both have been intimately involved in the transfer of not only the waterfront park but the two gateway parks and other parcels from HCDA. They have been working on it for about two years because it was a complicated endeavor, which started with having a serious enforcement problem in Kakaako with the homeless and other issues that needed to be addressed. The Mayor felt strongly that if they were to be a part of the cleanup, the city should take over the parcels in order to have more control over the area; and they are grateful to HCDA for working on this transfer with them.

Forty-one properties in Kakaako were transferred from the state to the city on November 1, 2019, which were 41 acres of about 16 parcels. There are four park locations:  Kakaako Gateway, Makai, Mauna, as well as Kewalo Basin. Three roadways were also transferred. The city will continue to provide park services, as well as honor existing lease contracts. They have started work on renovations and have hired an additional 24 staff members (13 grounds keepers, four park rangers, one coordinator and office clerk and five maintenance workers) dedicated to the parks. Improvements to irrigation and sprinkler systems will help keep the grass green. HCDA gave the city $2.25 million to make repairs for the parks. There will be an opening on March 2nd. The city will be working with HPD, the Department of Facilities Maintenance, and the Department of Parks and Recreation on enforcing  the sidewalk nuisance ordinance. The are trying new pilot programs, such as the 24/7 security program and maintaining the streets and sidewalks, to be sure the have additional staffing. After opening, the city needs to make sure there are public-private partnerships and are looking at the first inclusive playground on the whole island.

From the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Miles Nishijima, Director of the Land Assets Division and Lee Miller, commercial property specialist. Kakaako Makai is part of the settlement that OHA received from the state for OHA’s 20% share of the revenues from the public land trust. The area is approximately 30 acres and most undeveloped land from the UH Kewalo marine lab to the former Fisherman’s Wharf site, Lot E on Ala Moana, and F/G (called the Piano Lot), and Lot L and Lot I used for parking by JTB and King Infinity. Upon acquisition of the properties in July 2012, the Trustees created the Kakaako Makai Policy which set a priority on balancing commerce and culture, providing for a Native Hawaiian experience within the urban core. With the exception of commercial long-term leases on Lot K (UH Kewalo basin) and Lot D, (Salem Media and 53 By The Sea), the other parcels just have short term leases that will allow for future development.

OHA conducted stakeholder meetings from 2015 to 2017 with their native Hawaiian community, various districts on each island, to get community input as to what it would take to create a Hawaiian sense of place. They listened to each community’s vision of what they wanted to see Kaakako Makai as an example of Hawaiian culture. Recognizing that the land is intended to generate a fair return of the $200 million settlement, their team is tasked with incorporating some of those ideas shared from the meetings into a development plan that will maximize the revenues to support their mission to provide to their beneficiaries in the areas of culture, economic self-sufficiency and education. OHA is also looking to develop a master plan for the Kakaako area.

Those who were unable to attend the KIA General Membership Meeting may go to to see the whole meeting which was taped by KIA Board member Peterson Rosario. The second meeting for 2020 will be held on Wednesday, October 21st, and the Board is always open to suggests of guest speakers who would be of interest to our membership. Contact Sherry Goya, KIA Executive Director at or 722-8487 to present to the Board at their monthly meetings.


2020 Networking Event

RSVPs are being taken for the first KIA General Membership Meeting for 2020, to be held on Wednesday, January 29th froAs with past years, KIA will hold two KIA Networking Events in April and October. The first one will be held on Wednesday, April 29th, from 11:30am in the Waterfront Plaza conference room (next to Opal Fields, around the corner from The Row Bar). RSVPs will be taken in April, but mark your calendars now!

2020 KIA Invitational Golf Tournament

The KIA Golf Committee met in January to confirm the tournament to be held August 21st at the Hawaii Prince Golf Club. The beneficiary of this year’s tournament will be the KCAA Muriel Preschool.

Anyone interested on being on the golf committee may contact Sherry Goya, KIA Executive Director, at or call 722-8487.

2020 KIA Invitational Golf Tournament

Office of Hawaiian Affairs

Public Quasi Government Agency

Lee Miller

560 N. Nimitz Hwy, #200

Honolulu, HI 96817

P: 594-1822

F: 594-0288


KIA members will be receiving the 2020 Renewal Form to continue their valuable membership to the Kakaako Improvement Association. Mahalo to those who have already renewed for the year.

2020 KIA Invitational Golf Tournament

A medical doctor from Japan is learning how to improve his lifesaving skills at the University of Hawaiʻi John A. Burns School of Medicine this month in a cultural exchange program borne out of the Ehime Maru tragedy 19 years ago. He is also among those mourning the loss of the fishing boat in ceremonies at the Ehime Maru memorial at Kakaʻako Waterfront Park.

The young doctor was only eight years old when the USS Greeneville, an American Navy submarine, surfaced unexpectedly in Hawaiʻi waters, toppling and sinking the Ehime Maru, a fishing boat from Uwajima Fisheries High School in Japan that was training high schoolers interested in becoming commercial fishers. Nine Japanese, both students and teachers died. One of the dead was the father of Dr. Yusuke Tominaga’s friend. Tominaga is among a group of young MDs visiting JABSOM this month in the first medical cultural exchange connected to the “sister city” friendship program created between Honolulu and Uwajima after the sinking of the Ehime Maru.

Their studies include lectures in addition to laboratory work. The visiting Japanese medical doctors also toured the medical school’s Hyperbaric Treatment Center, which treats victims of ocean accidents. The Uwajima City Hospital Program Director, Japanese Cardiologist Akiyoshi Ogimoto, hopes the medical cultural exchange will continue and even expand.  

The Children's Discovery Center has a very busy February that may be of interest to KIA families, starting with a Valentine's Day party on Friday, February 14th from 9am to 11am; welcome the Year of the Rat on Saturday, February 15th from 9am to 11:15am; Meet the HDS Tooth Fair on Sunday, February 16th from 10am to 2pm (free to first 500 HDS member and discounted at $8 for the public); Mardi Gras Party on Tuesday, February 25th from 9am to 11am; and celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday on Saturday, February 29th from 10am to 1pm. Make reservations by calling 524-5437 or email