Cemetery’s plan to
tear down pagoda
angers bereaved families

Associated Press

An Oahu cemetery that filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization more than a year ago wants to tear down its pagoda, leaving hundreds of niche owners searching for other places to have their loved ones interred.

Instead of spending more than $1 million to repair the deteriorating pagoda, the owners of the Honolulu Memorial Cemetery in Nuuanu wants to spend $200,000 to tear it down.

However, hundreds of people have already paid thousands of dollars for niches in the Japanese pagoda and are upset at the park's plan.

Being interred inside or near a pagoda holds tremendous significance for those of the Buddhist faith.

"You know what they're telling me? They're telling me they're going to walk all over my father's grave and I'm not going to allow them to do that," said Wayne Kotomori, whose father died last month.

Because of the park's plan, Kotomori has been unable to place his father's urn in the niche that was purchased by his family decades ago.

About 300 people attended a meeting yesterday to discuss the future of the park.

"It's a little disturbing to everyone so they want to know what's going on," said Roy Gomes, who invested in the pagoda.

Park officials have assured niche owners that no one will be left without a final resting place, offering a nearby temple or elsewhere on the grounds. But some niche owners are demanding a renovated pagoda.

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