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Court stops Kawaiahao work citing ruling on rail burials

By Ken Kobayashi

LAST UPDATED: 12:21 p.m. HST, Sep 28, 2012

The state appeals court ordered a halt this morning to Kawaiaha’o Church’s construction of its multipurpose center that could result in the disinterment of burials.

A three-member panel of the Intermediate Court of Appeals granted an injunction halting the work.

Hawaiian cultural specialist Dana Naone Hall requesed the court to halt the construction pending an appeal of a circuit judge’s ruling dismissing her lawsuit against the $17.5 million project.

The panel unanimously issued the injunction in view of the Hawaii Supreme Court ruling last month that held the State Historic Preservation Division should have required an archaeological survey for remains for the entire 20-mile rail route before construction began.

Hall said in a statement: "It has taken three long years. This case spans the end of the Lingle Administration and the first years of the Abercrombie Administration, during which time the SHPD has routinely failed to follow its own rules to the detriment of historic properties and burial sites.  I am very grateful to the Intermediate Court of Appeals for reaffirming that there is a vital public interest in protecting human skeletal remains and burial sites ‘regardless of race, religion, or cultural origin.’ Although approximately 700 individuals have been disturbed at Kawaiaha`o, there are many hundreds more who can continue to rest in peace.”

The appeals court had denied an earlier request for an injunction, but Hall said there were three “significant developments” since then, including the high court’s ruling, the circuit court’s denial of an injunction, and the number of burials unearthed had “mushroomed to nearly 600.”

Hall had acknowledged that it might be “prudent” for the appeals court to wait for the resolution of the city’s request asking the high court to reconsider its rail decision.

The high court denied the reconsideration request Thursday.

The appeals court ruled that until the appeal is decided, “Kawaiaha’o Church is enjoined from the disinterment of human skeletal remains or iwi from Kawaiaha’o Church grounds that are related to the (multipurpose center) project.”

It also ordered that “Kawaiaha’o Church is enjoined from all construction activities related to the (multipurpose center) project that could result in the disinterment of human skeletal remains or iwi.”

Order granting plaintiff's motion for preliminary injuction

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LizKauai wrote:
IMHO - Respect for the past needs to be balanced by respect for the future. Do what is pono for all.
on September 28,2012 | 11:18AM
silvangold wrote:
Right thing to do! The courts have done the right thing at last.
on September 28,2012 | 11:20AM
allie wrote:
agree..terrible governing board here!
on September 28,2012 | 12:59PM
HawaiiNoKaOi wrote:
Since the SHPD didn't follow their own rules, just wondering if "all" construction projects, past and current are "suspect" and can also be halted?
on September 28,2012 | 11:28AM
cojef wrote:
Sure looks like it. Absent any survey and to proceed hereafter seem insane as the recent ruling by the State Supreme Court sets a precedent????
on September 28,2012 | 11:46AM
Mythman wrote:
My, my. my, Wonders Never Cease. Could fairness be around the bend, even in the 50th state. Rule of Law, Separation of Powers: My oh My: what's next: a truly unbiased press? It is coming too. Federal prosecution by local people in the roles of federal prosecutors who would have to put fellow Democrats and friends of certain powerful political figures in federal prison. Wonders never cease, my oh my.
on September 28,2012 | 11:53AM
allie wrote:
sad thing is that this bad project should never have started. No one in the community asked for it.
on September 28,2012 | 01:00PM
Sunny wrote:
This means all constuction projects that involve digging requir an AIS, if they don't have one they must stop immediately.
on September 28,2012 | 12:04PM
HawaiiCheeseBall wrote:
Geez, SHPD was basically asleep at the wheel.
on September 28,2012 | 04:29PM
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