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Hawaiian group hopes to expand membership


Tribune-Herald staff writer

Still a ways from its goal of collecting 200,000 names, the Native Hawaiian Roll Commission plans to start the new year with an advertising push.

Executive Director Clyde Namuo said the commission will begin mailing information about the roll to at least 60,000 Hawaiians in January with the hope that more will sign up.

In addition, it will also be placing advertisements in print and broadcast media, he said.

The commission was started last July through Act 195 to create a list of people with Hawaiian ancestry who wish to assert their sovereignty and see the formation of a native government.

So far, it has collected 7,000 names.

The commission has set a self-imposed deadline of July 2013, a target that may have to be moved, Namuo said.

“I think we would have preferred to be a little bit higher by now, but it’s been a slow start,” he said. “Our media efforts were delayed because of the election.”

Namuo said the commission is targeting Hawaiians living in the state on the mainland.

“We want to reach as many people as possible,” he said. “Clearly those folks living in the state are going to be easier to reach.”

Namuo said Hawaiians on the mainland will be traced by their surnames.

He said another round of mailers in the first quarter of the year will target the 80,000 people who signed up for the Kau Noa program that ended in 2009.

Namuo said the commission can’t simply transfer their names since it needs their consent.

He said there are about 500,000 Hawaiians in the United States, with roughly 280,000 in Hawaii.

The commission held three meetings on the Big Island earlier this month.

About 30 people attended each meeting, another sign that it needs to do more outreach, Namuo said.

“We need to do more to get the word out to people,” he said. “People still don’t know what the enrollment program is all about.”

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