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Delegates cannot visit because of shutdown

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 04:01 a.m. HST, Nov 10, 2011

'Iolani Palace was closed by the state Monday. Members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government refused to leave, and several members were arrested for trespassing. The palace will remain closed to visitors until after the end of the APEC summit.

The managers of ‘Iolani Palace are objecting to the state's decision to shut down the nation's only royal palace this week, saying the action resulted in the loss of revenue and forced them to turn away international delegations that had been scheduled to visit.

"‘Iolani Palace anticipates the lost revenues to exceed $42,000 due to the forced closure by the governor's office," the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace said in a statement.

State Land Board Chairman William Aila announced Monday that the palace and palace grounds would be closed for security reasons, citing this week's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.

That night, state sheriffs arrested 22 members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government who had chosen to remain on the palace grounds as a sign of protest.

All regularly scheduled tours were shut down, as well as several APEC-related visits, said the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace, which has a contract with the state to operate the complex. The Department of Land and Natural Resources, which Aila heads, is responsible for the palace grounds.

Palace officials "had to issue apologies to the delegations of China, Indonesia, Mexico, Peru, Taiwan and the U.S. Department of Commerce, all of whom had planned special visits to the historical site for high-ranking officials," the Friends said.

A source close to the situation said the scheduled visitors had included separate visits by Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson and the first ladies of China, Mexico and Taiwan.

"APEC is one of the biggest international events in the history of Hawaii and a rare opportunity for us to share with the world our islands' heritage, hospitality and Native Hawaiian culture," said Kippen de Alba Chu, executive director for ‘Iolani Palace. "It is inconceivable that we have to turn away national and international visitors from ‘Iolani Palace, an iconic symbol of Hawaiian royalty."

"This unilateral decision to close the palace for tours was made without consulting the Friends of ‘Iolani Palace," de Alba Chu said. "I received a call on Monday evening from the Lieutenant Governor's Office relaying a message from the Governor's Office that the palace would be closed to all tours, including APEC-related tours."

Aila said he was disappointed that Friends issued its statement to the media without expressing its objections to his department.

Aila said he ordered the shutdown after consulting with Gov. Neil Abercrombie, the police department, the state Sheriff Division, the Office of the Attorney General and his own staff.

"We agreed that was the proper thing to do," he said of the closing, which runs until 6 a.m. Tuesday.

Aila said he was aware there was a possibility that APEC dignitaries wanted to visit the palace and his office even received queries from the security details of several nations over issues about access to the palace, he said.

Nonetheless, he said, "I stand by my decision to close the palace for the protection of this valuable cultural resource."

Members of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, the bulk of whom were released Tuesday after appearing in state District Court in Kaneohe, had stated they would return to the palace. They had not returned as of Wednesday evening.

Members of the group chained themselves briefly to the gate of the palace on Nov. 2 before negotiating a compromise with Aila that allowed them to use restrooms on the grounds.

The group has been gathering at various parts of the palace grounds five days a week since May 2008, showing up in the morning and leaving in the afternoon.

Aila said he had also heard group members remarking that they would try to return. "We're prepared should they come back," he said.

De Alba Chu said King Kalakaua built the palace in 1882 to enhance Hawaii's prestige overseas.

"The King's dual mission of bringing Hawaii to the world and the world to Hawaii can easily be seen throughout ‘Iolani Palace in its architecture, furniture, construction and artifacts," de Alba Chu said. "Kalakaua forged bilateral relations with these very same APEC members, which explains why these countries' delegations were so excited to visit the palace," said de Alba Chu. "Hawaii and the various APEC members share a common history that long predates annexation by the United States. This decision to completely lock down the palace is not aloha. It is the exact opposite."

