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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Hokuli'a project protested

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

Members of a Native Hawaiian family who claim a Kona resort development is desecrating ancestral burial grounds have asked investor Japan Airlines to pull out of the project.

A group calling itself Protect Keopuka Ohana went to Japan last week to tell JAL about the problems associated with the 1,500-acre Hokuli'a development near Kealakekua Bay. Hokuli'a is being developed by 1250 Oceanside Partners, a joint effort of JAL and developer Lyle Anderson.

The project will feature a 36-hole private golf course and 730 residential lots.

Native Hawaiians have criticized the treatment of ancestral bones unearthed during the construction. Protect Keopuka Ohana said it found fragments of iwi kupuna (ancestral bones) that had been crushed by bulldozers and saw archaeologists wrap remains in butcher paper.

Protect Keopuka Ohana, which claims direct lineage to the unearthed remains, was granted a temporary restraining order March 13 that prohibited 1250 Oceanside Partners from "destroying, desecrating, moving and disturbing any burial site."

A hearing on extending the order is set for today before Third Circuit Judge Ronald Ibarra in Kona.

Four Protect Keopuka Ohana members left for Japan last Wednesday and met for two hours with representatives of JAL's hotels and resorts division. The family members asked JAL to stop the project, or at the very least do an accurate archaeological assessment.

Although the company did not agree to pull out of the project, an official with the hotels and resorts division apologized for the problems, Ohana member Lorna Takazawa said.

JAL said in a press release that the contractors are doing their best to correct the problems. But the company made no reference to the meeting or an apology.

JAL also pointed to the benefits of the Hokuli'a project, which will include a $25 million bypass road from Keauhou to Kealakekua and Captain Cook.