Zuri Aki
Zuri Aki

Candidate Profile

Zuri Aki
Email: zforhawaii@gmail.com
Phone: (808) 554-1011
Website: www.zforhawaii.com
Political Office/Position Sought: State House of Representatives
Senate/Representative District: 36
Are you an incumbent? No.
Campaign contact name, phone number, and e-mail address:
Zuri Aki, (808) 554-1011, zforhawaii@gmail.com

1.     Why are you running for office?

I am running for State House in District 36 because I want to do great things for my community and really, for all of Hawai‘i. Those “great things” include new social (like healthcare and education) and economic opportunities that will have a far-reaching rippling effect into our future, improving the quality of our lives for many generations to come.

2.     What are your views about Hawaiian self-governance? In your capacity as a legislator, what action, if any, would you advocate in support of Hawaiian self- governance?

I absolutely support Hawaiian self-governance and Hawaiian self-determination. I served as chief drafter of the Native Hawaiian Constitution during the Na‘i Aupuni ‘Aha. As a legislator, I would advocate a support-role of the State regarding the social-political-economic development of a Native Hawaiian government without undue interference into its exercise of self-determination – this includes supporting any Department of Interior recognition of a Native Hawaiian government. Under those circumstances, I would advocate the transfer of State land, held in trust for Native Hawaiians, to that future Native Hawaiian government. I would also advocate the State’s recognition of that Native Hawaiian government’s values/principles/laws for a more fluid and harmonious relationship between the two governments.

3.     When it comes to Native Hawaiian issues, what do you perceive your role as a legislator to be? What ways can you, if elected, support Native Hawaiian concerns through your legislative abilities? If elected, describe specific Native Hawaiian bill ideas that you would be willing to propose or support for the advancement of Native Hawaiians.

I am a Native Hawaiian, so whether or not I serve as legislator, my commitment to Hawaiian issues is a fundamental part of my existence. I graduated from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a B.A. in Hawaiian Studies. I attended law school for the purpose of serving the Native Hawaiian community as advocate and I now seek political office, in part, to uphold and strengthen Native Hawaiian rights. My role as legislator would be as advocate and also as a voice for the Native Hawaiian community.

If elected, I will most-certainly take into consideration the concerns of Native Hawaiians – individuals and organizations – including the Office of Hawaiian Affairs. In doing so, if not offered a solution, I would be in a better position to gauge those needs and address them with legislation (if need be).

Funding for the protection of Native Hawaiian rights and resources should be increased. I recently presented on the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to community members on Maui, alongside the State Historic Preservation Division, where funding is greatly needed to further damage mitigation and protection of Native Hawaiian burials. In addition to that, Native Hawaiians need an all-around louder voice in political initiatives that affect the physical character of the Hawaiian Islands.

Native Hawaiians have been here since time immemorial and in that time, those ancestors, were able to understand the kind of relationship, between people and place, that ensured the sustainability of future generations. No longer the majority people here, that integral relationship has weakened – beneficial Native Hawaiian values should have a very strong presence in State of Hawai‘i values and in legislation (the more the better) if need be.