Kamehameha’s Spear Recovered

The removal of King Kamehameha’s spear from his statue in Wailoa State Park was more a case of vandalism than of theft.  The upper section of the bronze  spear, which police determined had been “forcibly removed” was recovered from the overgrowth near Alenaio Stream near the statue.  But the HPD’s public notice about the recovery of the spear still refers to it as “stolen.”

Police checking the stream in a boat discovered the missing section.  Detectives, with the aid of a Fire Department ladder truck, also collected additional evidence from the statue and “determined that the section of the spear was forcibly removed from the lower staff section.”

“The spear segment will be processed for any forensic evidence and returned to the statue’s organizers,” continued the police communique. “Detectives continue to check nearby businesses and buildings for the existence of video surveillance.

The Chronicle asked the police if the gold leaf that covered the end of the spear as still there when the spear was recovered.  It was, so stealing the gold wasn’t a motive (even if it had been, it would have been misguided; the amount of gold was minuscule.  The only motive appears to have been pure maliciousness.

The removal of the spear was first reported last Sunday in the early afternoon.

“Police continue to ask for the public’s assistance in identifying the responsible person or persons in this case to call Detective Sandor Finkey at 961-2384 or email him at sandor.finkey@hawaiicounty.gov. “or an call CrimeStoppers anonymously at 961-8300.  A reward of up to $1000 has been offered for evidence leading to the solution of the case.

Commentary: Kama’aina Blues

by Alan McNarie

Kama’aina: someone who’s been here long enough to look at a place in the present, see it as it once was, see it as it will be, and care deeply about all three.  I just spent two days on the Kona side for the first time in years–met my lady friend Kersten’s brother and his wife for the first time and enjoyed the visit, but that enjoyment was tempered by Kama’aina pain. They’d rented a time-share in Waikoloa. I took them to see Kalako-Honokahau National Historic Park, one of my favorite spots on the island: one of the few places left in the islands where, in the past, I’ve seen not just endangered species such as ae’o (black-necked stilts) and ‘alae ke’oke’o (Hawaiian coots), but whole flocks of them. Yesterday, though, all I saw were a single ‘alae ke’oke’o and a few sandpipers. On previous visits I’ve seen dozens of green sea turtles, either hauled out to sun or grazing on algae in the tide pools; yesterday I only saw three or four. I’m hoping that the birds and turtles were just displaced temporarily by the storm, and will return…. Yesterday evening, while Kersten nursed a migraine at our darkened room, I went snorkeling with Kersten’s brother at Anaeho’omalu. We saw only two yellow tangs; almost all 0f the few fish we did observe were small, drab species–probably thanks to the damned aquarium trade.

But one thing was getting more abundant on the Kona Coast:  shopping centers. New developments seemed to be sprouting like fungi all along Highway 19 from Waikoloa to Kailua-Kona. The whole North Kona Coast, which was the home mainly to feral donkeys, a few beach parks and the ruins of ancient Hawaiian villages when I first got here, appears to be on its way to becoming a strip city….

I’m sure many or most of the tourists who sunbathe and play golf at the Waikoloa resorts don’t share this kind of temporal migraine, this painful triple vision; they just see the luxurious cocoon of the resorts, without seeing how much the land is changing. The only glimpses they get of the past may be the petroglyphs along the golf course trails, the romanticized biographies of Hawaiian royalty on the plaques in the King’s Market, and the bowdlerized and inaccurate  “Hawaiian luaus” where they feast on roast pig and pineapple while “hula dancers” shake their hips furiously to the wild rhythms of Tahiti. I think Kersten’s brother and his wife are probably more sensitive than many to these conflicts of place and time; they edit a newsletter for their own community in Arizona, where some of the same conflicts must be happening.  But how could they know that the very place where they came for a happy getaway was arousing such deep conflicts in their resident relatives?  How can they guess that, when our smiles fade too quickly, the smile at seeing them is genuine, but the sadness comes from seeing the land? How can they possibly discern the difference between what we feel about this place and what we feel about them?

