Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan: ‘We are dropping our quiet title actions’
A few years ago, Priscilla and I visited Kaua`i and fell in love with the island. We kept coming back with family and friends, and eventually decided to plant roots ourselves. We bought land near Pila’a and our family is dedicated to preserving its wildlife and natural beauty.
We’ve heard from many in the community and learned more about the cultural and historical significance of this land. Over the past week, we’ve spoken with community leaders and shared that our intention is to achieve an outcome that preserves the environment, respects local traditions, and is fair to those with kuleana lands.
To find a better path forward, we are dropping our quiet title actions and will work together with the community on a new approach. We understand that for native Hawaiians, kuleana are sacred and the quiet title process can be difficult. We want to make this right, talk with the community, and find a better approach.
The land is made up of a few properties in Waipake, Pila’a, and several kuleana within them. As this community knows, the history of this land is complex. Many of you have shared your families’ stories, and we want to honor their history.
Before we acquired land in Waipake, it was set to be sub-divided by a commercial developer and built into about 80 homes, which could have impacted endangered monk seals and albatross. As soon as we bought this land, we formally withdrew this process. Now the land will be preserved with minimal development, and large portions will be maintained for farming by the community.
Pila’a has an even more complex history. Years before we bought the land, the Environmental Protection Agency had to step in to establish a consent decree to protect it. We are committed to being good stewards of this beautiful land. We hope to build a home for our family here.
There are also several kuleana across Pila’a. Some belong to descendants of Manuel Rapozo, and others have had no inhabitants for many decades. Over generations, there are not always clear records of ownership, and many families with a stake in these kuleana may not even be aware.
For the kuleana descended from Manuel Rapozo, the only inhabitant is his great grandson, Carlos Andrade, who has lived on and cared for these lands for more than forty years. He is 72 years old, retired, and wants to clear up the titles of these kuleana so he can pass the land on to his children. He will continue his quiet title action and upon completion his family will have ownership of those kuleana. He has been a steward of his family lands and we support him in this effort.
Other kuleana have no dwellings or inhabitants at all. In some cases, it is unclear whether any other families are partial owners. We reached out to families on Kaua`i and off island to discuss this directly. After that, we initiated the quiet title process to identify any other partial owners so we could also pay them their fair share.
Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead. Now that I understand the issues better, it’s clear we made a mistake.
The right path is to sit down and discuss how to best move forward. We will continue to speak with community leaders that represent different groups, including native Hawaiians and environmentalists, to find the best path.
Beyond this process, we are also looking for more ways to support the community as neighbors. We have contributed to community organizations and will continue to do so. We work with wildlife experts to preserve endangered species. We hope to do much more in the future.
We love Kaua`i and we want to be good members of the community for the long term. Thank you for welcoming our family into your community.
Mark Zuckerberg is the CEO and founder of social media network Facebook.