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Survey required before Kawaiaha’o work can resume, court rules

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    Removal of human burials next to Kawaiaha‘o Church on grounds slated for a new building has averaged 14 a week since mid-November. The total count stood at 238 as of Jan. 21. Part of the construction site is shrouded by black material and fencing.

The state appeals court ruled today that the state must conduct an archeological survey before Kawaiaha‘o Church can resume construction of its multipurpose building.

A three-member panel of the Intermediate Court of Appeals unanimously ruled in favor of Dana Naone Hall, who filed a lawsuit to halt the construction on a site that includes burial grounds.

The Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation which represents Hall said the court’s ruling held that the efforts by the state and the church to get around the state Historic Preservation Law were illegal.

The church maintained that the law did not apply because the burial remains were Christian burials in a cemetery, but the appeals court disagreed, NHLC said.

The appeals court said the law’s provisions “do not turn on religious distinctions.”

The construction was halted earlier by state court rulings.

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