How many other visitors notice the tired scowls and forced smiles of the wait help, who likely caught the Hele-On from Puna or Ka’u in the wee hours of the morning in order to reach their minimum-wage jobs? How many of them realize that once, all along this coast, every bay and cove held a Hawaiian village instead of a luxury hotel or subdivision?  How many of them glimpse the pain of what was lost, and will be lost, to give them their few days in an artificial “Paradise”?

And yet it’s not their fault.  They’re trying to get away from their own troubles in their own homes in far-off places, and paying dearly for the privilege.  So we hide our pain and we smile, and some of us get a few dollars from the resorts’ corporate owners to help maintain the illusion.

Today marks the 27th anniversary of the day that I first stepped off the plane in Hilo. Since that day, I’ve worked first as a teacher, then as a paralegal helping the victims of family violence, then as a journalist, giving people information that they needed to know and might not have learned otherwise. I’ve celebrated local artists and local culture, have tracked off-island money in local elections, and have helped to provoke at least four full-fledged grassroots rebellions with the stories I’ve reported. I like to think that I’ve given enough back overall to earn my place on this island that I love so much, though sometimes I wonder.  For the past 15 years or so, I’ve been joking that I was “almost a kama’aina”–and would be until the day I die.

I’m going to stop saying that now.  I’m at least a novice kama’aina.  It hurts too much, now, for me to think I’m anything else. But I know that what I feel is only a scratch compared to the pain of those with older roots. How magnified would my sadness be, if my ancestors had lived in one of those vanished coastal villages–if they’d toiled for generations, piling the rocks of those mighty fishpond dikes at Kaloko-Honokahau? What would I feel if my great-great-grandmother had left my great-grandfather’s piko in one of those holes pecked in the pahoehoe beside what is now the seventh green, but I’m only welcome to come to visit that spot, now, if I’m a corporate employee or the guest of one of the guests? How would I feel if my ancestral village  lay under the foundation of a time-share condo?

There is too much pain, too much sadness deep in the bones of this beautiful island. Kama’aina are the ones who are gifted to feel it.

 

Ching Foundation Sponsors “Inspired in Hawaii” Contest for Students

The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation has announced its
Sixth Annual “Inspired in Hawaii” Essay, Poster and Video Contest
The contest encourages Hawaii’s students to “dream big and make Hawaii a better place.” This year’s contest, which is open to students in Kindergarten through Grade 12 who are current residents of the state of
Hawaii,  offers $10,000 in cash awards for winning students and their teachers.

Poster and Essay Division Awards:
First Place: $125 student, $50 teacher
Second Place: $100 student, $50 teacher
Third Place: $50 student, $50 teacher
Video Division Awards*:
First Place: $300 team, $100 teacher
Second Place: $250 team, $100 teacher
Third Place $200 team, $100 teacher
Fourth Place $150 team, $100 teacher
Fifth Place: $100 team, $100 teacher

Students may enter only one division.
Essay Division: Grades 6-12, individual
Poster Division: Grades K-12, individual
Video Division: Grades 7-12, individual or team entries

Each entry must identify an existing problem in Hawaii and offer a thoughtful solution to the problem. Go to the Web site for rules, entry forms, prizes, judging criteria and information on Clarence T.C. Ching. You can also see last year’s winning entries there.
Entries must be received no later than 4:00 p. m. on Friday, November 6, 2015. Mail or deliver entries to:

ATTN: Inspired in Hawaii Contest, The Clarence T. C. Ching Foundation, 1001 Bishop Street, Suite 770, Honolulu, HI 96813

If there’s a question that isn’t answered at the Web site, contestants can email contest coordinator saraplatte@mac.com.

Award winners will be contacted through their schools and invited to an awards program in February 2016.

