OHA owns Waimea Valley after months of negotiations
The Office of Hawaiian Affairs became the legal owner of Waimea Valley as of June 30.
The transfer of title came after months of negotiations between the former property owner Christian Wolffer of Attractions Hawaii and OHA, the city, the state, the National Audubon Society and the Army to preserve the valley.
The 1,875-acre valley located on the north shore between Kawailoa and Pupukea is rich in historical and cultural significance, OHA said.
The National Audubon Society currently manages the property and will continue to do so as long-term management plans are negotiated.
On Dec. 7 the Honolulu City Council considered a settlement offer that would have subdivided the valley.
On Jan. 5 the OHA board of trustees authorized the purchase of Waimea Valley, committing an amount not to exceed $2.9 million for that purchase.
Later that month, Wolffer, accepted a $14 million offer to settle the long-running lawsuit over the city's 2002 forced purchase of the valley through condemnation.
In addition to the $5 million the city placed in escrow to pay for the valley, the remainder of the $14 million purchase price was shared by OHA ($2.9 million), U.S. Army ($3.5 million), state Department of Land and Natural Resources ($1.6 million) and National Audubon Society ($1 million, advanced by OHA pending lease negotiation).
In a written statement, OHA Administrator Clyde Namuo expressed gratitude to everyone who helped make the land transfer possible.
"The bottom line is that the ahupuaa that is this valley is going to remain intact," he said.
A rededication ceremony is being scheduled for early August to mark the transition of ownership.