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Palace grounds occupation criticized

May 18, 2008
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Royal societies say actions of group not pono in sacred place

go to original storyA group representing the four Hawaiian royal societies yesterday publicly criticized the actions of a Hawaiian sovereignty group that has been occupying the ‘Iolani Palace grounds.

‘Aha Hipu’u said while it supports Hawaiians’ right of expression, the sovereignty group Hawaiian Kingdom Government should stop its occupation of the palace grounds, calling it a sacred place.

“We don’t support what they’re doing there,” said Bill Souza, incoming chairman of ‘Aha Hipu’u. “The way they went about it (and) the way they continue doing it is not pono.”

‘Aha Hipu’u members said in a written statement that they “strongly denounce the actions of this group as well as its claims to be heirs of the Hawaiian kingdom.”

The Hawaiian Kingdom Government, one of several Hawaiian sovereignty organizations that do not recognize the authority of the state or the U.S. government, has been occupying the palace grounds since April 30.

That day, it locked the gates to the palace grounds for about eight hours, shutting down palace tour operations and the Hawai’i Archives Building, which is behind the palace.

Representatives of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government could not be reached for comment yesterday.

‘Aha Hipu’u is made up of the Royal Order of Kamehameha I, ‘Ahahui Ka’ahumanu, Hale O Na Ali’i O Hawai’i and Daughters and Sons of Hawaiian Warriors — Mamakakaua.

About 60 to 70 ‘Aha Hipu’u members took a scheduled tour of ‘Iolani Palace yesterday as part of their three-day convention and chose to issue their statement at the palace, Souza said.

He said the grounds of ‘Iolani Palace are sacred and must be respected.

“We’re not against people (expressing themselves), but we have to be very careful when it comes to places like … ‘Iolani Palace, which Hawaiians hold very dear,” Souza said.

“We don’t want to be Hawaiian against Hawaiian,” Souza said. “That’s not what we’re all about. We’re about doing what is pono, and we want to remind them that we think that that action they’re taking right on the palace grounds is not pono.”

The state on Friday denied an assembly permit to the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, saying it had broken the rules of previous permits given to the group.

From May 1 through Friday, group members have spent weekdays on the palace lawn “conducting business,” according to members. The group got five-day permits on May 5 and 12 and tried to get another for the week starting tomorrow.

State Department of Land and Natural Resources director Laura H. Thielen had said the group violated permit conditions by collecting money and entering buildings that were off limits, but said she is open to issuing new permits if the organization complies with permit rules.

On Wednesday, Hawaiian Kingdom Government leader Mahealani Kahau was escorted off the palace grounds after she and other group members entered the Kana’ina Building, the former archives building on palace grounds. Kahau has said she didn’t know she violated the permit and was trying to retrieve a letter to her that she believed was delivered to the building.

Organization members have said they are occupying palace grounds as the rightful government of Hawai’i. Members of other Hawaiian activist groups have said they support the Hawaiian Kingdom’s right to occupy the grounds of the palace even if they don’t support their views.

Reach Lynda Arakawa at larakawa@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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