SA: Investors wanted for Oahu surf park project

[Note: Senator Maile Shimabukuro sponsored the bill, SB1412 (2021), that allocated $95m in special purpose revenue bonds for this project.]

By Andrew Gomes
Investors wanted for Oahu surf park project, Star-Advertiser, 24 Sep. 2022

Developers of a planned surf park on state land at Kalaeloa are trying to interest the general public in the venture as investors through an unusual offering.

An Ohio-based company is seeking to raise about $100,000 for the $155 million project called Hono­kea Surf Villages and Resort by selling shares of stock in an affiliated company.

Honokea’s developers, local big-wave surfer Brian Keaulana and Kenan “Keno” Knieriem Jr. of HK Management, partnered with Columbus, Ohio-based real estate fundraising firm Rhove to help finance the surf park project, which Rhove describes as being in a pre-development phase with high loss risk.

“Our partnership with Rhove perfectly aligns with our community focus,” Knieriem, CEO of the development firm, said in a statement from Rhove announcing the endeavor. “Partnering with Rhove is truly about the social benefits of community ownership. We are passionate about including the local community and bringing surfing to more people. What better way than to provide people with a true ownership stake.”

As of Friday afternoon, Rhove reported receiving $2,956 from 59 investors, or $50.10 on average. The company said the total represents 2.76% of its goal, which equates to a goal of $107,000.

The company said investors, who may contribute as little as $1, receive fractional shares of equity in the development project through a series of stock in its affiliate, Rhove Real Estate 1 LLC. The company cautions that investments in the Honokea project are tentative and do not involve any guaranteed return.

“Any investment involves risk and may result in a total loss of principal,” the company states on its website. Rhove also explains that if it doesn’t achieve its fundraising goal within six months, then full refunds will be provided to investors.

Rhove describes Honokea Surf Villages and Resort as being in a pre-development phase of 18 to 22 months to be followed by 12 to 14 months of construction and projected completion in 2024.

In 2021, HK Management persuaded state lawmakers to give the company tentative authorization to sell up to $95 million in tax-exempt, low-interest revenue bonds under a Hawaii law that allows such financing for projects that have a public interest.

These so-called special-purpose revenue bonds are something lawmakers can authorize for private projects that have a public benefit and are within several allowed industries that include agriculture, health care, nonprofit schools, affordable housing, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Such bonds provide a form of tax-free financing that is cheaper than commercial lending, and the obligation to repay investors who buy the bonds rests solely with the private entity and not the state.

In urging the Legislature to approve the bond financing through Senate Bill 1412 in 2021, Honokea representatives touted aspects of their plans that included boosting surf and film industries, given that the project aims to provide Olympic-level training and is slated to have a surf and aquatic film studio.

The main piece of the envisioned park is a 5.5-acre lagoon where man-made “perfect” barreling waves up to 8 feet would be generated.

Other elements of the project include 50 boutique bungalows for rent, a private bar, a business center and function room, 7,000 square feet of retail space, 5,000 square feet of restaurant space, a rock-climbing wall, a skate park, a BMX track, a ropes course, beach volleyball courts, a dive tank, a lazy river, a surfboard- shaping facility and a surf history museum.

Honokea is envisioned for development on 19 acres of vacant land owned by the Hawaii Community Development Authority near the Diamond Head end of Kalaeloa Airport that was once part of Barbers Point Naval Air Station.

HCDA, a state agency, noted in testimony on the revenue bond bill in 2021 that HK Management did not yet have a land lease.

HK Management in August received an 18-month extension from HCDA to continue due-diligence work on the property and exclusively negotiate a lease.

At the August HCDA meeting at which the extension was granted by the agency’s board, HK Management representatives said the company has been working with the agency to use the Kalaeloa site for five years, and a draft environmental assessment was published Friday as part of the ongoing effort to develop the project.

“We’re very excited to be working with the staff,” Knieriem said at the meeting. “And we think that we have a fascinating facility that will really bring excellence in sports, arts, industry and culture to Kalaeloa, especially, namely community.”

A 5.5-acre lagoon for generating man-made waves for surfing is the centerpiece of a planned $155 million recreation and lodging complex in Kalaeloa called Honokea Surf Villages and Resort. The site also includes a skate park, a BMX track, beach volleyball courts, a dive tank, a lazy river and a surf history museum. Photo courtesy RHOVE.
A rendering shows an entryway to the proposed Honokea Surf Villages and Resort. Photo courtesy RHOVE.
A man-made surf lagoon proposed in Kalaeloa is designed to produce two simultaneous sets of waves — right-breaking and left-breaking — with intermediate and advanced waves farther out and waves for beginners closer to the shoreline. Photo courtesy RHOVE.

