The managers of Iolani Palace are objecting to the state’s decision to shut down the nation’s only royal palace this week.
“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 release.
State Land Board Chairman William Aila on Monday announced that the palace and palace grounds would be closed for security reasons, citing this week’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in Honolulu.
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 after the state had shut down the grounds. All regularly scheduled tours were forced to shut down, as well as special visits
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.”
“APEC is one of the biggest international events in the history of Hawai’i 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.”
The forced closure also affects palace personnel, officials said. Twenty-five hourly workers will have significantly reduced hours this week or no work at all. ‘Iolani Palace has a total of 41 full time employees and over 100 volunteers who work as docents, greeters and guardians.