four people standing together wearing lei

Gov. David Ige congratulated the Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) on the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce 2017 Pūalu Award for Culture and Heritage. From left, Stephanie Nagata, OMKM director; Wallace Ishibashi, OMKM senior advisor, cultural officer; Governor David Ige, Lukela Ruddle, OMKM cultural resource program manager

The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce honored the Office of Maunakea Management (OMKM) with its 2017 Pūalu Award for Culture and Heritage. This award recognizes organizations that exhibit through their actions, practices that promote island traditions and preserve our multi-cultural heritage.

“The Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce bestowed our Culture and Heritage Award to the Office of Maunakea Management for its implementation of a Long-Term Historic Property Monitoring Plan for the University of Hawaiʻi Management Areas on Maunakea. The plan specifically enhances cultural stewardship on Maunakea and preserves our island’s cultural heritage. We were not only impressed with OMKM’s preservation initiatives and actions, but also with its collaboration with the community,” said Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Wendy Laros.

Striving for sustainable management and stewardship

The Office of Maunakea Management was established in 2000 to provide dedicated Hawaiʻi Island community-based management of the natural, cultural and scientific resources on nearly 12,000 acres of UH managed lands on Maunakea. OMKM’s mission is to “achieve harmony, balance and trust in the sustainable management and stewardship of the Mauna Kea Science Reserve through community involvement and programs that protect, preserve and enhance the natural, cultural and recreational resources of Maunakea while providing a world-class center dedicated to education, research and astronomy.”

Achieving balanced stewardship is especially challenging given the wide-ranging environmental, cultural, research and community interests. Over the years OMKM initiated and continues to execute management programs to protect and preserve the unique cultural resources under UH’s care.

The Long Term Historic Property Monitoring Plan was prepared and approved by the State Historic Preservation Division. This plan is in fulfillment of the Cultural Resources Management Plan’s action step to systematically monitor the condition of over 260 historic properties containing about 1,000 archaeological features located in the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, Maunakea Access Road Corridor and the Mid-Level Facilities at Halepōhaku. Significant historic properties are vulnerable to intentional and unintentional human impact as well as damage from natural erosion, biological invasions, weather and geological events including earthquakes. The plan assists OMKM with monitoring and documenting historic properties in consultation with the State Historic Preservation Division, and the development of measures to mitigate possible adverse impacts to preserve and protect historic properties for future generations.

The preparation of the Long Term Historic Property Monitoring Plan and implementation of regular annual monitoring without a statutory requirement, demonstrates the Office of Maunakea Management’s commitment to stewardship and best practices in cultural resource understanding, protection and preservation.

OMKM was also recognized last year by the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce for its environmental stewardship programs with a Pūalu Award for Environmental Awareness. The Historic Hawaiʻi Foundation’s 2017 Preservation Commendation Award, Hawaiʻi’s highest recognition of preservation, rehabilitation, restoration and interpretation of the state’s architectural, archaeological and cultural heritage, was presented to the Office of Maunakea Management last month.