The Descendants

All "Trusts" Not Created Equal


The Descendants movie posterMusings from our executive director, Dale B. Bonar, Ph.D: As I write this the Oscar Awards are upon us and “The Descendants”, a movie about ownership and responsibility of significant family lands in Hawai‘i, is up for Best Picture. In a nutshell, the movie is about family conflicts in determining the best disposition of the lands as the fictional “King Family Trust” prepares to disperse its assets.

Since the movie’s release, several folks have expressed concern to me over something they learned from the movie, that there is a “Rule Against Perpetuity” stating that  “trusts” must disperse their assets after a set time (typically within 21 years after the death of the last named beneficiary).

Well then, how can a Land Trust claim to protect land “in perpetuity”? Because we can.

The answer is straightforward: Land Trusts are not “that” kind of trust.  By virtue of being a charitable nonprofit, there are both federal and state statutes which allow Land Trusts to hold land assets (both fee interests and conservation easements) permanently.  And, in the unlikely event a Land Trust could not effectively oversee its land assets, there are provisions in place to assure all such assets would be assigned to appropriate entities that would continue to protect the conservation values.

So rest assured, while not all trusts are created equal, the Land Trust is yours in perpetuity.


BBTB 2012 Live Auction Package: Kauai Family Fun


Kaua‘i Family Fun: 3 Nights, up to 6 people Kauai Family Fun: Auction Package to Benefit Hawaiian Islands Land TrustThere’s something for everyone in this fun-filled family getaway on Kaua‘i Island. Settle-in beachfront on Hanalei Bay for a three night stay at the Nalu Cottage (the same home George Clooney used while filming The Descendants). Then, get ready to PLAY! Up for grabs—jun ken po, anyone?—are four half-day SUP rentals (Hello, it’s Hanalei Bay, get out on the water!), two Zip-n-Dip zipline adventures (half-day tour incl. 9 zips), and one luxurious massage. Your trip is complete with an educational and invigorating morning bird hike with Dr. Carl Berg. On this private guided outing you’ll scout for native shore and oceanic seabirds along the glorious conservation lands of Kaua‘i’s northern coast. Your spirits are sure to soar after this getaway!

Total Value: $3,350 Buy now for $4,100

Donors: Hanalei Land Company, LLC, Princeville Ranch Adventures, Hanalei Watersports, Hanalei River Healing Arts, Dr Carl Berg

*Winning bidders have until December 1, 2012 to book their stay, all reservations are based on availability. The winning bidder is responsible for a $500 cleaning fee. No events or parties of any kind may take place at the rental.


This package is a part of the 2012 "Buy Back the Beach" Benefit Lu‘au "Adventures for the ‘Aina" Live Auction.

Hawaiian Islands Land Trust is a nationally accredited nonprofit organization with the mission of "protecting the lands that sustain us." By working to increase conservation land across Hawai`i we ensure the protection of coastal shoreline accesses and recreation areas, native ecosystems and habitats, culturally significant lands, and agricultural lands for our working farms and ranches—all for our use and enjoyment today and for all generations to come. For more details on the organization and our protected lands contact us at (808)244-5263 or