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About Pōkā Laenui

Pōkā Laenui is currently the Chairperson of the Native Hawaiian Convention consisting of native Hawaiian delegates elected by native Hawaiians from throughout the world.   Pōkā Laenui entered the field of Indigenous Advocacy in the early 1970’s.  He raised indigenous rights and decolonization concerns in the Federal & State courts immediately following graduation from the William Richardson School of Law as he represented criminal defendants, beach people evictions, and many other cases involving Hawaiian national rights.

He served as trustee to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs from 1982 to 1986; served on the State’s Sovereignty Advisory Commission, Hawaiian Sovereignty Elections Commission from 1993 to 1996, and was subsequently elected from Lualualei Valley to the Native Hawaiian Convention.

In 1984, he was elected as the Vice-President of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples, and from 1985 to 1990, served as the international Advocate for the World Council before a variety of international bodies including the U.N., the International Labour Organization, the International Commission on Museums, the International Commission on Environment and Development, and various other international bodies.

He contributed to the early development of the U.N. Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples, attending yearly gatherings in Geneva, Switzerland and organizing voices of Indigenous Peoples from around the world.

He was selected as the Indigenous Expert to the redrafting of the ILO Convention on the rights of indigenous peoples in 1987, and addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1993, at which time he was recognized as one of five pioneers in the international development of Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

As a director of the Hawaiian National Broadcast Corporation, he hosts Hawaiian Potpourri, a talk radio show as well as A 2nd Glance, a ½ hour television show, both dealing with current issues on a wide variety of topics.

He has written extensively on Human Rights and Hawaiian issues, and his writings may be found on his website.  His contact information is: Tel: 1(808)697-3045, Cel: 1(808)779-4301, plaenui@hawaiianperspectives.org, www.hawaiianperspectives.org.

He currently serves as the Executive Director of Hale Na`au Pono, the Wai`anae Coast Community Mental Health Center,  providing behavioral health services for adults, children and families in the local community in which he lives.

Pōkā Laenui

(Hayden F. Burgess)

86-226 Farrington Hwy.

Wai`anae, HI 96792

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