HONOLULU — Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi announced Thursday that he has appointed Dawn Takeuchi Apuna as director designate of the Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting.

What You Need To Know

  • Takeuchi Apuna has been serving as department’s acting director since Dean Uchida's resignation in September

  • Honolulu City Council must confirm Takeuchi Apuna’s appointment

  • Takeuchi Apuna oversaw implementation of new short-term vacation rental enforcement efforts, improvements to permit-processing technology

  • Takeuchi Apuna expected to reform department's history of corruption, inefficiency, staffing problems and backlog of permit applications


Takeuchi Apuna has been serving as department’s acting director since the surprise resignation of Dean Uchida, who had assumed the position a year earlier, in September.

Takeuchi Apuna’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Honolulu City Council.

“It is an incredible privilege to be appointed director at this pivotal time,” Takeuchi Apuna said. “Inspired by the hard work of our staff, and in collaboration with the administration, City Council and industry, I am excited and determined to do all I can to lead the department toward optimum efficiency, effectiveness and integrity in service to the public.”

Since becoming interim director of the beleaguered department, Takeuchi Apuna has overseen the implementation of new short-term vacation rental enforcement efforts and improvements to the department’s permit-processing technology.

Before joining DPP as deputy director last year, Takeuchi Apuna served as chief planner for the Hawaii Public Housing Authority. She has also served as deputy corporation counsel for the City and County of Honolulu.

Takeuchi Apuna will be counted on to reform a department with a chequered history of corruption and inefficiency, ongoing problems with staffing and a backlog of permit applications.

“Having worked extensively with Dawn for nearly the past two years in her role as deputy director of DPP, I have seen firsthand her exceptional decision making and problem-solving skills,” Blangiardi said. “Dawn has a complete grasp of the enormity of the challenge facing her and her team at DPP, and I have every confidence she possesses the vision, grit and determination to create the best path forward as we look toward unprecedented improvement in this critical component of City operations.”

Michael Tsai covers local and state politics for Spectrum News Hawaii.