Hawaiʻi County Council calls on U.S. Postmaster to improve Puna postal service

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The Pāhoa Post Office put up a makeshift awning to help keep rain and sun off patrons, who often have to wait in long lines. July 2023. (Cammy Clark/Big Island Now)

The Hawai‘i County Council’s Committee on Government Operations and External Affairs on Tuesday gave a favorable recommendation for a resolution urging the United States Postal Service to expand or rebuild the Pāhoa Post Office in Puna on the Big Island.

Patrons deal with excessive wait times, inaccessible and too-small facilities, and waitlists for postal box availability, according to the resolution.

“This resolution really was born from community concern regarding what we have in Puna when it comes to post offices and postal infrastructure,” said District 5 Councilmember Matt Kaneali’i-Kleinfelder, who put forward the resolution. “A lot of them were ready to go postal during COVID, and [their frustration] has proceeded to stand at that level.”

The Hawai‘i County Council on Tuesday passed a resolution urging the United States Postal Service to expand or rebuild the Pāhoa Post Office in Puna on the Big Island. July 2023 (Cammy Clark/Big Island Now)

The post office put up an awning in the front of the small building to help keep people out of the sun or rain as they wait in line to get into the building. But the line often snakes around the building, leaving the patrons in the elements with their letters and packages.

Puna’s post office woes were exacerbated several years ago, when the 2018 Kīlauea eruption forced all evacuated Puna residents to redirect postal services to the Pāhoa Post Office. The move strained already-limited resources.

More recently, in the 2020 U.S. Census data, Hawai‘i County saw the largest percentage of population growth among Hawai‘i counties, with Kea‘au to Mountain View having the largest single-region change in the County at 20.3% growth from 2010.


“[A]s a rapidly growing district with already limited infrastructure, Puna needs improved postal infrastructure,” Kaneali’i-Kleinfelder’s resolution reads. “[P]ossible infrastructure improvements to be considered are the expansion of an existing post office, the creation of a new post office facility, or the relocation of an existing post office to a larger building.”

District 4 Councilmember Ashley Kierkiewicz expressed sympathy for Puna community.

“Any effort – even if it’s a strong symbolic statement elevating this issue – I think shows that we are listening to our community, empathetic and absolutely advocating on their behalf to those who are in positions of power to affect the situation,” she said.


The resolution now goes before the County Council at its regular meeting.

Editor’s Note: This story has been corrected to show the resolution was given a favorable recommendation during a committee meeting and now goes before the County Council during a regular meeting.

Scott Yunker
Scott Yunker is a journalist living on Kauaʻi. His work for community newspapers has earned him awards and inclusion in the 2020 anthology "Corona City: Voices from an Epicenter."

Scott can be reached at [email protected].
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