E Ola Nā Iwi Kūpuna


Carmen “Hulu” Lindsey, Trustee, Maui

Eō e nā ‘ōiwi o Hawai‘i, mai Kumukahi a i ka mole mai o Lehua, ka po‘e e aloha ‘āina me ka welo mai nā kūpuna kahiko, aloha mai kākou.

E ola ka wai a Kāne! It is with great pleasure that I update the beneficiaries and readers of Ka Wai Ola that Kānewai Spring located in the ahupua‘a of Kuli‘ou‘ou, Kona, O‘ahu, was successfully purchased by the non-profit, Maunalua Fishpond Heritage Center (MFHC) with the help of the Trust for Public Lands, the State of Hawai‘i, the City and County of Honolulu, and members of the public from throughout our pae ‘äina. The property that the spring is located on will forever be protected ensuring the preservation of the precious resource of ka wai a Kāne. MFHC is committed to the restoration of the spring and educating our communities of Kānewai. E ho‘omaika‘i! Congratulations to MFHC’s unwavering commitment to mālama and aloha ‘āina.

With that said, I would like to address the situation surrounding nā iwi kūpuna, the bones of our ancestors, in the Maui Sand Dunes of Wailuku. As many of you may be aware, this ancient burial site is located on the Maui Lani District property. The sand dunes have been mined since the 1940s according to the County of Maui, Maui Inland Sand Resource Quantification Study 3-5 of 2006, which has amounted to over an estimated 10 million tons.

Throughout our pae ‘āina there is a long history of struggle to keep the bones of our ancestors safe, secure, and at peace. E ola mau ko kākou mau kulāiwi. As a lāhui, we have to deal with our complex and diversified traditions and histories of iwi burials in conjunction with our modern society. I urge all stakeholders to take the issues of iwi protection and preservation with the highest level of respect and understanding.

Currently Mayor Arakawa has called for a halt on mining and export of the sand dunes where there is strong evidence that the site is an ancient burial ground for our kūpuna. From a report made by Maui Lani Partners, there have been hundreds of documented iwi discoveries.

OHA pointed out at the June 22 County meeting with the Infrastructure and Environmental Management the following points:

  • The exposure of iwi and excavation of burial sites is against traditional Hawaiian beliefs and values.
  • Maui Lani Partners are claiming their sand mining activities are for the purpose of clearing land for residential development, but they are involved with commercial activity of excavation and exporting of the sand to Oahu for construction projects like the rail, which is a violation of the zoning code.
  • Although they have a grading permit, it is still against the zoning code and cannot supersede the zoning code.
  • Due to Maui Lani Partners’ recent sand mining activity for commercial benefit, their permit is subject to suspension or revocation.
  • OHA is continuing to investigate the discovery of iwi kūpuna burials within Maui Lani’s massive property.

The kaumaha and concern of the beneficiaries are clear and I am proud to support their efforts. It is important that we thank the committed members of the community for taking on the kuleana to protect, advocate, and mālama our iwi kūpuna. May we continue to strive for unity as a lāhui and look to our kūpuna for inspiration as we move forward.

Note: Trustee columns represent the views of individual trustees and may not reflect the official positions adopted by the Office of Hawaiian Affairs Board of Trustees.