STAR-BULLETIN / 2005
Ahuena Heiau, which stands at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel in Kailua-Kona, is at the center of a dispute over who will be responsible for its future upkeep.
Historic heiau is contested
The daughter of the man who restored it has been told to leave by the new owners
KAILUA-KONA » Mikahala Roy, caretaker of the Ahuena Heiau in Kailua-Kona, has filed for a court order to continue as kahu or guardian in accordance with the wishes of her late father.
Roy is the daughter of David "Mauna" Roy, who rebuilt the heiau in 1975 and served as its kahu until his death in 2005.
King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel, where the heiau stands, recognizes an alternate group as caretakers and is seeking to evict Roy from hotel office space.
A hearing on the matter is scheduled before Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra on July 3.
On May 30, the hotel sent Roy a letter to vacate the hotel, saying it was being sold and the new owners didn't want to continue the verbal agreement that gave Roy office space.
The matter came to a head last week when InvestWest Financial/Pacifica Hotel Co. completed purchase of the hotel fronting Kailua Bay.
The buyers issued a statement yesterday, saying, "Preservation of Ahuena Heiau will continue during and after renovation of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel."
The preservation will be carried out by nonprofit Ahuena Heiau Inc., the statement said.
That organization, Roy said, was created in 1993 by her father. Over time, the organization was increasingly controlled by hotel employees, who for unknown reasons failed to provide funds to assist her father, Roy said.
Thomas Hickcox, the current head of Ahuena Heiau Inc., said, "The hotel recognizes us." He declined to explain further.
About 2000, Roy's father created another nonprofit caretaker group, Kulana Huli Honua Inc., which Roy now heads.
The heiau in question, a small rock platform with a thatched house on it, honors Lono, the god of peace and prosperity.
An old heiau was restored about 1812, when King Kamehameha established the capital of his newly unified kingdom where the hotel now stands. The heiau was destroyed in the 1820s, when Kamehameha's son outlawed the old Hawaiian religion.
In 1975, David Roy was selected to rebuild it. His reconstruction was smaller than the original and different in several respects, David Roy testified in a different case in 2003.
Kamehameha's capital site, called Kamakahonu, was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1962, and the heiau is now also listed.
Last year Gov. Linda Lingle wrote to Roy, "It is our understanding that prior to his passing, Kahu David Kahelemauna Roy named you to succeed him as kahu and to carry on his kuleana (responsibility) associated with Ahuena Heiau and Kamakahonu."
The hotel purchaser's statement said, "The recent sale of King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel will in no way impact the continued use of Ahuena Heiau for religious, cultural, historical, and/or educational purposes."