Anger in Hawaii over potential land grabs after disaster

The wildfires incinerated the town of Lahaina, destroying 2,200 homes and businesses and leaving hundreds unaccounted for. At least 114 people are confirmed dead.

The disaster has shed light on Hawaii's housing crisis which has prompted many to leave the state for the US mainland.

According to Hawaii's Senate Housing Committee, an average of 14,000 Hawaiians leave the state every year. The state also has one of the highest homeless rates in the country: in 2022, close to 6000 people experienced homelessness.

Biggest gathering for Pacific arts and culture returns to Hawaii next year

FestPAC is held every four years, but due to Covid-19 the 13th FestPAC scheduled for 2020 was postponed.

The previous event was hosted by Guam in 2016.

RNZ Pacific reports Pacific Community, the organisers of the event, said the festival has been an important venue for the perpetuation of Pacific arts and cultures for more than four decades.

"It has developed into a unique forum where cultural sharing and learning has enhanced the appreciation of Pacific arts and culture and knowledge of the region," it said.

Spectacular lava flow threatens major Hawaiian highway

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) reports the lava river has slowed down but continues to be fed from the erupting volcano.

In its latest update, the USGS reports the lava river is moving at an average of 6metres per hour.

The USGS said the most significant fissure is feeding a lava flow advancing slowly northward toward the Daniel K. Inouye Highway.

The lava flow has reached relatively flat ground causing it to spread out in three directions and slow down significantly over the past several days.

American Samoa confirms six Covid-19 cases at the border

179 travellers arrived on the January 6 Hawaiian Airlines flight.

Health officials suspect that some of the travellers may have contracted the omicron variant.

Deputy Director of Health Vesi Fautanu said all were removed from the quarantine sites and taken to the alternate care facility in Tafuna., where they are to be quarantined for an extra 14 days.

He said all are fully vaccinated and are doing well.


Reformed Tongan ex-gang leader shot dead in Hawai‘i

45-year-old Malakai Maumalanga was killed in his residence on March 29.

Kaniva News reports his funeral and visitation services have yet to be announced.

Witnesses reportedly said one, maybe two suspects were involved in the shooting. No further details were available, the Hawai’ian Star Advertiser reported.

The ex-gang leader, who was also goes by the name of Mo, has been described as heavily involved with gang while “he was 13 years-old … and very angry, very violent.”

He was jailed when he was 18 for a drive-by shooting.

Tongan man arrested in sting targeting child sex crimes in Hawaii

Finehafo’ou Hafoka of Kahului was arrested on 12 March for Electronic Enticement of a Child in the First Degree and Promoting Pornography for Minors.

Hafoka also was charged with two counts of indecent electronic display to a child.

Bail was set at $150,000.

Between 12 March and 14 March, officers, special agents and analysts posed as minors online and targeted those intending to meet children for sex.

Hawaii dam bursts after heavy rain

Local media reports the downpour has caused flooding that has also damaged homes and bridges.

This has prompted calls for the authorities to open evacuation shelters after residents were ordered to leave the area.

A state emergency management official says the rains have led to the cresting of the Kaupakalua Dam on the island's northern region of Haiku.

Governor David Ige says evacuation shelters have opened at a community centre and a high school.

American Samoa's repatriation system picks up five Covid-19 cases

The four are now under the care of state health officials along with one person who may have been exposed to them.

All have been removed from the hotel in Honolulu.

The information was revealed at a press conference with Governor Lemanu Peleti Mauga and members of the Covid 19 Task Force, led by Lieutenant Governor Talauega Eleasalo Ale.

Health Director Motusa Tuileama Nua said those who tested positive were members of a family who had travelled from the mainland.

Hawaii avian malaria threat worse due to climate change

Last month's US federal report, the Fourth National Climate Assessment, concluded climate change poses a threat to all the US, but particularly Hawaii and the American Pacific territories.

One of the writers of the Hawaii section of the assessment, the director of the Pacific Island Ecosystems Research Center, Gordon Tribble, said Hawaii was the most ecologically diverse US state.

He said the effects of climate warming were already apparent with forest birds facing a growing threat from malaria.

Island in Hawaii vanishes after hurricane

Scientists at the University of Hawaii have confirmed the 11 acres which make up East Island are now underwater.

Civil Beat reports the island was a critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals and green sea turtles.

Randy Kosaki, an official with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said the island's disappearance shows climate change is real and happening now.

He said it was unclear whether the island would stay submerged.