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March 16, 1967. About 19.5 percent of the land (1,348 acres) received by DHHL in these exchanges is used for homesteading purposes, and about 75 percent (5,193 acres) is under general leases and revocable permits that generate approximately $30,000 in annual revenues. One general lease covering 5,078 acres was being renegotiated and could result in a substantial increase in revenues.
The propriety of three of the seven exchanges is questionable as the provisions of the Act apparently ware not complied with. Two exchanges involving 194 acres of Home lands, one exchange for 192 acres and the other involving 2 acres, were exchanged for 194 acres of public lands in 1962. The exchanges were on an acre-for-acre basis and involve lands in the vicinity of the General Lyman Airport in Hilo, Hawaii. DHHL and DLNR officials could not, at the time of our review, locate any appraisals to support that the exchanges were on an equal value basis as required by the Act. In addition, we noted that the 194 acres received by DHHL in the exchanges were located near a county dump and landfill and were not being used for homesteading purposes.
The third exchange involved a total of 268 acres of Home lands on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Molokai, and Oahu that had been made available to the State for various purposes. DHHL received 5,078 acres of public lands in the Piihonua area on the island of Hawaii. According to a letter dated May 17, 1966, from the Chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, which outlined the basis of the exchange, the values of lands to ke conveyed by DHHL were based on the tax-assessed values in the year each area was available for State use (1962 through 1966), and the value of lands to be conveyed by the State were based on the 1966 tax-assessed values. We question the equality of value when Home lands are based on assessed values before 1966 and exchanged lands are based on 1966 assessed values. In addition, the State retained the mineral rights to the State lands exchanged. There was no evidence available that DHHL had obtained independent appraisals of the land exchanged, nor was any documentation provided to show that retention of the mineral rights was considered in the tax assessment values.
We recommend that the Hawaiian Home Lands Commission take the steps necessary to establish accountability for the lands that it is charged with administering. Although the resolution of land status problems will require a commitment of resources, including money, we believe that such a commitment is necessary for the Commission to meet its trust responsibilities under the Act. We further recommend that the Commission take the steps necessary to regain control of Home lands which are now used, without compensation, for purposes not compatible with the intent of the Act.
2. Program Accomplishment
The Act's objective of enabling native Hawaiians to recapture possession and control of the land has not progressed rapidly during the 60 years of the Act's existence. According to DHHL's annual report, as of June 30, 1981, a total of 3,034 native Hawaiians have been given possession of approximately 26,062 acres. An additional 13,706 acres of community pasture have also been provided to native Hawaiians. Thus, less than 40,000 acres or about 20 percent of the lands made available by the Act are now controlled by native Hawaiians. Further, there are over 7,000 native Hawaiian applicants on the homestead eligibility list and some of these applicants have been on the lists for as long as 30 years.
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