Hawaiians Arrested for Squatting Claim “Sovereign Rights”

According to the Hawaii Police Department, eight people were  arrested on Friday, August 14, for illegally squatting in a Kurtistown home while claiming Hawaiian Sovereignty rights.”After an extended effort by a Realtor to remove former tenants and others from a foreclosed home on Kapalai Road in Kurtistown, State Sheriffs served an eviction notice on July 25 on the persons squatting in one of two homes on the property,” the police press release eported. “Several of the adults present were confrontational, refusing to identify themselves, but all 12 persons (adults and children) left the property with their belongings. The Realtor later changed the locks on the doors.

“On August 5, police conducted a check of the house in response to information that it appeared one of the homes had been reoccupied after the eviction. Police observed a woman outside the house who immediately went inside, secured the door and refused to come out, arguing that she had Hawaiian Sovereignty rights allowing occupancy of the house and property. Police overheard other persons inside the house and advised the occupants that they would be returning.”

Ten days later after police returned and surrounded the structure, “The occupants voluntarily opened the door and all eight adults were arrested but refused to be fingerprinted or photographed, claiming Hawaiian Sovereignty.”

All of those arrested were adults.  The police also contacted the Humane Society to take custody of  seven dogs that were allso on the property.

Those arrested and charged with first-degree criminal trespassing:

Tiana Kaniaupio, 19
Sarah Kanuha, 35
Herman Elderts Jr., 37
Shaun Kanuha, 40
Victoria Elderts, 58
Herman Elderts Sr., 65
William Elderts, 73
Barbara Elderts, 83

Bail was set for each at $1,000.

Ukes as Art at Wailoa Center

The Big Island Ukulele Guild’s annual exhibit will open Friday October 2 at Wailoa Center in Hilo at 5 p.m. The formal opening will feature live music, pupus, and a drawing for a free ukulele and will close at 8 p.m. This exhibit, which featured over 50 handmade instruments last year, will also feature other invitational pieces from Woodworkers across the Island, including furniture, sculpture, and turned bowls. Show is open Mon. -Fri. from 9am – 4:30pm. The exhibit was hailed as the best-attended show of 2013.

The public is invited to join in the fun for the formal opening, or to come see the show throughout the month, vote for their favorite ukulele for the People’s Choice Award, and join in ukulele kanikapila (jam sessions) on Saturdays October 3rd with Alan Hale, and 17th with Keoki Kahomoku, from 12 until 3 p.m. On Saturday October 10th, members of the Ukulele Guild will lead demonstrations for the public. The exhibit will close October 29th.

The Big Island Ukulele Guild was started in 2001, and is comprised of about 50 members. The primary focus of the Guild is to promote ukulele making by sharing information between builders. Many of the members build as a hobby, while about ten percent build professionally. Any interested person can become a guild member. Members meet four times a year at varying locations across the island to share food, kanikapila, and most importantly, a central presentation on some aspect of ukulele building.

For more information about the Ukulele Guild or upcoming exhibit, contact coordinator  Dave Stokes (808) 989-8890 or visit The Guild website BigIslandUkuleleGuild.org

For more information about the Wailoa Art Center, contact (808) 933-0416.

Letter: Cultural Practitioners’ Access to Mauna Kea Restricted

To:  Interested Parties
From:  Lanny Sinkin, Ali’i Mana’o Nui, Kingdom of Hawai’i

On Thursday, July 2, I received an email informing me that Office of Mauna Kea Management Rangers were allowing those engaged in spiritual practice on Mauna a Wakea to ascend the Mountain only at 1:00 p.m. each day, limiting the number of people that could ascend to ten, and requiring a Ranger be present to accompany the practitioners.

Meanwhile cars and trucks of non-practitioners traveled up and down the Mountain with no restrictions.

I went to the 9,000 foot level and interviewed various Protectors who confirmed what I had been told.

I had no question that the restrictions amounted to an unconstitutional restriction on the rights to religious practice guaranteed by the First Amendment and that the allowing of non-practitioners to ascend the Mountain constituted discrimination against the spiritual practitioners in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment guarantee of equality before the law.

