Ku`uwehi Hiraishi

General Assignment Reporter

Ways to Connect

Courtesy Netflix

The Netflix original "Finding ‘Ohana" debuted a little more than a month ago, and is now available in ‘ōlelo Hawai‘i - with Hawaiian subtitles that is. Any Netflix movie or television show can now be captioned in the Hawaiian language, thanks to a new platform called ‘Ōleloflix.

Small farmers on state-owned land agricultural lands, or the lack thereof, was a point of criticism by lawmakers at a recent public hearing on Hawaii's embattled Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC). A report by the state auditor found the government entity has done little in its 27-year history to fulfill its mission of developing diversified agricultural enterprises.

U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr
U.S. Department of Agriculture / Flickr

Hawaiʻi legislators are one step closer to dissolving the state’s Agribusiness Development Corporation (ADC).  The 27-year-old entity was initially created to develop economically viable farms to fill the void created by the closure of plantations. But a recent state audit found the ADC has done little to fill that void.

Ku'uwehi Hiraishi

The Hawaiʻi Nature Center located right on the outskirts of urban Honolulu has been connecting kids to nature for nearly 40 years. But now under the pandemic, the center has become an outdoor classroom for keiki wanting more than what virtual learning has to offer. 

Hawaiʻi lawmakers are considering legislation to help the state’s funeral services industry accommodate traditional Hawaiian burial practices by using a technology known as water cremation. Supporters say this is a cleaner alternative to burial or traditional cremation. But industry representatives say it could come at a higher cost to consumers.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The Oversight Commission on Hawaiʻi’s Correctional Systems is requesting an analysis of inmate deaths at state jails and prisons. So far eight Hawaiʻi inmates have died of COVID-19 while in state custody, and their relatives are looking for answers.


When a Hawaii inmate dies at any of the state's jails or prisons, the state Public Safety Department is required to provide a report to the governor withing 48 hours. A legislative proposal would require that same report be made available to the public and a copy given to the inmates' family.

AP Photo/Steven Senne, File

Updated 2/12/21, 12:05 p.m.

A Hawaiian housing organization plans to file federal racketeering charges against Bank of America for failing to fulfill a decades-long pledge to provide home loans to Native Hawaiians.

Casey Harlow / HPR

Updated 2/5/21, 3:10 p.m.

The state Department of Health's State Laboratories Division has confirmed the highly transmissible B.1.1.7 variant is present in Hawaii. The variant was originally detected in the United Kingdom, and leads to a more rapid spread than other common COVID-19 strains.

Community opposition is growing in Kohala over plans to develop a parking lot near the Pololū Valley lookout. The proposal would improve access to the area’s popular hiking trail, but it could also open the door to residential development on the valley ridgeline.

A grassroots effort is underway for a local non-profit to purchase an ancient Hawaiian fishpond on Kauaʻi. The Alakoko Fishpond was recently put on the market with a pricetag of $3 million dollars.


American Samoa’s repatriation system picked up five COVID-19 cases so far among the more than 160 residents in quarantine here in Honolulu. This is American Samoa’s first attempt to help residents get home since the pandemic closed its borders more than 10 months ago.  

Ashley Mizuo/HPR

Updated 1/22/21, 11:58 a.m.

The latest state COVID-19 data shows more than 3,100 confirmed cases of the virus among Native Hawaiians, including 26 Hawaiians who have died of the coronavirus. The numbers are even worse for Pacific Islanders, who make up about four percent of the state’s population and more than 24% of the state’s COVID-19 cases.

Hawaii State Legislature

State lawmakers are taking a hard look this session at some of the long-standing issues contributing to the spread of the coronavirus in Hawaiʻi’s jails and prisons. According to the latest data from the state Public Safety Department, nearly half of Hawaiʻi inmates have contracted COVID-19 while behind bars.

Pixabay Commons
Pixabay Commons

The doctor shortage on the Big Island has grown nearly 40 percent since 2007. That’s according to research on Hawaiʻi Island’s health workforce over the years.  Big Island doctors say the high cost of living, heavy tax burden, and low reimbursements have created a bad situation that’s likely to only get worse amid a global pandemic.

