Collette Machado is the new chairwoman of the Office of Hawaiian Affairs after former chairwoman Haunani Apoliona stepped down voluntarily.
The OHA board this morning voted 7-0 this morning to replace Apoliona with longtime colleague and close ally Machado, 60, who is the OHA trustee representing Molokai and Lanai.
Apoliona had been chairwoman for nearly the last nine years.
Prior to her election to OHA in 1996, Machado was known for her involvement in a number of Native Hawaiian organizations, including the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana.
In 2008, Machado was reelected to the Molokai-Lanai trustee seat by beating out retired Hawaiian Airlines employee Waipa Purdy by 58.4 percent to Purdy’s 41.7 percent.
On her home island of Molokai, however, Machado received fewer votes than Purdy, 907 to 485 votes. Her controversial stance in favor of the Molokai Ranch La’au Point development led, in part, to her lack of popularity on Molokai.
Machado said she will continue along the same path set out by Apoliona, focusing largely on ensuring OHA gets what it believes is its fair share of ceded land revenues and lobbying for U.S. recognition of a native Hawaiian entity through congressional passage of the Akaka bill.