Western concepts of ownership and privatization came in and clashed with that. So land began to be exchanged.
There was a queen that was overthrown here. So I was affected by all of that and felt profoundly grateful for the opportunity to live in Hawaii, and I set out at once to try to fit in.
When there wasn't any money involved, for all intents and purposes, nobody gave a damn. But now the land, supposedly worthless, is seen for what it really is: an incredibly valuable asset.
Land in Hawaii is money. What I'm talking about here is ceded land - land that belonged to the kingdom and was ceded to the republic and then to the state when we achieved statehood.
Land began to be seen as something to be owned privately and exploited for private interests, and never was entirely reconciled with the old ideas that land should be utilized in common for the good of all.
So there's always been this clash between what is the public good - that which belongs to all of us in common - and what can be exploited for a private interest.
A good portion of the airport is on ceded lands, and lease money was paid for that. So the state's collecting lease money because all of a sudden 'worthless' land now has an airport on it.
I remember saying to the chairman after serving the first year, 'Why are we doing this? Why don't the Hawaiians have control?' 'Well, we have no mechanism to do it,' I was told.
You're talking serious money already in the bank, and millions of dollars coming in every year.
So as soon as the land was worth something and there was money in the bank, all of a sudden everybody got interested in non-discrimination, in who's really going to administer this stuff.