Sen. Shimabukuro Passes Bill to Help Domestic Violence Victims Flee to File Divorces

SB828 (2021) allows domestic violence victims and others to file for divorce in Hawaii immediately upon arrival, rather than go through the waiting period under previous law. Here is a link to SB828, which was introduced by Sen. Maile Shimabukuro, and was part of the Legislative Women’s Caucus Package:

Here is a link to a September 2022 KHON news story about SB828:

SA: Hawaii households eligible for up to $5,000 in small-scale farming grants

By Star-Advertiser Staff 19 Aug. 2022

Hawaii households in food-insecure areas now are eligible for grants up to $5,000 for small-scale gardening, herding and livestock operations.

The Micro-Grants for Food Security Program is now in its second year and is accepting grant applications, the state Department of Agriculture announced today.

The MGFSP application on the DOA’s website also notes costs from canning setups and jars, hydroponic systems, traveling to participate in agricultural education and shipping as possible expenses that can be covered by the grant.

In 2021, 177 grants were awarded statewide, the agricultural department reported.

“Since the department received a great amount of interest last year from home gardeners and small-scale farmers, the department has streamlined the application process and will focus on supporting households so they may grow their own food for their families,” said Phyllis Shimabukuro-Geiser, chair of the state Board of Agriculture, in a statement.

Last year, organizations were also eligible for the program, but the DOA said that due to the high interest by individuals, this year only individuals will be eligible for the grants.

The deadline to apply for the grant is noon on Sept. 19.

The DOA is holding a Zoom meeting at noon on Wednesday to assist interested parties with the application process.

More information can be found on the DOA’s Market Development Branch website, at The branch can also be reached by phone at 808-973-9595 or by email at

SA: ‘Na Keiki O Ka Mo‘i defends home waters’ 7/9/22

By Kyle Galdeira, Special to the Star-Advertiser, 10 July 2022

The men of Na Keiki O Ka Moi trail behind Manu O Ke Kai, back, in the men’s freshman event during the Na Keiki O Ka Moi Hui Waa regatta on Saturday, July 9, 2022, at Maili Beach.
Crews paddled off the starting line for the men’s and women’s senior events during the Na Keiki O Ka Moi Hui Waa regatta on Saturday at Maili Beach.

While school is still out for summer, the “old school” approach of Na Keiki O Ka Mo‘i Canoe Club was in full force on Saturday.

Hosting its own regatta and peeved by a string of second-place finishes caused by mental errors that cost the club valuable team points, Ka Mo‘i was buoyed by the old-school approach of veteran head coach Lisa Ka‘aekuahiwi.

The longtime skipper and paddler had her cowbell and bullhorn (although her paddlers noted they could hear her voice loud and clear without the noisemakers) and helped her club’s crews analyze video of previous races to fine-tune their performances leading up to Saturday’s regatta.

“This is our house, and I just tried to install that into the club all week long, telling them this is our homecoming in our backyard, and we need to school the competition,” Ka‘aekuahiwi said. “We’re not giving them an inch, not giving them a second. The last two weeks, we lost because of points taken away, and I didn’t want any screw-ups today. My club stepped up, and I’m super stoked. You always want to do well in our race, and that’s extra special to me.”

The approach worked, as Ka Mo‘i defended its home beach and waters to claim Na ‘Ohana O Na Hui Wa‘a’s Na Keiki O Ka Mo‘i Regatta held amid flat seas and steady breezes at Maili Beach. Ka Mo‘i jumped out to a blazing start – nearly as hot as the sun-soaked sand — with wins in nine of the day’s first 12 races, and 15 of the first 28, to establish a commanding 150-103 advantage over Manu O Ke Kai.

Na Keiki O Ka Mo‘i finished the day with a season-high 17 wins, and 29 medals (first-, second- and third-place finishes combined) en route to a 194-165 victory over Manu O Ke Kai in the AAA Division (25-plus events).

“We moved crews around and stepped up, and we did it. In the beginning of the year, we didn’t know what we would have because of (the two-year break caused by the COVID-19 pandemic),” Ka‘aekuahiwi said. “We ended up getting a good turnout from our kids, and our ‘OGs,’ our 60- and 65-year-old paddlers who compete early in the morning, came out banging, and everybody did their job today.”

Manu, the three-time defending Hui Wa‘a champion, notched 11 victories on the day, but the effort was not enough to overcome Ka Mo‘i’s stellar start. Manu has won 25 of the organization’s last 27 regattas dating back to 2017.

Lokahi dominated the AA Division (13-24 events) with 84 points and held off ‘Alapa Hoe (60 points), Waikiki Yacht Club (57 points), Kane‘ohe (49 points) and I Mua (26 points).

