The Office of Mauna Kea Management, which manages approximately 12,000 acres of state-owned land on Mauna Kea, recently hired Wallace “Wally” Ishibashi Jr. as cultural officer.
Ishibashi will assist with implementation of OMKM’s Cultural Resource Management Plan and will develop and provide a cultural training program for those using Mauna Kea for cultural, scientific, and recreational purposes. In addition, Ishibashi will serve as cultural monitor and as a cultural adviser for staff including Rangers and the Visitor Information Station at Hale Pohaku. He will assist with outreach efforts within the Hawaiian community and the general public, and will work closely with the Kahu Ku Mauna Council.
A Hawaii Island native of Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese ancestry, Ishibashi was born in Hilo and raised in the Keaukaha Panaewa Hawaiian Homestead. His KealohaPoliahu and Makuakane families have ties to the Kaohe ahupuaa (land division) and specifically to Kukaiau Ranch, Kukuihaele and Waipio Valley. Poliahu is known in Hawaiian mythology as one of the snow goddesses and is believed to have lived on Mauna Kea.
For the past 20-plus years, Ishibashi has served as a business agent and division director for ILWU Local 142. He was recently appointed by Governor Abercrombie to the Hawaiian Homes Commission representing East Hawaii. He is a member of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I Moku o Keawe, Moku O Mamalahoa Heiau, Hawaiian Community Representative for Hawaiian Homes Keaukaha Panaewa Association, Hawaii Island United Way Executive Board Member and the Democratic Party Precinct chairman for Papaikou.