Sovereignty group returns to Iolani grounds
By Dave Dondoneau
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Dave Dondoneau
Thirty-three representatives of the Hawaiian Kingdom Government gathered in a circle on Iolani Palace grounds at 7:05 a.m. this morning, joining hands and saying a prayer and singing before eventually coming together for a private meeting and declining all interviews with the media.
On Friday, the Department of Land and Natural Resources denied the group's request for a right to assemble permit that is required for all groups of 25 or more.
The group applied for a new permit this morning, and that permit request is still pending, said DLNR spokeswoman Debra Ward.
There are no meetings scheduled between the head of DLNR and the group, Ward said. But she said an update on what DLNR intends to do in the case is expected this afternoon.
The sovereignty group's representatives have been staying on palace grounds during the work week since April 30 when they initially laid claim to the grounds and denied public access to them for nearly eight hours.
Since the first week, Hawaiian Kingdom representatives have applied for and received permits to assemble on the premise on a weekly basis.
However, DLNR officials said the group and its leader, Mahealani Kahu, who is the head of state for the Hawaiian Kingdom Government, violated the permit conditions last week by entering into a building that was off limits.
To receive a new permit this week the DLNR is requiring the names, signatures and assurances of the full leadership group.
This morning's gathering of 33 was monitored closely by DLNR law officials who were parked in the adjacent parking lot less than 100 yards away.
Following the group's closed meeting, Kahau briefly met with a DLNR enforcement officer and hugged him.
It's not clear at this time if the Hawaiian Kingdom applied for and received a new permit.
Hawaiian Kingdom representatives have said in the past they will continue to occupy the grounds indefinitely.
A handful of them started funneling onto the property before 6 a.m. and Kahau arrived at 7 a.m. with a lei around her neck.
After brief greetings, the representatives met for 55 minutes. Many of their vehicles had license plates reading "Hawaiian Kingdom Government," and a number rather than state of Hawai'i plates.
Also, as of 8:30 a.m., the representatives hadn't put any money into the parking meters on the grounds.
Reach Dave Dondoneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.