Vandals hit Hawaii Kai heiau - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Vandals hit Hawaii Kai heiau

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HAWAII KAI, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Hawea Heiau and Keawawa Wetland sit at the base of Kaluanui Ridge in Hawaii Kai. Caretakers call it a cultural library.

"When you say Hawaii Kai, that's a history that goes back maybe 60 years. But when you say Maunalua, you're actually talking about a thousand-year history," said Ann Marie Kirk of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.

On Sunday, someone trespassed and tagged the boundary shielding the site. Kirk found the damage yesterday.

"It's the same as going into a church. That's what this is for us, a church," she said.

The hui watches over and manicures the property. In September it put up a chain link fence to keep trespassers out. The battle has been going on for months. Vandals even painted over petroglyphs.

"It brought many of us to tears because we've lost that history," Kirk said. "It's under some kind of orange spray paint."

She is fearful that the crimes will escalate from just tagging to harming the endangered Hawaiian moorhens that nest in the wetland.

"Once they come in this area, they're not coming in with any kind of respect for the area. If they don't respect the land, how are they going to respect the animals that are in here?" she said.

On Tuesday police photographed the tagging. The hui is offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the trespassers arrest.

"This is really serious. And it's really, really sad," Kirk said.

Livable Hawaii Kai is buying the five-acre site for $650,000 from developer Hale Kalae LLC. In the last six months it's invested $50,000 in cleanup costs.  Covering over the latest desecration will cost it even more money.

"Mad is a quick emotion. Disappointment lasts much longer, and it hurts deeper," Kirk said.

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