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New voices testify on sand-mining moratorium

On July 10, the burial council met for a site visit of the several burial preserves located within Maui Lani Parkway in central Wailuku. As we gathered, the heavy clouds above our heads made way to a blessing downpour, a wishful reminder that as we collectively insist on remembering the kupuna buried here, they too insist on making their presence felt. It took the painful excavation of the bones of more than a thousand individuals at Honokahua to prevent further desecration of the ‘iwi kupuna, understanding that it would the dividing line between desecration and respect.

On July 2, several young people testified at a County Council committee meeting in the hope of extending the moratorium. Many among them read testimonies and letters sent to Gov. John Waihee 30 years ago, pleading him to stop the excavation at Honokahua.

Council Chair Mike White recently refused to put on the agenda the proposal to extend the sand-mining moratorium. How long will the desecration continue with the complicity of the county of Maui that supports a development that becomes unsustainable? In the light of the recent events, the words uttered by the ‘opio (the young) and the ‘iwi protectors of the present achieve to close the gap between past and present. Now, 30 years after Honokahua, new voices are willing to carry a legacy that is eroded but whose flames of resilience are that of a torch, burning brighter, from one generation to the other.

Mililani Ganivet

Tahiti