Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Historic Hawaii Foundation's Testimony on HB2484

To: Rep. Mele Carroll, Chair
Rep. Maile S.L. Shimabukuro, Vice Chair, Committee on Hawaiian Affairs

Rep. Ken Ito, Chair
Rep. Sharon E. Har, Vice Chair
Committee on Water, Land & Ocean Resources
From: Kiersten Faulkner
Executive Director, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation
Committee Date: Wednesday, February 3, 2010
9:00 am
Conference Room 329
Subject: HB2484, Relating to Historic Preservation

On behalf of Historic Hawai‘i Foundation (HHF), I am writing in support of the intent of HB2484, which provides civil penalties for the knowing destruction of heiau located on private lands, except as permitted by the department of land and natural resources.

HHF strongly supports all efforts to identify and protect significant historic properties, including civil and administrative penalties for the destruction of sites significant to the history and prehistory of Native Hawaiians.

The intent of HB2484 is to provide protection of sacred and traditional cultural sites on private lands, but there is some ambiguity that could lead to later conflicts. HHF recommends that definitions of heiau be added to the measure, as well as guidance for reconciling differences of professional and/or cultural judgment in the event that there is disagreement about the use, archaeological features or historic integrity of the subject site. We also recommend that the measure not be limited to private property, but to apply equally to lands owned or controlled by the State or any of its political subdivisions.