HONOLULU – 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.