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Various proposals, objections heard regarding Hawaiian burial remains at Maui Lani Center

July 5, 2012
The Maui Weekly

The Maui News - Eleven sets of iwi kupuna, or human remains, discovered under the foundation of the planned Safeway store at the future Maui Lani Center could be relocated to a large on-site burial preserve.

That plan was presented June 27 to the Maui/Lana'i Islands Burial Council by the developer's archaeologist, Wailuku-based Archaeological Services Hawai'i. The role of the council is to offer recommendations and a public forum on the burial plan to the state Historic Preservation Division, which has until the end of July to review the plan and either accept or reject it.

The burials have been excavated and, due to security issues, are being stored by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Archeologist Lisa Rotunno-Hazuka said the developer, HRT Ltd., a subsidiary of The Harry and Jeannette Weinberg Trust, proposes treating the newly found remains similarly to other iwi kupuna found during construction, some of which have been placed in the preserve in the northwest corner of the project site. The plan proposes laying the burials in the same spacial relationship to one another as they were discovered.

Burial Council Member Leiane Paci, a partner with Maui Lani Partners, recommended that the 11 burials instead be re-interned in one location to minimize digging in the preservation area.

A separate plan proposes preserving a 12th burial in place. The remains were found in a trench near an existing drain line. Work has been redesigned to preserve that burial, and the plan proposes laying a rock platform over the area and erecting fencing.

Finding more burials during construction is still a possibility.

Hui members held an overnight vigil from the evening of Sunday, June 24, to Monday morning to honor the kupuna whose remains have been disturbed at the site. The group said that at least 19 burials have been discovered.



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