Elena Cabatu

The Yukio Okutsu State Veteran’s Home on the Big Island is officially under new management. This comes just months after a COVID-19 outbreak at the Hilo nursing home claimed the lives of 27 residents and infected more than 100 residents and staff.

daveiam/Flickr / CC 2.0 license

Gambling on Hawaiian Home Lands, greater burial protections, and OHA election reform are just some of the top Native Hawaiian issues up for debate among state lawmakers this year. Whether these proposals advance or even get a hearing depends on each chambers’ Hawaiian Affairs committee. But what if this committee lacks native Hawaiian legislators? 

DarkoStojanovic / Pexels

Hawaiʻi’s doctor shortage is getting worse under the pandemic, and the chances of a rebound hinge on the state’s ability to help Hawaiʻi doctors stay in business.

Matthew Patrick / USGS Hawaiian Volcano Observatory

Crowds have gathered at Halemaʻumaʻu Crater on the Big Island to catch a glimpse of the latest volcanic eruption at Kilauea. 

Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

Historic funding shortfalls to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands are forcing a discussion among beneficiaries about potential ways to raise revenue. And that includes looking at the possibility of casino gambling.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

The coronavirus pandemic has reached deep into Hawaiʻi's criminal justice system -- infecting nearly 1,500 inmates and 170 staff. The latest COVID-19 outbreak at the Hālawa prison alone has grown to 177 inmates and 33 staff—and it was a top concern at the latest meeting of the Hawaii Correctional Systems Oversight Commission.

Deborah Dimaya / UH Medical School

A new report by the University of Hawaiʻi medical school found structural inequities and historical events are partly to blame for continued health disparities among Native Hawaiians. The solution, according to researchers, requires not only systemic change but health interventions rooted in Native Hawaiian culture.

Cory Lum/Civil Beat

Updatd 12/14/20, 12:10 p.m.

A COVID-19 outbreak at the Hālawa Correctional Facility has grown to infect more than 160 inmates and nearly 30 staff. The prison is currently in lockdown with all inmate movement including transfer to and from the facility have been suspended forthe next two weeks.


Few stories in Hawaiʻi’s recent history have the mythical lore of George Helm’s – a charismatic leader and Native Hawaiian activist from Molokaʻi who mysteriously vanished at sea in the 1970s. Helm’s life story was captured in a short film called “Hawaiian Soul,” which earned multiple awards during its debut at this year’s Hawaiʻi International Film Festival.

Skitterphoto from Pixabay

Updated: 11/23/2020, 12:45 p.m.

The state Department of Health reported no deaths and 114 new COVID-19 cases today. Because of the department's two-day delay in posting new numbers, the counts represent cases from Saturday.

Oahu had 80 new cases, Hawaii County 10, Kauai 3, Maui 11, and Lanai and Molokai none. There were 10 new cases diagnosed out of state.

The latest counts bring the Oahu total to 14,873, Hawaii County, 1,551, Kauai 100, Maui 495, Lanai 106 and Molokai 17. The number of out-of-state cases total 191.

Pacific Islanders in Hawai’i continue to see the disproportionate impact of COVID-19. They make up nearly 30 percent of the state’s coronavirus cases but only 4 percent of its population. For the thousands of Pacific Islanders who don’t speak English, access to health care during the pandemic has been largely dependent on access to a language interpreter.

Kia'i Kaua'ula

Maui County has dropped all charges related to protests over construction on known historic burial grounds in Kaua’ula Valley. Five native Hawaiian women with familial ties to the area on Maui’s west end have been refunded their bail and are calling for a halt to the project after human remains were uncovered.

Sonny Abesamis
Sonny Abesamis

It’s been a month since Hawaiʻi started its pre-travel testing program, slowly expanding the number of visitors in the islands. In some places, that shift has gotten a mixed reaction, even for communities that have come to depend on tourism dollars. Here's how this is playing out in the Maui beach town community of Pāʻia.

Justin Sullivan/Pool via AP

The election of Kamala Harris to serve as vice president of the United States has sparked conversations across the country about the role of gender and race in politics. Here in Hawaiʻi, the discussion covers history, culture, and the future of political power in the state.

Big Island Video News

Events are being held across the country today in honor of those who have served in the U.S. military. Veterans Day celebrations in Hilo will be especially meaningful in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak that claimed the lives of 27 residents at the Yukio Okutsu State Veterans Home.