STAND. COM. REP. NO.1334-02
RE: H.R. No. 51
Honorable Calvin K.Y. Say
Speaker, House of Representatives
Twenty-First State Legislature
Regular Session of 2002
State of Hawaii
Your Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs, to which was referred H.R. No. 51, H.D. 1, entitled:
"HOUSE RESOLUTION REQUESTING THE CREATION OF A HANAI TASK FORCE TO RECOMMEND A CONSISTENT POLICY ON HANAI RELATIONSHIPS,"
begs leave to report as follows:
The purpose of this measure is to request that Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii convene a temporary advisory task force to study the legal ramifications of integrating the practice of hanai relationships into statutory law.
Your Committee received testimony in support from the Department of Human Services, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Volunteer Legal Services Hawaii, the Committee for Adoption Reform Education, and a concerned individual.
The task force is further requested to review applicable case law, statutory law, and customary and traditional practices related to the hanai relationship, and to submit interim and final reports to the Legislature before the convening of the 2003 and 2004 Regular Sessions, respectively.
Your Committee finds that the ancient Hawaiian system of open adoption called "hanai", in which parents would give their babies to another, usually a relative, to rear and cherish, was recognized by early Hawaiian courts as not including some rights usually associated with an adoptive relationship, such as the right to inherit property.
Despite this historical usage, your Committee finds that it is not uncommon for families today to enter into a hanai relationship without a clear understanding of its legal ramifications. This raises questions as to legal custody and guardianship of the child, often causing problems for state agencies, the courts, and the families and children involved. Your Committee agrees that there is a need for a consistent policy on hanai relationships to protect and preserve the customs and traditions of Hawaiians pursuant to article XII, section 7 of the State Constitution.
As affirmed by the record of votes of the members of your Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs that is attached to this report, your Committee concurs with the intent and purpose of H.R. No. 51, H.D. 1, and recommends its adoption.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committee on Judiciary and Hawaiian Affairs,
ERIC G. HAMAKAWA, Chair