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Kimokat wrote:
Actions taken by Gov. Abercrombie and his staff clearly indicates his total disdain for Hawaii's history and culture. Why not shut down the airport to arriving dignitaries? With the murder of Kollin Elderts by a malihini who is treated with kid gloves and this latest arrogance, Hawaii's own people should boycott APEC events and refuse to perform any of our cultural programs that have been scheduled. Let the governor perform his monkey act for them.
on November 10,2011 | 05:17AM
smooshpappy wrote:
Its hard to believe that closing the palace and cancelling the tours for APEC VIPs is the best answer to this problem. Basically, Aila, Abercrombie et al, are allowing these Hawaiian protestors to hold Iolani Plalace hostage. Why don't they just lock them up for a week and allow the Palace tours to continue. Iolani Plalace is one of our great historical heritage sights, and now the the Gov and Aila are keeping it from dignitaries who may potentially become supporters and friends of 'Iolani Palace. If Aila is hurt by the Friends not coming to him first, maybe he should have talked to them first before denying their golden opportunity to let Hawaii's history shine on an international level. I used to believe in Abercrombie and Aila. Now a days, not so much, because they make such bad decisions and show great insensitivity at times.
on November 10,2011 | 10:30AM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 10,2011 | 02:08PM
smooshpappy wrote:
Throw 'em in jail. End of story. Palace safe, dignitaries allowed to visit. You just don't get it girl. Read the rest of the posts! Do you really think Aila can't protect the Palace from these wannabes? You should know the history of the Palace, its restoration and the wonderful work of the Friends of 'Iolani Palace before you comment.
on November 10,2011 | 07:47PM
McCully wrote:
The smurf and his admin. is a bunch of donkeys. If the delegates want to vist the palace, then the palace should be open to have them take the tour.How can Hawaii show it's culture and history if the palace is on lock down? I bet if Obama wanted to take the tour, the palace would be open.
on November 10,2011 | 05:58AM
mainland_refugee wrote:
They should let in the delegates to see the Palace. If they allow the delegates in and out thru just one gate, like the one that is on the alleyway between the Palace and the State Library, there shouldn't be any reason why the delegates would not be able to visit the Palace. They could issue a Pass Card for those delegates so that the guards at the gate would know who to let in. Seems to me that policing such an event would not be that difficult.
on November 10,2011 | 06:17AM
MakaniKai wrote:
This story is "nicely" tucked away without reference to the Palace. I am a longtime volunteer docent and I am furious with the states decision to close during APEC. First, Iolani Palace at anytime is vunerable to fringe wannabes as proven by the HKG, the group from Maui along with others over the past ten years who decided to occupy the grounds or out right storm the Palace. King Kalakaua is the first ruling sovereign to travel around the world. Royal orders presented to his Majesty from some of the very countries attending APEC adorn the walls of the Palace. This closure without consulting Kippen and The Friends of Iolani Palace is further evidence of this "my way or the highway" governor. P.S. Did not vote for da buggah!
on November 10,2011 | 06:18AM
Guill wrote:
This was a good decision, there are too many security issues with have delegates touring this site. They would have to shut down downtown King St. Hotel St. Beretania St..
on November 10,2011 | 06:43AM
Ken_Conklin wrote:
For at least 20 years Iolani Palace has been a propaganda factory. Docents leading tour groups, and more recently the recorded self-guided tour, blame the U.S. for the revolution that overthrew the monarchy, and portray Liliuokalani as unjustly imprisoned in the Palace without explaining why she was confined there (co-conspirator in the Wilcox attempted counterrevolution of 1895 and had guns and bombs for Wilcox hidden in the flowerbed at her private home a couple blocks away). The "Friends" have spewed their anti-American and pro-Liliuokalani propaganda to tens of thousands of tourists from the U.S. and around the world. They were thrilled that APEC is here and they could brainwash world leaders into believing this propaganda. What's really funny is that the crazies who "occupied" the Palace, and their buddies from all the other sovereignty groups, would have loved to see the propaganda spread around the world. By occupying the Palace and forcing the closure, the crazies have shut down the propaganda factory. Hooray! Now comes Gordon Pang, a shill for these groups, publishing an editorial masked as a news report, putting out the word that the "Friends" (and the sovereignty activists) are very unhappy that their propaganda factory has been closed. Nice job Gordon!
on November 10,2011 | 06:44AM
smooshpappy wrote:
More racist lies from the master of anti- Hawaiian rhetoric. Why you hate Hawaiians so much Conklin? Why don't you move someplace els, where you don't have to see, read, or hear anything about Hawaiians..
