Developer accused of ruining Hawaiian cultural site
AINA HAINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Photographs show boulders covered by brush. But Duane Kiaaina Medeiros said the collection of rocks on private property at the top of Hao Street formed what he calls a Hawaiian sentinel marker.
"if you stood on it, you could see the whole valley to the ocean. And you could look up to the mountain and see the whole valley up there," he said.
The rocks sat on developer Jeff Stone's property in Aina Haina.
Medeiros said his grading work to build houses destroyed the rock platform and put a hole in Hawaiian history.
"It's like pieces of a puzzle. If you lose a couple pieces of the puzzle you don't see the whole picture. Here we lost a piece of the puzzle forever," said Ann Marie Kirk, a member of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui.
Hao Street resident Danny Loui said he stepped in front of the heavy machinery Tuesday before it ran over a central part of the platform, a stone altar called an ahu.
"I saved the ahu," he said. "The surrounding pohaku rocks were destroyed, run over."
Medeiros said he's a descendant of the Hawaiian family that lived in the valley. He said the platform and altar were sacred to his ancestors, and Stone ruined the site.
"He didn't give us a chance to have someone verify the cultural surveys findings, and give us a chance to show them that this is something that's not just a pile of rocks," he said.
Loui said he told stone about the altar and platform on Sunday.
"He certainly had an option to work around it, or at least stop and get all the information needed to preserve this site. He chose not to," he said.
Stone owns nine acres at the top of Hao street. In January, the city granted him building permits. The city said he completed soil and drainage surveys, and it can't deny his right to build.
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