The Office of Hawaiian Affairs (OHA) was established during the 1978 Constitutional Convention, Hawai‘i State Constitution (Article XII). In 1979, the Hawai‘i State Legislature passed House Bill No. 890, House Draft 1, Senate Draft 3, Conference Draft 1, which the Governor signed into law as Act 196, implementing sections 4, 5, and 6 of Article XII of the State Constitution and subsequently coded as Chapter 10 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes (HRS). Chapter 10 outlined the general purpose of the Office which include:

• Bettering of conditions of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians;

• Serving as the principal public agency in this State responsible for the performance, development, and coordination of programs and activities relating to native Hawaiians and Hawaiians; except that the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920;

• Assessing the policies and practices of other agencies impacting on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians, and conducting advocacy efforts for native Hawaiians and Hawaiians;

• Applying for, receiving, and disbursing, grants and donations from all sources for native Hawaiian and Hawaiian programs and services; and

• Serving as a receptacle for reparations.

During the following year, 1980, Act 273 was signed into law, establishing 20 percent of the public land trust revenues as the pro rata share entrusted to OHA for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. In November 1980, the first nine OHA Board of Trustees were elected.

Native Hawaiian Data Book

The Native Hawaiian Data Book is produced as part of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs’ fiduciary obligation as affirmed in Hawai‘i Revised Statute, Chapter 10.

To compile “basic demographic data on native Hawaiians and Hawaiians” and identify “the physical, sociological, psychological, and economic needs of native Hawaiians and Hawaiians” [Section 10-6 (1)];

To accomplish its directive, the OHA outlined its strategy in Office of Hawaiian Affair’s Goals, Objectives, and Policies, OHA Master Plan (1982) (revised 1988)

“Collect, analyze, maintain, and provide extant and new data on Hawaiians so that in five years, OHA is recognized as a major repository for Hawaiian data.” [Goal 4, Objective 4.2, Policy 4.2.c]

The Office of Hawaiian Affair’s implementing actions to functionally execute the OHA Master Plan was outlined in OHA Functional Plans (1991-1997)

“To serve as a resource for information about the Native Hawaiian population and programs serving Native Hawaiians …” [Goal 2]
“To maintain comprehensive, up to date data on the Native Hawaiian population ranging from demographic, social, and economic data …” [Goal 2: Objective 2.1]
“To publish a biennial Native Hawaiian Data Book …” [Goal 2, Objective 2.1, Implementing Action 2.1.1]

The first edition of the Native Hawaiian Data Book was published in 1994. Taking advantage of the new emerging technology, the first online edition of the Data Book became available with the 1996 edition. Due to the high cost of printing, hard copies of the Data Book were discontinued and the Data Book was switched to a digital format only starting with the 2011 edition. The digital format offered greater flexibility in disseminating current data. Data can be continually updated as new data becomes available. Having an online presence also offers the option of expanding content to other data related publications and resources.

Even though subsequent OHA master plans/ strategic plans do not specify call for or require the continuation of a native Hawaiian data book, the Native Hawaiian Data Book survives and continues as an ongoing activity and “biennial” produced product. The Native Hawaiian Data Book remains to address OHA’s fiduciary obligation.