Hawaiian Homes Commission Adopts Resolution Honoring Former Mayor

Posted on Feb 16, 2021 in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Media Releases, Slider

County of Hawaiʻi photo.


February 16, 2021

Hawaiian Homes Commission Adopts Resolution Honoring Former Mayor

(Kapolei, Oʻahu) – The Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) adopted Resolution No. 304 to honor the late Hawaiʻi County Mayor and Hawaiian Home Lands lessee William Punapaiaʻalaikahala Kenoi at its Tuesday, February 16, 2021, regularly scheduled meeting.

Kenoi died at his Volcano home, surrounded by his wife and children, from myelofibrosis, a rare form of leukemia, on January 26, 2021.

In a Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) staff submittal to the Commission, the Department compared the late Kenoi’s public speaking prowess to Prince Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole.

“In reading the many speeches given by our U.S. Delegate, Prince Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, we admire the oratory, the cadence of the words being spoken and know our kupuna were as mesmerized and appreciative for the Prince’s abilities as they were proud he was native Hawaiian and an aliʻi,” the submittal read. “He was called the ‘People’s Prince’ because of his innate ability to speak to the common man and yet rub elbows with the Washington, D.C. political elite. As the son of one of the first lessees at Makuʻu Farm Lots and then as a successor and co-lessee with his siblings, Mayor Kenoi gave us in this generation and this 21st century, the same inspiration our Prince did to the Hawaiian people over a hundred years ago. And as we honor Mayor Kenoi with this resolution today, let us all remember ‘that if can, can! If no can, still can!’”

“Many in our community knew Billy Kenoi as the Mayor, but the Commission wanted to acknowledge his many accomplishments as a native Hawaiian and his status as homesteader,” said HHC Chair William J. Ailā, Jr. “He was a tremendous orator and I never wanted to follow him on a public speaking agenda, Billy was a tough act to follow.”

Click here to read the resolution in full.


About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands carries out Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by returning them to the land. Established by U.S. Congress in 1921, with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program run by DHHL includes management of over 200,000 acres of land statewide with the specific purpose of developing and delivering homesteading.

Media Contact:
Cedric Duarte
Information and Community Relations Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
(808) 620-9591
(808) 342-0873
[email protected]