State Removes Mauna Kea Structure for Safety Reasons; Two Arrests Made

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UPDATE: 1:40 PM: State Collaboratively Removes Unpermitted Structure Near Pu‘u Huluhulu

The State of Hawai‘i removed an unpermitted structure near the Pu’u Huluhulu site on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands property on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, according to a DHHL press release.


Removal efforts were conducted by Hawai‘i Department of Transportation personnel at the request of DHHL in a process that took approximately four hours.

Prior to the removal of the unpermitted structure, two individuals were arrested at the site for Obstruction of a Governmental Operation.

State and Hawai’i County law enforcement personnel remained present throughout the removal to ensure the security of the operation and the safety of everyone involved.


The structure was constructed with a floor, framing and a roof that appeared to resemble a building anticipated to be permanent. Prompt removal was deemed necessary as the structure posed serious health and safety concerns related to fire protection and structural integrity.

Additionally, since the structure was built without any regulatory oversight, there were concerns about the impact it could have on the land and the possible introduction of invasive species, including fire ants.

“Given the health, safety and environmental concerns, the department prioritized the prompt removal of the structure,” said Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Aila Jr. “With the assistance of DOT personnel, we were able to accomplish this task quickly and efficiently. DHHL will be reimbursing our partners for this work.”

“Law enforcement has deliberately refrained from escalating its approach to the current protest because it was important to provide some meaningful space and time for all of us to find a peaceful resolution to this situation,” said Gov. David Ige. “However, this type of permanent structure erected without DHHL permission and without being regulated or inspected in any way cannot be allowed. The safety risk is too great.”

DHHL posted a Notice to Vacate on Sept. 4, 2019, both on the property and to the individual who organized the erection of the structure.


Any unclaimed property will be handled in accordance with 171-31.5, HRS.

UPDATE: 11:45 PM: Protectors clean up debris from demolition of Pu‘u Huluhulu learning center and hale pule.




VIDEO: Gov. David Ige on deconstruction of illegal structure. VC: Hawaii News Now

One of the protestors/protectors who helped build the Mauna Kea structure commented about its construction during its removal today.

“We built that structure in five days to serve as a learning center and hale pule,” said Kevin “Crusty” Kahikina. “The materials were all donated. We’d be in line at the lumber stores and people in the stores would ask what we were building they offered to pay for it.”

UDPATE: 11:13 AM

LIVE VIDEO: State begins deconstructing protestors’ Pu‘u Huluhulu structure. VC: Darde Gamayo

VIDEO: State begins deconstructing protestors’ Pu‘u Huluhulu structure. VC: Darde Gamayo

UPDATE: 10:27 AM

From Pu‘uhonua O Puuhuluhulu:

“Aloha, we are aware that the Department of Hawaiian Homelands has mobilized within the pu‘uhonua to deconstruct a building that was constructed this past weekend.

“Two arrests were made and those arrested by law enforcement went peacefully. This is a highly emotional moment and we ask that everyone remain in kapu aloha as we get through this day.

“We also ask that those livestreaming be respectful of people’s emotions and keep a distance from those in distress.

“We condemn every example of the state of Hawai‘i’s selective enforcement of the law, especially as it is currently targeting protectors. Undeterred by today’s actions of the state, all in the pu‘uhonua remain united and committed to the protection of Maunakea in kapu aloha.”

ORIGINAL POST: 10 AM, Sept. 6, 2019

The State of Hawai‘i will begin removing a structure on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019, that was unlawfully constructed on Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) property, according to an Hawai‘i Department of Transportation press release issued this morning.

The structure was built close to Pu‘u Huluhulu (Hilo-side) as part of the anti-TMT protests.

The structure is unpermitted and presents potential health, safety and environmental concerns, the release says.

HDOT crews were tasked with removing the unpermitted structure at the request of DHHL with the support of Public Safety Department Sheriff’s Deputies and Hawai‘i County Police Officers.

Check back for more information as the situation develops.

The Hawai‘i Police Department reports that traffic on Highway 2000, also known as the Daniel K. Inouye Highway or Saddle Road, is moving slowly around the Mauna Kea Access Road due to congestion on the roadway. Use an alternate route if your cross-island commute is time-sensitive.


Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Aila has issued a statement on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, regarding Hawai‘i County Mayor Harry Kim’s Sept. 3 letter to the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) requesting an immediate investigation of the reports of a structure being built near Kipuka Puʻu Huluhulu, asking the department to “take necessary and appropriate action.”

“Law enforcement has notified protectors at Pu‘u Huluhulu that the structure near Kipuka Pu‘u Huluhulu is unpermitted. Unauthorized structures on all DHHL lands statewide are addressed in a consistent manner. Following a posted Noticed To Vacate, DHHL will remove the structure as soon as resources become available. Abandoned or seized property is then held pursuant to section 171-31.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes,” the DHHL wrote.

Mayor Kim’s Sept. 3 letter to the DHHL chair concerning the “structure near Kipuka Puʻu Huluhulu:”

Dear Interim Chairman Aila,

I am writing in regard to reports of a structure being built near Kipuka Puʻu Huluhulu. The structure appears to be located on Hawaiian home lands. A review of County records indicates no permits or approvals were issued.

Pursuant to the Memorandum of Agreement Between the County of Hawaii and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands executed in 2002, page 2, Section III.D:

All normal land use controls will be applied by Hawaii County to DHHL property according to the zoning district selected by DHHL. Except as specifically provided in the Agreement, DHHL will follow all normal land use procedures, regulations, and standards applicable to the zoning district.

Page 2, Section III.H. states:

The County will advise DHHL of all violations by its lessees. The County will enforce land use codes and regulation on Hawaiian Home lands in the same manner as with other landowners. DHHL will cooperate with the County in enforcing the terms of its leases requiring conformity to applicable laws and regulations, if requested by the County. Ongoing violations and failure to comply will be referred to DHHL after the County has exhausted all remedies short of pursuing legal action to address the violation. DHHL may institute lease enforcement proceedings in advance of, or in lieu of, County enforcement actions.

By this letter, I am requesting that DHHL immediately investigate the reports of a structure being built near Kipuka Puʻu Huluhulu and to take necessary and appropriate action.

The DHHL said it “continues to prioritize the safety of all beneficiaries and the protection of the trust.”

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