2018 Primary Election Candidates

Click to select a candidate
PARIS, Makana
Name on ballot:

PARIS, Makana

Running for:

OHA trustee

District (if applicable):


Political party:


Campaign website:


Current occupation:

Legislative and Policy Analyst for Iron Workers St



Previous job history:

I have served as a farmer, facilities manager, computer technician and networking specialist, teacher, campus minister, environmental-scientist/lab specialist, and adviser to the Hawai‘i Senate Judiciary and Labor Committee. I currently work across

Previous elected office, if any:


What qualifies you to represent the people of Hawaii?

As an OHA Trustee, my kuleana (responsibility) would be to serve as a fiduciary of the trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and all of Hawai‘i. As a fiduciary, I would help rebuild trust in OHA by taking an active role in guiding the future planning and execution of OHA’s mission. I have guided organizations through strategic planning, introspection, and positive change before - most recently as Vice Chair of ‘Aha 2016 and as Minister of Social Justice and Community Service at Chaminade University, and now as President of the Prince Kūhiō Hawaiian Civic Club.

I will use my background as a farmer, fishermen, and small business owner, coupled with schooling from MIT, the University of Hawaiʻi William S. Richardson School of Law, and the GTU/Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara, to help OHA actively listen, receive, and consider the thoughts and ideas of its stakeholders. I come from the communities that OHA is designed to benefit - I was raised in Nānākuli, growing up as part of an ʻohana that understands the struggles of drug abuse, mental illness, and incarceration, and I was houseless for a time. Now, I will use the education and experience I received from communities across Hawai‘i to give back.

What are the top three challenges facing the voters you seek to represent?

As an OHA Trustee I represent the trust of the Native Hawaiian people and all of Hawai‘i. The top three challenges facing voters in the OHA election are:
1. Trust in OHA. We come from a proud line of people who chose to navigate their way in the world while engaging each other in aloha. As a fiduciary, I will execute my duties so that we can rebuild the missing trust in our officials, in our organization, and in the trust itself. Rebuilding trust together with my fellow trustees is the only way to put OHA into a position to fulfill its mandate to improve the conditions of our Native Hawaiian community for the benefit of all of Hawaiʻi.
2. Planning for the Future. Our ancestors planned for seven generations. Our current atmosphere of short term planning and shorter benefits is a disservice to our heritage and to our future. OHA will only be able to plan and provide for future generations of Native Hawaiians if we prioritize investment in economic drivers that promote affordable housing, good jobs, accessible healthcare, and great education for today while being mindful of those that come after.
3. Listening. OHA must actively listen, receive, hear, and consider the thoughts and ideas of those that have kuleana (responsibility) for Hawaiʻi. Together, we must gather expert knowledge, lived experience, and the wisdom of our communities to chart next steps for our collective future. Drawing on the knowledge of our ancestors and considering the needs of those yet unborn, we can leave Hawaiʻi better than we found it.

If elected, what will be your highest legislative priority?

As an OHA Trustee, my kuleana (responsibility) is limited to serving as a fiduciary of the trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians and all of Hawaiʻi. OHA has become focused on providing services, but the methods and means of 20 and 30 years ago do not work in 2018 and will not work in 2028 or 2038. It is time for a new direction.

We must pay heed to the wisdom of our elders, work collaboratively with each other, and mentor those that will carry on the work. Trust resources would be best spent if OHA focused on supporting organizations that have area expertise and relationship with our communities. OHA should focus on activities that positively impact the growth of the trust and the creation of better housing, jobs, healthcare, and education for trust beneficiaries.

If elected, what can you do to improve the lives of your constituents?

If elected as an OHA Trustee, my kuleana (responsibility) is to serve as a fiduciary of the trust for the benefit of Native Hawaiians. As a fiduciary of the trust, I would have a legal responsibility to stabilize OHA and grow the Trust to fulfill its mission: improving conditions for Native Hawaiians and all of Hawai‘i.  That is my vision. That is my kuleana.

This means honoring a fiduciary’s duties of care, good faith, loyalty, and disclosure to beneficiaries. This means working collaboratively with my fellow trustees. This means creating clearer expectations and goals for employees and programs, clearer relationships between the trust and its beneficiaries, and a clearer relationship between OHA and the state. This means working to rebuild trust in OHA.

Together with my fellow trustees, I will orient OHA for the long-term sustainability of the trust and the Native Hawaiian people - Investing in economic drivers that provide jobs, homes, education, and healthcare for Native Hawaiians. I will work to ensure that our children and grandchildren will still be able to call Hawaiʻi home.

Is there anything else you would like voters to know about you?

I was born and raised in Nānākuli, live in Papakōlea, and farm on Hawaiʻi island. Growing up houseless, at times, and with a family that dealt with drug abuse, incarceration, and mental illness, I come from the communities that the Hawaiian trusts were designed to support. Through the trust of Ke Aliʻi Pauahi Bishop, I was able to attend Kamehameha Schools (’98) and my dreams of higher education were realized. Through the Hawaiian Homelands trust established by Congressman Ke Aliʻi Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniʻanaole, today, my extended ʻohana enjoy a house in which we live together.

I have benefited from the trusts that our ancestors established. Our communities empowered me with education and experience. Now is the time to join them in supporting and giving back to the next generation. E hoʻoulu lāhui aloha – together, we can grow a flourishing Hawaiʻi for all, and with special care for our Native Hawaiian brothers and sisters.

Scroll Up