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  • Strong candidates often did well among all groups, but always best with their own. Weak candidates limped badly everywhere, but showed least weakness among their own kind. 122/

Fuchs does not think that these manifestations of ethnic politics, however, are aberrations in the American political system. Rather, he says that "ethnic claims in politics, far from being un-American, followed the typical American pattern." 123/ Unlike Lind, however, he concludes that ethnic factors play a "significant role" (at least in that election) in Hawaiian politics. 124/

Creation of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs

A separate identification and unique political participation for native Hawaiians was ratified by a majority of the total State electorate in 1978 when key amendments to the State Constitution established the Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA). By the terms of the new Article XII:

... Section 5. There is hereby established an Office of Hawaiian Affairs. The Office of Hawaiian Affairs shall hold title to all the real and personal property now or hereafter set aside or conveyed to it which shall be held in trust for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians. There shall be a board of trustees for the Office of Hawaiian Affairs elected by qualified voters who are Hawaiians, as provided by law. The board members shall be Hawaiians. There shall be not less than nine members of the board of trustees; provided that each of the following islands have one representative: Oahu, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii. The board shall select a chairperson from its members...

The first OHA election in 1980 was supported by an 80 percent turnout among the more than 55,000 native Hawaiians who had registered to vote in this separate election (see Table 43). More than 100 candidates sought the nine positions on the board of trustees.

Table 44 shows the characteristics of the 1981 Hawaii State Legislature. There were seven part-Hawaiians in the State House of Representatives (14 percent of the total) and three in the State Senate (12 percent of the total).


The population of the State of Hawaii has considerable racial and cultural diversity. From the earliest times, interracial marriage was accepted by the community. As time went on and as different ethnic groups arrived, such marriages became widespread. Native Hawaiians have amonq the highest interracial marriage rates.

This racial and ethnic mixture has effects in the political sphere. Since the 1930's no one ethnic group has had an electoral majority, although ethnic factors do play a role in politics in Hawaii.

From the time of annexation until the 1930's, native Hawaiians comprised the largest voting block, with an absolute majority of all voters for much of that time. Voter participation among native Hawaiians was always high,