Beach boys say 'Waikiki sand project' disturbs the dead

Larry Akiyama
Larry Akiyama
Gilbert Histake
Gilbert Histake

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - There is a new complaint over the beach replenishment project in Waikiki. This time it's not about the cost or the impact the project could have on surf spots. This time there's concern the project is disturbing the dead.

"We got a Hawaiian graveyard out there. It's a big heiau out there. And I think anybody wants to be flushed out on the beach again," said Waikiki beach boy Larry Akiyama.

"Yea, my brother just passed away christmas Eve so we put him out here. Phillip over here, his brother is going to be taken out tomorrow ... the ashes," says beach boy Gilbert Histake.

Early this morning the state's contractor positioned a barge in the water off Waikiki. Beginning early next week they'll be pumping sand from beneath that barge back to the beach where it'll be used to make the beach wider.

The problem, according to long time beach boys, is that the barge is parked where the ashes of thousands and thousands of people have been scattered.

In 1968 Duke Kahanamoku's ashes were taken by canoe and scattered off Waikiki.

Just five years ago Don Ho got a traditional send off with a memorial service here and many of the beach boys who helped popularize Waikiki have been laid to rest here.

"It goes and goes. It's on and on. I can't stop. It just goes on and on and I have a lot of respect for those guys," said Akiyama.

The beach boys say there's a simple solution. Something that would appease them and the deceased.

"Maybe get a kahu come down here, a Hawaiian priest come down here and bless this place."

"All they got to do is go outside, throw some flowers, say some prayers. Kind of like that."

Project manager Sam Lemo, who works for the DLNR, says a blessing was done before the project began.

Another is scheduled for Sunday or Monday when they start pumping sand.

"I've asked the contractor to make sure the kahu addresses the issue of the ashes and the deceased and to pay respects to them. I also asked the contractor to invite any of the people who want to take part in the activity - who have a specific interest in this matter such as the beach boys," said Lemo.

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