Hilo, Hawai‘i - (August 29, 2017) – Kamehameha Schools has moved closer to selecting a new lessee to oversee operations and harvesting of more than 10,000 acres of forest on the Hāmākua Coast of Hawai‘i island.
Pa‘auilo-based Hawai‘i Forest has been chosen to move on to final negotiations in the selection process.
“We are excited to take this next step in working on a long-term plan for the stewardship of our agricultural lands along the Hāmākua Coast,” said Marissa Harman, Director of Asset Management on Hawai‘i island. “Hawai‘i Forest has a wealth of experience and knowledge in managing land assets and the company also brings to the table a track record of successful engagement with community. Those qualities are important to us.”
Kamehameha Schools acquired approximately 30,000 acres from the former Hāmākua Sugar Co. in 1994 and then transitioned the land from sugar to a variety of uses including small-scale commercial, residential, diversified agriculture, pasture and timber forest.
The previous tenant, LHF Lopiwa, LLC (LHF), notified Kamehameha Schools last year that it would not seek an extension of its lease which expired on Dec. 31, 2016.
On Jan. 3, 2017, Kamehameha Schools sought qualifications from interested bidders to enter into a new agreement for the forest plantation lease. Once qualified, interested bidders were identified and asked to submit proposals for a new lease.
“We sought operators with experience in plantation forest management, marketing, modeling and harvesting,” Harman said. “The new lessee will be responsible for a variety of tasks – harvesting the timber forest, remediating the condition of the land and working with us on a long-term plan for the use of this land beyond timber, including transitioning some of the acreage to other diversified agriculture or community uses.”
Hawai‘i Forest consists of a hui of businesses that include Forest Solutions, Inc., and Edwin DeLuz Trucking and Gravel, both companies with experience in working in large scale forestry operations along the Hāmākua Coast.
“Hawai‘i Forest is grateful for the trust Kamehameha Schools is putting in us and we are committed to a common goal of creating a long-term integrated forest industry along the Hāmākua coast,” Hawai‘i Forest’s Marius Ellis said.
Kamehameha Schools dedicates more land to sustainable agriculture than any other private landowner in Hawai‘i and is deeply committed to keeping its Hāmākua lands in productive agriculture and forestry.
“The well-being of our lāhui is directly related to the health and condition of our ‘āina,” Harman said. “It is imperative that we manage our ‘āina to be resilient so that it continues to provide us the physical, spiritual and cultural connections in perpetuity and continue to strengthen our Native Hawaiian identity. We believe that the selection of this new lessee will enable us to better manage our land assets along the Hāmākua Coast.”
Download video of interview and KS ʻOʻōkala and Umauma forestry sites at https://spaces.hightail.com/receive/0qKFuhNhG1
Download photos of KS Umauma forestry site at https://goo.gl/fmuVuo
About Kamehameha Schools
Founded in 1887 by the legacy of Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop, the Kamehameha Schools (KS) is a private, educational, charitable Native Hawaiian trust committed to improving the capability and wellbeing of our people through education. Income generated from its endowment portfolio of Hawai`i commercial real estate and other diverse investments funds more than 96 percent of KS’ educational mission.
Kamehameha Schools embarked in 2015 on a bold, exciting voyage that envisions, in one generation, a thriving Lāhui in which learners achieve postsecondary educational success, enabling good life and career choices. Grounded in Christian and Hawaiian values, learners will be leaders who contribute to their communities both locally and globally.
At the heart of this new journey are those who share this vision to ensure that all Native Hawaiians have the opportunity to succeed. Strong community collaborations, donor participation and key state, national and international partnerships are vital to creating the means to propel learners onto knowledge and career paths of their choice.
For more information, visit www.ksbe.edu.
Media Contact: Crystal Kua