STAR-BULLETIN / OCTOBER 2005
Ahuena Heiau was the source of a dispute between its caretaker and the Kona hotel where it is located.
Heiau keeper gets reprieve
Mikahala Roy wants to conduct religious and educational events at the shrine
KAILUA-KONA » A court settlement has been reached in a dispute over the Ahuena Heiau in Kona, allowing current caretaker Mikahala Roy to continue using free office space at King Kamehameha's Kona Beach Hotel until Dec. 1, said Roy's attorney, Robert Kim.
After Dec. 1, Roy must leave the office but may continue to conduct Hawaiian religious practices at the temple, which sits on the edge of hotel property surrounded on three sides by the waters of Kailua Bay.
Leroy Colombe, attorney for the hotel, said Roy's right to practice her religion at the temple is the same as any other Hawaiian religious practitioner. The settlement does not address Roy conducting educational events, such as for children, he said.
The hotel previously ordered Roy to leave the office space by June 21.
Roy is the daughter of now-deceased David "Mauna" Roy, who reconstructed an approximate replica of Ahuena at the site in 1975-78. A heiau dedicated to Lono, a god of peace, was built at the site by Kamehameha I in about 1813 but was destroyed in the 1820s after the Hawaiian religion was overthrown.
A peaceful vigil of about 250 people took place at the site Aug. 18 to support Roy as the rightful kahu, or caretaker, of the heiau.
On Roy's behalf, Kim previously tried to expand her lawsuit to cover questions such as whether the site is hotel property or state owned, who owns the heiau itself, and allegations that Hawaiian burials on hotel property are not treated with respect.
Kim had to withdraw that suit because of a legal technicality, but he said he plans to reintroduce an expanded suit. "I'm going to get to the bottom of this," he said.