by David Corrigan and Stephanie Salazar
HILO, Hawaii – Time is running out for the Kanaka Garden at Wailoa State Park.
At any time – possibly even by the time this video is posted – the state may descend upon the “grow-in”, staged as a form of civil protest near the Statue of King Kamehameha in Hilo.
The garden is being maintained by a well known group of sovereignty activists, including Gene Tamashiro and Abel Simeona Lui.
The footprint of the unauthorized plantings of kalo, banana and coconut have grown over the past few months on this land, which the Department of Land and Natural Resources says is under their jurisdiction. But this group says its all crown lands, under illegal occupation by the united States.
On Wednesday afternoon – as was expected – state authorities served the group with legal notice. Tamashiro and Lui were both named in the document. They were told they would have to cease and desist their activities.
Earlier that day, we met up with both Tamashiro and Lui at the Kanaka Garden. At that point in time, they were waiting for law enforcement to pay them a visit.
Tamashiro and Lui believe the DLNR plans to evict them at some time Thursday.
Tamashiro’s “Aloha Uprising” has been planting in protest in some form or another here at Wailoa State Park since September of last year. At first, the garden was made right at the base of the Statue of King Kamehameha. Tamashiro used the date of 9/11 to stage the event.
The man Tamashiro credits with coming up with the idea – Robert Park – has been mysteriously missing since October 22. Police have put out media releases looking for clues as to his whereabouts.
The garden beneath the statue has since been removed. The Aloha Uprising crew simply moved the garden a few yards away from King Kamehameha.
Since then, Wailoa has been a staging ground for some of Tamashiro’s more memorable actions, like the protest of the Democratic Grand Rally in Hilo on the night before the election; the one that ended with his confrontation with Governor Neil Abercrombie. Or the anti-GMO march held in Hilo a few weeks ago, about a thousand people strong.
As for Abel Simeona Lui, the last sizeable garden he tended was the one at Kawa, where he has since been evicted. Lui has claimed allodial rights to the land, and some consider him konohiki of Kawa… but the County saw differently. These days, Lui has been camping out at the Hilo statue, under this tent, along with these two portable lua which he recently had delivered.
Lui continues his fight to return to Kawa, and his court dates seem never ending… but for now, he is helping the Kanaka Garden grow.