Friday, February 14, 2003

Hawaiians upset
over rejected visit
to Kahoolawe

By Gary T. Kubota

WAILUKU >> Some native Hawaiians are upset because the Navy will not allow them to go to the eastern coastal area of Kahoolawe to perform cultural and religious ceremonies.

However, Lt. Cmdr. Jane Campbell, Navy spokeswoman, said five adults representing the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana will be allowed to spend tomorrow night at Hakioawa on the nothereastern portion of the island.

Hawaiian cultural expert Charles Maxwell said yesterday he asked the Navy to allow helicopters carrying 28 members of the Pukalani Hula Halau to Kanapou, but Navy officials have denied them access. He said the halau has even been turned down from flying over Kanapou.

The Navy has been clearing ordnance from the island and is scheduled to give Kahoolawe back to the state in November.

Campbell said the Navy denied the original request from the Protect Kahoolawe Ohana because the group included children under 15 who are excluded from the agreement allowing public access to the island.

Campbell said her office also had reservations about the access because there were no sanitation facilities or established landing sites at Kanapou, and the area was full of ocean debris.

She also said the private carrier Pacific Helicopters cited safety worries and it was the helicopter company that decided to turn down the halau's later request for a flight over Kanapou.

Officials at Pacific Helicopters were unavailable for comment.

Maxwell said the halau planned to perform a chant about Kanapou at the Merrie Monarch Festival this year and wanted to ask the elders buried on the island for permission to deliver the chant. Maxwell said his halau was planning to perform the chant this morning at Palauea in South Maui overlooking Kahoolawe.

Reporter Gregg Kakesako contributed to this story.

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