All Royalties Derived From Geothermal Resources Development on Hawaiian Home Lands Must Benefit Native Hawaiians

Attorney General David M. Louie announced today that he has issued a Formal Opinion concluding that 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resources development on Hawaiian home lands must be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

Puna Geothermal Venture

Puna Geothermal Venture

Attorney General Louie has announced that he has issued Formal Opinion No. 14-1 (Op. No. 14-1) in which he has concluded that pursuant to article XII, sections 1 and 3, of the Hawaii State Constitution, and section 4 of the Admissions Act, 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands must be paid to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) to be used for the benefit of native Hawaiians.

As a compact with the United States upon admission of Hawaii as a state, Hawaii accepted responsibility to manage and dispose of the Hawaiian home lands under the terms of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, 1920, as amended (HHCA). Section 203 of the HHCA describes the lands that comprise the Hawaiian Home lands (also known as the “available lands”). The Admissions Act provides that “all proceeds and income from the ‘available lands’, as defined by the [HHCA], shall be used only in carrying out the provisions of [the HHCA].”

Attorney General Louie stated that “following a comprehensive legal analysis by the capable deputy attorneys general in my office, I have concluded that the DHHL has the right to receive all proceeds and income from the available lands, including 100% of the royalties derived from geothermal resource development.” Based on the analysis of sections 204 and 206 of the HHCA, the opinion also concludes that DHHL is the state entity authorized to manage geothermal resources on Hawaiian home lands.

“I hope that by issuing Op. No. 14-1, the Legislature and the community will have a greater appreciation of the constitutional and legal foundation for DHHL’s rights to the economic benefits of geothermal resource development on Hawaiian home lands.”

A copy of Op. No. 14-1 can be reviewed and downloaded at Op. No. 14-1 Letter to the Honorable Jobie M.K. Masagatani, Chairman, Hawaiian Home Commission, Regarding Management and Disposition of Geothermal Resources on DHHL Lands<>.

Hawaiian Perspectives on Geothermal Talk Story Sessions Continue


Following their recent response to the HELCO RFI on Hawai‘i island, IDG executives will take part in two community forums and information sessions on geothermal development in late September.

Hawaiian Perspectives on Geothermal

IDG’s innovative model for geothermal development has been a hot topic of discussion over the last few weeks. From a briefing for Hawaii legislators at the capitol and an energy forum for the Democratic Environmental Caucus to high-profile meetings with the PUC, DLNR and DHHL, word is traveling fast that Hawai‘i could benefit from IDG’s community-based approach to geothermal development.

The Hawai‘i Island community events later this month will feature presentations from Native Hawaiians on community-based models for geothermal development, cultural issues and the protection of cultural resources, OHA’s role in Wao Kele O Puna forest management, the revenue OHA receives from Geothermal development, and Native Hawaiian/public ownership of geothermal ‘minerals’ as assets of the ceded land trust.


Moderated by IDG CEO Patricia Brandt, the forum’s panelists will include Mililani Trask , Esq. (Indigenous Consultants LLC), Ku’uleiohuokalani Kealoha Cooper (Kealoha Estate), Cy Bridges (IDG Cultural Advisor), Robert Lindsey (Trustee, OHA Hawaii Island), Richard Ha (Co-Chair, Geothermal Working Group & Hamakua Springs), and Wally Ishibashi (Co-Chair, Geothermal Working Group, Member of Hawaii Labor Alliance).

The Hawaiian Geothermal Community Informational Sessions are sponsored by Innovations Development Group, Inc., Kealoha Estate, Indigenous Consultants LLC, Bob Lindsey, OHA Trustee—Hawaii Island.

Hawaii’s Innovations Development Group Tapped for Major New Zealand Geothermal Project

 “Native to Native” model can help Hawaii too

Media Release:

Hawaii-based Innovations Development Group [IDG] is pleased to announce that it has been approved as a “foreign” corporation by the New Zealand Government’s Overseas Investment Office and is poised to commence a joint venture partnership with the Eastland Group and a native Maori land Trust of New Zealand. IDG was awarded the exclusive rights to develop the Maori land Trust’s geothermal resources in January 2008 and engaged Eastland Group of Gisborne, NZ, in August 2010 as the technical and financial partner.

Negotiating N2N Model in New Zealand

Negotiating N2N Model in New Zealand

The transaction was structured around IDG’s proprietary Native-to-Native (N2N) community-based development model. The first phase of the project’s proposed 50 MW plus project is intended to begin construction soon.

Patricia Brandt

Patricia Brandt (CEO)

“It’s taken time and trust to get to where we are: ready to begin geothermal development in New Zealand . The very name of the project, Te ahi o Maui , calls to mind the mythology and close cultural ties that connect us as a Polynesian people. Maori Trust leaders will only accept developments on Trust land that are ecologically, economically and culturally sustainable,” says IDG CEO Patricia Brandt.  “They believe our involvement helps ensure this.”

Community Perspective Replaces Past Opposition

Though opposed to Hawaii geothermal projects in the past because of the absence of efforts to address community needs and rights, IDG executives say that today, less intrusive technologies, clean technology, culturally sensitive protocols based on judicially established rights,  and a genuine community-oriented perspective make geothermal a viable energy alternative. They believe that Hawaii can learn from the New Zealand project.

Mililani Trask (Indigenous and Community Advisor)

Mililani Trask (Indigenous and Community Advisor)

“Native Hawaiians, like the Maori and many other indigenous people around the world are resource-rich but concerned about exploitation,” says IDG Indigenous and Community Advisor Mililani Trask.  “IDG brings access to capital and technical expertise in a highly specialized field to guarantee that development on native peoples’ lands benefits the native, local community and our larger society.”

Native-to-Native Model Delivers Fair Return to All

According to IDG’s Senior Advisor Robbie Le’a Kapi’olani Cabral, the company has become internationally recognized for its Native-to-Native business model of sustainable development.

Robbie Le’a Kapi’olani Cabral (Senior Advisor)

Robbie Le’a Kapi’olani Cabral (Senior Advisor)

The complex joint venture agreements IDG negotiated on behalf of the Kawerau Trust ensure significant returns to all stakeholders.  The project will deliver economic growth and job creation while respecting the cultural values of the Maori people.  Project investors can count on fair profits and New Zealand will enjoy enhanced renewable energy production to meet its growing need for electricity.

“We put into place a structure that ensures the training, employment and substantive participation of the Maori people in the development of resources which are theirs through the status of the land as a taonga (treasured asset). Every beneficiary of this development has whakapapa or genealogical ties to the land,” said Cabral.  “We structured the deal to protect those rights while delivering a generous return to investors and long term energy diversification for the country, ” she added.

This concept has now been used with other Maori land trusts and incorporations working with IDG in the energy sector of New Zealand .

Ideal for Hawaii too

“The N2N model forms the basis in dealing with native stakeholders while embracing the larger society as a community-based development which is ideal for Hawaii ,” adds Brandt. “Using it, we can build a more sustainable energy future for Hawaii in a way that protects our land [aina] and cultural traditions, compensates the community fairly and reduces our dependence on foreign oil. It’s an approach that benefits the state and provides income and jobs at a time when both are desperately needed,” said  Brandt. “We hope the state will partner with us and embrace a model for geothermal development whose time is now.”

IDG Team with former President Oscar Temaru of the Government of French Polynesia in Tahiti

IDG Team with former President Oscar Temaru of the Government of French Polynesia in Tahiti

About Innovations Development Corporation, Hawaii

Innovations Development Group (IDG) is a Hawaii-based strategic planning and development company specializing in developing Indigenous land and resource assets focusing on renewable energy.

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