Remains of 466 moved out from high-rise site


POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2009

”;Back in the Day,”; appearing every Sunday, takes a look at articles that ran on this date in history in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Hawaii's oldest continuously published daily newspaper. The items appear verbatim, so don't blame us today for yesteryear's bad grammar.

The remains of the 466 persons who were buried in Kamoiliili Cemetery have been moved to the trim graveyard near Kawaiahao Church.

The 2-acre cemetery lot at South King Street and Waiaka Road will be the site of a condominium to be built by the Rainbow Plaza Development Corp.

Of the 466 exhumed remains, 206 have been identified. The rest will remain unknown.

“;We have made a considerable effort to trace the origins of those buried in the Kamoiliili Cemetery,”; said William Kea, a member of the board of trustees of Kawaiahao Church, to which the cemetery lot belonged.

“;For four or five months, through legal notices, ads in Honolulu papers and word-of-mouth we had tried to reach relatives of those buried in the old cemetery.

“;We followed all leads, and even stationed personnel at Kamoiliili for the convenience of those who worked weekdays.

“;Only 15 persons came forth to claim their dead and had them re-interred in cemeteries of their choice.”;

The exhumation process of the 466 persons took about a month, Kea said, and was completed by mid-September.

Some graves held two or three bodies, some recognizable as parents and children, in some graves only ashes were found.

The remains were placed in small containers and distributed near the Punchbowl side of the Kawaiahao Church graveyard.

As soon as the ground has settled, large plaques bearing the names of those who had been identified will mark the graves, plus some mention of those unidentified.