State proposes new palace rules
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The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved new proposed rules yesterday that specifically prohibit "unauthorized occupation" of Iolani Palace and other buildings on the palace grounds.
The actions of a group that called itself the Hawaiian Kingdom Government was "a wake-up call for the department that it was time to move forward with specific rules to protect and preserve the ... grounds for future preservation," said Laura Thielen, Land Board chairwoman.
The group did not enter the palace, but blocked its grounds during an April 30 protest.
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Public hearings will be scheduled soon on new proposed rules that specifically ban "unauthorized occupation" of Iolani Palace and other buildings on the grounds.
Some of the rules in the draft for a new subchapter of administrative rules approved by the Board Land and Natural Resources yesterday for Iolani Palace included violations such as:
» Obstructing public access to the grounds, buildings or structures.
» Unauthorized occupation of any structure on the grounds, including but not limited to, Iolani Palace, Coronation Pavilion, Kanaina Building, Iolani Barracks Building and the Kekauluohi (Archives) Building.
» Engaging in any activity so as to obstruct or impede pedestrians or vehicles, or harass or intimidate visitors, volunteers or employees traversing or on the premises either verbally or with physical contact or barriers; including but not limited to hindering or interfering with the public's use of one or more of the entry gates to the premises or building entrances.
The state Board of Land and Natural Resources approved the draft rules yesterday, a little more than a month after a group blocked access to palace grounds during a protest.
Daniel Quinn, administrator of the state Parks Division, said the state has been talking for years about creating rules for the palace grounds.
But the protest by the Hawaiian Kingdom Government on April 30 "was certainly a wake-up call," Quinn said.
Current rules for the use of the Iolani Palace State Monument fall under general rules that apply to all state parks.
Some of the proposed rules prohibit obstructing public access to the grounds and harassing or intimidating visitors.
On April 30 the group led by Mahealani Kahau blocked public access to the palace grounds, stating they were re-establishing a Hawaiian government. State officials said the groups used padlocks and chains to block the gates. Guards from the group also were posted at the gates. The group denied the state's claim.
Some volunteers who were uneasy about the protest stayed home for the rest of the week, said Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director of the Friends of Iolani Palace, which supports the new rules.
Hopefully, with the rules, groups who come to the grounds come with a greater amount of respect for both the structures as well as the grounds themselves, Chu said.
Chu said the palace should be treated differently from other state parks. "It should have different rules because of the historic nature," Chu added.
Kahau could not be reached for comment. The Hawaiian Kingdom Government has obtained week-to-week public assembly permits since April 30 to be on the grounds.
In mid-May the state had refused to issue the group a permit because the group entered the offices of the Friends of Iolani Palace, a violation of their permit. Since then the group has been complying with permit conditions.
"As long as they comply with permit conditions, they may continue to request permits to meet, barring any other events which may take precedence," said Board of Land and Natural Resources Chairwoman Laura Thielen.
Some of the permit conditions for the group are incorporated in the new proposed rules.