Volunteers clean sacred Nuuanu rocks vandalized with grafitti

NUUANU, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The tags appeared along along Judd Trail earlier this month: 13 rocks and a tree vandalized with spray paint in an historic and culturally significant area that involved Kamehameha's takeover of Nuuanu.

"You tag on the side of a building, it's bad, but when you tag in nature, these pohaku are sacred to the Hawaiian people," said Joe Punohu, a storyteller with Hawaiian Hauntings.

Punohu discovered the marks while telling ghost stories along the trail so he called volunteers with 808 Cleanups and Hawaiian Hauntings to help scrub off the mess.

"When I did see vandalism, I thought, I need to be here. It is my kuleana to be here," said Ekini Lindsey who signed up to volunteer as soon as she saw the graffiti on social media.

808 Cleanups uses a biodegradable citrus-based solution to scrub off the tagging and says it's important to take away the tags as quickly as possible to prevent more from popping up.

"We know it'll get worse. People copy cat. They'll see it the tag and they'll add more," said Michael Lifton, co-founder of 808 Cleanups.

A couple hours of elbow grease and the rocks were cleaned, restored and as pristine as possible.

"I love that so many people and you meet like minded people. Is shows the spirit of aloha. It shows that people always want to give back," said Punohu.

808 Cleanups teaches people how to use the biodegradable solution so they can clean up tagging on their own.

Contact 808cleanups@gmail.com or 808.892.3464 for more information.

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