Bishop Museum to Retain Lands in Waipi‘o Valley
Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum reported on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019, that it will retain ownership of lands in Waipi‘o Valley on the Island of Hawai‘i. In January 2016, the museum announced its intent to sell its Waipiʻo Valley assets. The museum’s board of directors has since voted to remove the lands from the market, having reevaluated the current conditions of the museum and opened up opportunities for partnerships in support of its mission, which includes the perpetuation of living culture.
“Waipi‘o Valley is one of Hawai‘i’s greatest living treasures. It is the ancestral seat of the ali‘i of Hawai‘i Island, and is home to tremendously significant sites of cultural and natural heritage,” said Melanie Ide, president and CEO of Bishop Museum. “We’re pleased to make this announcement, and look forward to continuing to work alongside the community to chart a path forward in the stewardship of Waipi‘o.”
Bishop Museum is now working closely with the Waipiʻo Taro Farmers Association and other stakeholders to develop a long-range plan for the protection, conservation and selective restoration of the natural and cultural resources in the valley.
“From my own experience as a Bishop Museum lessee over the past 30 years, it’s been on pretty shaky ground and a major concern has been for our future on the land,” said Doug Genovia, a taro farmer whose family has leased land from the museum in Waipi‘o Valley for more than 50 years. “But in just the last year, there’s been a significant change, which makes me feel more hopeful of a brighter future for all of us who are Bishop Museum lessees. Together, with Bishop Museum’s leadership, I believe we have a much better chance now—to protect our cultural traditions and perpetuate Waipi‘o as a “wahi pana.””