(ABOVE PHOTO) Orion Enocencio, manager of ‘Ahiu Hawaii tours, poses next to molten lava in an “Aloha Friday” promotion on the company’s Facebook page. Enocencio was not one of the two tour guides arrested by DLNR officers on Monday.
- Two lava tour guides who were allegedly involved in leading tours into the state Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve were arrested by Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers on Monday.
- The manager of the embattled ‘Ahiu Hawaii tour company, Orion Enocencio, issued a response to the incident. Enocencio cited Native Hawaiian religion, cultural, subsistence rights in defense of the tours.
Two guides who were involved in leading tours into the state Wao Kele O Puna Forest Reserve and Kahaualea Natural Area Reserve were arrested by Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers on Monday.. The charges were for prohibited entry into closed areas and for engaging in illegal commercial activities on DLNR-managed lands.
DOCARE officers conducted an undercover operation which resulted in the arrest of Matthew Hoeflinger, 50, of Keaau, and Christa Nicholas, 23, of Mountain View. Hoeflinger and Nicholas were charged with the following:
Reckless endangering in the 2nd degree; conducting illegal commercial activities within a forest reserve; entering a closed area within a natural area reserve; and conducting illegal commercial activities within a natural area reserve, all of which are misdemeanor offenses. They are also being charged with trespassing in the 2nd degree; entering a closed area in a forest reserve, which area petty misdemeanor offenses.
Hoeflinger and Nicholas were transported to the Pahoa Police Station for booking and were subsequently released on their own recognizance.
Entry into closed lands is a violation of Hawaii Administrative Rule Sec. 13-221-4 and Hawaii Revised Statute 171-6, and is subject of penalty up to $5,000 for the first offense.
“DLNR intends to prosecute any trespassers who willfully violate the closures and place enforcement officers and emergency personnel at increased risk,” said William J. Aila,Jr., DLNR chairperson.
Signs have been posted at various access points warning the public of the hazardous conditions. Department of Land and Natural Resources media release on Dec. 2, 2014
Before the news release was even issued by DLNR, Big Island Video News recieved the following statement from Orion Enocencio:
European journals dating back as far as the 1800’s documented that the Native Hawaiians guided the Europeans to Tutu Pele so they too could pray and give offerings. Guests from all over the world and Residents here in Hawaii have a right to witness such a beautiful thing but at the same time be taught proper protocol when visiting Tutu Pele.
It is sad and frustrating that Hawaii County Civil Defense- Daryl Oliveira, Department of Land and Natural Resources Chairman William Aila, the administrators, and their Police Officers have consistently harassed and violated our Federal and State constitutional rights as Native Hawaiians & Native American Indians even after we made them aware of the federal and state laws they are breaking. We even recorded a State Employee stating that our Hawaiian rights didn’t matter, and last night DLNR officers shown an example of it by arresting our guides. Even after the guides gave a Gift and Prayed. Officials are using ACT 111 to disregard our given rights.
‘Āhiu Hawaii is a local business operated by Native Hawaiians and Native American Indians Who WILL continue to practice our religion, cultural rights, and subsistence. And as of today ‘Āhiu Hawaii has decided that anyone that calls and wants to visit Tutu Pele but not willing to join us WILL STILL be allowed access thru OUR private properties to the trails taking them exactly to her.
With Aloha, Manager Orion Enocencio
RECENT RELATED VIDEO
‘Ahiu Hawaii was also involved in an earlier controversy during the June 27 lava flow. This video discussion is from October 1, 2014.