US

DNA to be allowed for proving Native Hawaiian blood quantum to qualify for homestead lease

  • This Dec. 24, 2015 photo provided by Pat Kahawaiolaa shows Kahawaiolaa taking a selfie at Keaukaha Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii. He is among those with at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian blood who are eligible for low-cost land leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department is proposing a rule that would allow use of DNA evidence as proof of an applicant’s Hawaiian blood quantum. (Pat Kahawaiolaa via AP)

    This Dec. 24, 2015 photo provided by Pat Kahawaiolaa shows Kahawaiolaa taking a selfie at Keaukaha Beach Park in Hilo, Hawaii. He is among those with at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian blood who are eligible for low-cost land leases from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. The department is proposing a rule that would allow use of DNA evidence as proof of an applicant’s Hawaiian blood quantum. (Pat Kahawaiolaa via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • This Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo shows houses in the the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakolea in Honolulu.The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow people applying for a homestead lease to use DNA evidence to prove ancestry. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)

    This Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015 photo shows houses in the the Hawaiian homestead community of Papakolea in Honolulu.The state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands has proposed rules that would allow people applying for a homestead lease to use DNA evidence to prove ancestry. (AP Photo/Audrey McAvoy)  (The Associated Press)

A man's quest to prove he is at least 50 percent Native Hawaiian has led Hawaii officials to propose rules that would allow DNA to prove ancestry.

Leighton Pang Kee sued after he was deemed ineligible for one of the most valuable benefits available to Hawaiians. Those with at least 50-percent Hawaiian blood quantum can apply for a 99-year homestead lease for $1 a year.

Pang Kee's biological father wasn't listed on his birth certificate. A DNA test showed he's related to his late father's brother, but the state didn't accept that.

As part of a settlement, the state agreed to enact rules to allow DNA evidence to be used as proof of eligibility. Pang Kee is now among more than 27,000 applicants on a homestead waitlist.