on November 10,2011 | 10:21AM
allie wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on November 10,2011 | 11:43AM
squidman22 wrote:
What conclusions allie. I just responded to Ken's post with factual eveidence but the posts aren't being allowed or shown. This thread is being majorly edited and censored.
on November 10,2011 | 06:17PM
smooshpappy wrote:
Are the Mandan a federally recognized tribe? Should they be? All the Hawaiians want is federal recognition, and Mr. Conklin is dead set against that. Conklin has his own convoluted version of Hawaiian history and very little of it is factual. Somehow the Hawaiians aren't worthy of federal recognition, yet so many other native peoples are. Again allie, you should no wherefore you speak before commenting.
on November 10,2011 | 07:55PM
squidman22 wrote:
In a small way you are correct Ken. The United States wasn't responsible for the overthrow directly. American businessmen and officials, Lorrin A Thurston and John L. Stevens along with their supporters AND with the assistance of the United States Marines, conspired and enacted the overthrow of the lawful Hawaiian Monarchy. Outgunned and outnumbered the Queen ordered her forces to surrender. Ken, I don't know how YOU think it all went down but it wasn't righteous and was certainly the darkest moment in Hawaii history. By the way, I am a proud AMERICAN. Born and raised in the state of Hawaii. Our country had made a lot of mistakes but I still love her. Let's not gloss over the injustices of the past. Let us remember them and learn. It is time to leave this hurt behind. Let us be one people of Hawaii. Today and for the future. I hope you understand this Ken.
on November 10,2011 | 06:14PM
Hapa_Haole_Boy wrote:
Just take the APEC parties on private tours! Problem fixed. I see absolutely no reason why they can't shut down all the exits, with guards posted, then let in the dignitaries at a single, guarded exit, and walk them through. Watch, don't be surprised if Abby's administration mistakes the convention center for the palace, and shuts down the convention center instead....
on November 10,2011 | 07:14AM
hihitek wrote:
I wonder what kind of message the closing of Iolani Palace to APEC visitors sends to the rest of the world? I am sure that at least some of the leaders who are attending the conference are aware of the fact that there was once an independent Hawaiian nation that was absorbed into the United States. Rightly or wrongly, some of them may now interpret the closing of the palace to be an attempt by our government to hide a colonial past and imperial ambitions. If closing the palace is an attempt by the governor to deprive Hawaii sovereignty activists of a stage that they would use to bring attention to their cause it actually has the opposite effect and brings more attention to them and gives the appearance that we have something to hide.
on November 10,2011 | 08:34AM
nalogirl wrote:
APEC was supposed to be an economic boom, but so far it's a bust!!
on November 10,2011 | 09:01AM
Anonymous wrote:
Why are all my comments except for the one posted @ 6:18 am being sent for approval???????
on November 10,2011 | 11:55AM
Anonymous wrote:
I have twice submitted a comment IRT Mr. Conklin's remarks about volunteer docents and his perception of the Palace as a "propaganda factory" over the past twenty years. Both of my comments politely written were sent for review and not posted. His comment I find distasteful. As a docent with 10 plus years of continuous volunteer service my reply to his comment bears credibility. As a loyal subscriber to your printed paper.....Thanks eh. Makani Kai
on November 10,2011 | 12:22PM
Anonymous wrote:
Why are all my comments except for the one posted @ 6:18 am being sent for approval??????? And this posted under Anonymous @ 11:55 am. Makani Kai
on November 10,2011 | 12:23PM
Vivgie wrote:
Perhaps it's not really closed to APEC officials. Just tourists.
on November 10,2011 | 01:02PM
inverse wrote:
At least Hawaii residents now knows how it feels to live in a "police state". Not a good a feeling huh? At least it is not forever and people DO have a choice, unfortunately you have to wait a few years before making the change. Ask the question will APEC in Hawaii make it better, or worse for the majority of Hawaii residents in the long run? Rhetorical question, for the majority, it will be worse or at best, no change. Also it is a factual statement that holding the APEC conference in Hawaii has directly resulted in the death of one Hawaii resident. Two people, one from Hawaii and one brought in for APEC, BOTH will personal issues magnified by alcohol, put together in the same time and place in Hawaii, resulted in tragedy.
on November 10,2011 | 01:03PM
kennysmith wrote:
i think some one got it 100% right on the big make. we the people are not so free after all ha ?.
on November 10,2011 | 05:43PM
kennysmith wrote:
i think some one got it 100% right on the big make. we the people are not so free after all ha ?.
on November 10,2011 | 05:43PM
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