I discussed the situation with the Kahuna of the Temple of Lono.  He agreed to pursue legal action to stop the latest instance of persecution of the traditional faith by the State.  I prepared pleadings to request a Temporary Restraining Order and Preliminary Injunction prohibiting the enforcement of the unconstitutional restrictions.  The Federal Court in Honolulu was closed on Friday through Sunday, so I came to Honolulu today to file the action.

Attached are the cover letter to the Attorney General and the pleadings I filed today.  United States District Court, Honolulu  CV 15 00254.

Judge Watson did not have time to address the TRO today.  I am expecting to hear from him tomorrow.

 

–Lanny  Sinkin

An Open Letter to the Governor re Mauna Kea

 

Dear Governor Ige,

Because we are Hawaiian Cultural Practitioners and are fairly well-acquainted with Mauna Kea, on April 8, 2015, Paul Neves and I guided you and your party to the summit of Mauna Kea. I have made pilgrimages to the summit a few times since that momentous trip up there with you.

One of my primary activities of my cultural practice is to walk in the footsteps of my ancestors – and i have walked over many parts of Mauna Kea, including having my cultural hiking group – Huaka’i i na ‘Aina Mauna – in 2002 – hike from sea level at Koholalele Landing, at Kukaiau, on the Hamakua coast, to the summit of Mauna Kea, following the Umikoa Trail, then descending the Skyline Trail, crossing Pohakuloa Training Area and following the Kona Highway to the vicinity of Pu’uAnahulu, then hiking the Pu’uAnahulu-Kiholo Trail back to sea level at Luahinewai, at Kiholo Bay on the Kona coast.

I am desirous to ascend Mauna Kea again – but I hear that you have illegally placed certain restrictions on cultural practitioners (such as me) to be able to go up the Mountain only at 1 p.m. on a daily basis in a group of less than 10.  And I understand that the reason for this restriction is that you have declared the road to be unsafe, making it a public safety issue.  But what I don’t understand is that the observatory people have access to go up and down the Mountain.- with no limitations.  It seems to me that if the road is unsafe for cultural practitioners, that it would be unsafe for astronomers and the public.  Do they sign disclaimers or something of that sort – to be able to do what they are being allowed to do?  If so, I’m willing to sign a disclaimer too.  In other words, I’m willing to disclaim the risk of using the road that you have declared to be unsafe.  However, I hear that there are no restrictions for cultural practitioners who are willing to hike.

Well, back to my wanting to ascend the Mountain.

Despite having a hypertensive condition, and suffering from a side effect of gout, I thought I’d visit the summit area on Sunday, leaving the HalePohaku Visitors’ Center area at 5 a.m.  As you are a relatively young man compared to my being 79 years old – I would love to have you share the hike up the Mountain with me.  We can do this by ourselves – and you can give your bodyguards the day off – as there won’t be any of those “unruly,” young Protectors on the road that is being restricted to them.  And since they will be escorted up the mountain by one of the Mauna Kea rangers when they can come up at 1 p.m., things should be quite secure.  And since there will be just you and me – we’ll be able to enjoy the spirituality and serenity of the Mountain in peace and quiet.  Lake Waiau should be at its shimmering best.  Even if we take our time moving at a leisurely pace, going up to an altitude of 13,000 feet, we should be back to the Visitors’ Center before 10 p.m.

There is only one problem – and that is that if my feet swell excessively because of my medications and subsequent water retention – that I’ll have to abort any further ascent at that point – and start down.  Will that be OK with you?

Can I look forward to your timely appearance at 5 a.m. on Sunday morning as we engage in this wonderful cultural (we don’t have to call it religious) activity?  Please make sure, though, that you have good hiking boots, some energetic food and snacks and warm clothes (in case the weather should turn a bit cold).

Thanks.  I’m looking forward to spend a very nice and pleasant day with you.

ku ching