HILO, BIG ISLAND (HawaiiNewsNow) - The group that brought the statue of King Kamehameha the Great to Hilo is now seeking donations to fix the damage done when someone cut off the top half of the spear from the statue last weekend.
The statue was first commissioned for the Princeville Corporation on Kauai, but Garden Isle residents turned it down, since Kamehameha didn't conquer the island and never set foot on it.
The Kamehameha Schools East Hawaii Alumni Association, Mamalahoe chapter, raised the money to bring the statue to Wailoa State Park in Hilo nearly 20 years ago. Its members were among those who were shocked when the spear was cut.
"It's said, because you know that statue had been there since 1997, and it was brought here by the people of Hilo, so everyone felt a part of the statue," said Skylark Rossetti, who was part of the committee that brought the statue to Hilo.
She now heads a committee to raise funds to repair the statue, and said it's not just the spear that will be refinished and reattached. "Since we have to pay for a cherry-picker to go up and get the second piece, the second half that's still in there, out, we need to do things like maintenance of the statue, 'wax-on, wax-off' kind of stuff," she said.
Rossetti said the group also wants to raise money to replace two informational signs that have faded and been vandalized, and to do maintenance on the rock walls around the statue.
"We're hoping for about $12,000 to $20,000," said Rossetti. "A lot of people say that's nothing, but for a lot of us, it's a lot of money."
Meanwhile, Hilo police have charged 31-year-old William Roy Carroll III in connection with the theft of the spear. He's scheduled to appear in court Monday. But Rossetti has her doubts that he's the perpetrator.
"I'm wondering if he really did do it," she said. "You would need to be very clever with some kind of hacksaw. You had to be able to have a stepladder, because that's awfully high."
There are no formal fund raising events scheduled right now, but people can send donations to the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, East Hawaii Region, Mamalahoe Chapter, P.O. Box 5845, Hilo, HI 96720.
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