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OHA opens registration
for Hawaiian ancestry

Registrants will enter a database
that works as a genealogy bank

By Lisa Asato

Ada Conching of Manoa came to Kapiolani Park yesterday to watch her granddaughter dance at the Prince Kuhio celebration, but first she stopped at a covered booth behind the bandstand.

"I got my birth certificate, I got my mother's certificate," Conching told Pauline Kaihane, an Office of Hawaiian Affairs volunteer.

"Fine, that's all you need to have," Kaihane replied, handing her an application to register in OHA's Hawaiian Registry. "As soon as you find a seat, fill it out."

By 1 p.m. yesterday, the first day for registration, about 100 people of Hawaiian ancestry had applied at Kapiolani Park for registration into the new program. The database will serve as a genealogy bank and may be used to verify ancestry requirements for Hawaiian programs provided by organizations such as Kamehameha Schools and Alu Like Inc., said Rona Rodenhurst, a research and development officer with OHA.

Leiola DeMello, 45, was among the three generations of DeMellos who applied yesterday. DeMello, who has three children going to college on scholarships funded by Kamehameha Schools, said it was important to register for more than just scholarship rights.

It was important, she said, "so we're aware what's happening with Hawaiians ... and so we can have a say so with the Hawaiian issues. We're Hawaiian, we want to be a part of things Hawaiian, the nation, the movement, whatever it may be."

John Collins of Ewa Beach, said he was applying "just to be on the register."

"Anything can happen in the future," he said, "benefits, or maybe one day in the future they might say we were wronged and we might get reparations."

Rodenhurst said the first Hawaiian Registry cards should be mailed within two weeks. She said there was about 230,000 people of Hawaiian ancestry counted in the last Census. "We're hoping we can get all Hawaiians to participate," she said.

Registration was also held in Hilo yesterday. Registration will continue at Kapiolani Park today from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in conjunction with Hoikeike, the Oahu Council of the Association of Hawaiian Civic Clubs' Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalanianaole celebration.

People are asked to bring birth certificates tracing Hawaiian lineage back to at least 1920. There is no blood quantum requirement.

Future registration sites are being planned for Oahu and the neighbor islands. They will be announced in the organization's monthly newspaper, Ka Wai Ola o OHA, and online at

For more information about the free registry, call OHA at 594-1888, e-mail, or send a note to OHA Hawaiian Registry, 711 Kapiolani Blvd., Suite 500, Honolulu, HI 96813.

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