The Mediation Center of the Pacific, established in 1979, is one of the oldest community dispute resolution centers in the United States. The Center has trained hundreds of mediators who have assisted in the resolution of thousands of disputes. The Mediation Center works with numerous community, business and government entities to resolve a wide variety of problems involving organizational disputes, employee concerns, neighbors, homeowners and lenders, landlords and tenants, families, parents and children, divorcing couples, elders, adult and juvenile criminal offenders and their victims, merchants and consumers, condominiums, and special education parents. In addition, the State of Hawaii Judiciary contracts with the Center to provide on-site court mediation for all Small Claims Court cases on Oahu and other services to the Courts, including mediation of summary possession (“eviction”) cases and certain temporary restraining order (TRO) cases at Honolulu District Court, mediation of certain paternity cases at Family Court in Kapolei, administration of Family Court’s Volunteer Settlement Matter (VSM) divorce program, and development of alternative dispute resolution programs.
The Neighborhood Justice Center of Honolulu, Inc. was incorporated on August 15, 1979. The original name of the organization was the Makiki Neighborhood Justice Center, Inc. On November 6, 1999, the name was changed to The Mediation Center of the Pacific, Inc., to reflect the broad array of services and programs developed and managed by the Center.
The idea for the Center originated from the Makiki Neighborhood Board as a positive step for resolving neighbor disputes in a peaceful manner. Attorney Bill Burgess took the initiative to secure funding from the U.S. Department of Justice to support the venture. Bill, and many of the other founding members and mediators, continue to be actively involved with the Mediation Center today.
The organization was originally located in a plantation house at Makiki Park, until moving to the Queen Emma building in 1982. Early on, the Center worked with Family Court to address domestic issues and with the Office of Consumer Protection in dealing with Landlord Tenant and used car cases. The Center was accepted as an Aloha United Way (AUW) agency in 1982, through which donations to the Mediation Center can be made.
THE CENTER TODAY
Today, the Mediation Center is located at 245 North Kukui Street, Suite 206 in Honolulu where mediation is provided in several mediation rooms, including one equipped with Skype and telephonic mediation capabilities. The Mediation Center’s staff work with over one hundred and fifty volunteers who mediate and facilitate conflicts in a broad array of areas.
The Mediation Center’s mission is to provide high quality mediation and dispute resolution services that are affordable and accessible. In support of this mission, the Center actively collaborates with other agencies and groups to offer on-site mediation in outlying communities across Oahu, as well as provide specialized programs such as divorce, paternity, child guardianship, elder issues, adult guardianship, juvenile restitution, special education, civil rights, mortgage foreclosure, condominium, real estate and more. The Center has also broadened the types of services it provides by offering meeting facilitation and customized training in mediation, conflict resolution and facilitation through the Training Program. The Program has enabled the Mediation Center’s staff to train hundreds of individuals in businesses, other agencies and within the community, thereby promoting a broad understanding of and use of alternative dispute resolution.