Hale‘iwa Outrigger claimed the A Division (up to 12 events) title with 50 points, while Lahui O Ko‘olau (32 points), Waikiki Beach Boys (27 points), Kamehameha (24 points) and Windward Kai (19 points apiece) were next in the small-club division.

Nearly 1,400 competitors ranging in age from 12-and-younger to 70-and-older represented Hui Wa‘a’s 19 clubs in 43 races spanning ¼ mile to 1½ miles.

Winning crews earned seven points toward the team standings, while second- through sixth-place finishers were awarded 5, 4, 3, 2 and 1 points.

In addition to competing for championship medals in individual races, crews continued tallying points with hopes of qualifying for slots at the Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association State Championship regatta scheduled for Aug. 6 at Keehi Lagoon. The top three crews from each Hui Wa‘a event earn automatic berths in the state competition based on cumulative point standings.

“I was telling our coaches that we needed to move crews and paddlers around to get points, and we made it happen,” said Ka‘aekuahiwi, who paddled in her club’s victorious women’s 55 and mixed 55 crews. “Everybody worked on what we went over in practice, so we knew what we had to do, and we did it!”

Unlike races held at Keehi Lagoon, where paddlers race parallel to the shore, Saturday’s event was set up perpendicular to the sand as crews started just off the beach, raced straight out to the ¼-mile flags and turned back to finish at the original starting line. Paddlers noted that while waves were not an issue, conflicting currents proved tricky as the water became “sticky” at some points throughout the course.

Hui Wa‘a paddlers return to action on Saturday at Waikiki Beach for the Waikiki Beach Boys Regatta, an exhibition contest preceding the organization’s championship regatta scheduled for July 23 at Keehi Lagoon. Oahu Hawaiian Canoe Racing Association crews continue their season on July 17 at Marine Corps Base Hawaii with the John D. Kaupiko Regatta.

KHON2: Overnight park closures considered to curb illegal camping

Overnight park closures considered to curb illegal camping
by Max Rodriguez, KHON2, 11 July 2022

The Kailua Neighborhood Board Chair Bill Hicks said they are putting a motion forward to close the rest of the park overnight with the intent to help enforce overnight camping violations.

Hicks said, “Because the park itself is not closed overnight HPD did not feel there was anything they could cite.”

The City’s Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson Nate Serota said they are hearing from neighbors before adjusting hours of operation. He said access to the beach will remain uninterrupted.

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HCB: Legislature Closes Historic Session For Housing And Hawaiians (5/5/22)

By Blaze Lovell & Kevin Dayton, Honolulu Civil Beat, 5 May 2022

Lawmakers gaveled out of the 2022 session having tucked away billions of dollars for Native Hawaiian causes, housing projects and other initiatives.

The Legislature just ended what may be one of the most significant sessions in state history that saw billions of dollars allocated to Native Hawaiian causes, housing projects and a slew of other initiatives that could put some money back in the pockets of taxpayers.

If the session had to get a letter grade, Senate President Ron Kouchi said his fellow lawmakers deserve an “A.”

“I’ve never achieved every single bill I’ve talked about before,” Kouchi said, adding that almost every session lawmakers lose priority measures as problems crop up.

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SA: Native Hawaiians set to receive $600 million for housing after decades of neglect (5/6/22)

By Rob Perez, Star-Advertiser, 6 May 2022

The Hawaii Legislature on Thursday unanimously passed landmark legislation appropriating $600 million for the state’s Native Hawaiian homesteading program, a chronically underfunded initiative that has long fallen short of its promise to return Native people to their ancestral land.

The amount represents the largest one-time infusion of money in the program’s 101-year history, and it’s more than seven times the record amount that state lawmakers approved in 2021. The majority of the funds will go toward the development of nearly 3,000 lots, most of them residential, on Hawaii’s main islands.

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KHON2: Kalima case claimants celebrate historic Hawaii settlement

By Kristy Tamashiro & Gina Mangieri, KHON2, 26 Apr. 2022

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A monumental settlement in a decades-long fight will give native Hawaiians hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Kalima case, a lawsuit filed 23 years ago, took the state to court for failing to award homestead from the Hawaiian Homelands waitlist in a timely manner.

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HNN: Wai’anae community mourns death of Michelle McPeek

After a mom is fatally beaten in the street, a community comes together to mourn — and heal,” Jolanie Martinez, HNN, 25 Apr. 2022

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Makaha residents gathered Monday night for a vigil to remember the mother who was fatally beaten to death in the middle of a roadway — allegedly by her son.

The vigil for 38-year-old Michelle McPeek began on the ocean side of Farrington Highway near Upena Street in Makaha.

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