OHA objects after 7 arrested on Mauna Kea for violating new DLNR rule

Mauna Kea (Photo: DLNR)

Seven protesters were taken into custody for violating state law overnight atop Mauna Kea.

The Department of Land and Natural Resources said they were violating the new rules that have been put in place making it illegal to camp overnight atop the mountain.

Back on July 14, Governor David Ige signed the newly proposed rules into law. From that date through the next 120 days, the Mauna Kea road will be restricted to anyone not traveling in a vehicle, between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Camping gear is also not allowed within a mile of the road at any time. The Board of Land and Natural Resources voted in favor of the rules.

State authorities say they spent more than a week educating people in the area, informing them that they’re not allowed to be on the mountain overnight.

DLNR spokesman Dan Dennison said “there’s been a real concerted effort to educate the protesters and campers in the restricted area by putting out signs, by handing out leaflets, with all the pertinent information to the individuals.”

Then, at about 2 a.m. Friday, officials moved in and began the arrests.

The Hawaii County Police Department provided transportation support and booking and rangers from the Office of Mauna Kea Management provided logistical support. An additional six men were issued citations and voluntarily left the mountain.

The governor released a statement later Friday morning, stating:

The emergency rules were enacted to ensure public safety and access after the road was blocked by boulders. The state has made sure people are aware of and understand the emergency rules before taking the next step. While we had hoped arrests would not have to be made in the process of citing violators last night, we were prepared to take action, and we did so.

DLNR chair Suzanne Case said, “Our DOCARE officers have done an outstanding job of informing people about the emergency rule. I’m proud of the professionalism they demonstrated, both in making people aware of the rule and in enforcing it.”

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs is calling for a stop to the arrests. Board of Trustees chairman Robert Lindsey said in a statement:

The Office of Hawaiian Affairs urges the state to cease further enforcement action and arrests until legal questions relating to the Mauna Kea emergency rules are properly resolved. Native Hawaiians have constitutionally protected rights to reasonably engage in traditional and customary practices, and regulations cannot eliminate the exercise of these rights. We hope for a resolution that ensures our beneficiaries’ rights are protected instead of violated.

Arrested for prohibited activities (Hawaii Administrative Rules section 13-123-21.2(d) as amended:

  • Eric Ana, 35, Oahu ($250 bail)
  • Joseph Henderson, 26, Pahoa ($250 bail)
  • Laakeaokani Sanborn, 32, Kona ($250 bail)
  • D’Angelo Montez McIntyre, 29, Oahu ($250 bail)
  • Marcus Yoshizu, 26, Oahu ($250 bail)
  • Bronson Kobayashi, 23, Kona ($400 bail, additional for failure to appear)
  • Pueo McGuire Turcotte, 27, Naalehu ($3100 bail, additional for resisting arrest and contempt of court)

Citations for prohibited activities:

  • Michael Kyser
  • Lakea Trask
  • Sam Whatley-Keliihoomalu
  • Justin Murphy
  • Caleb Murphy
  • Kapono Kuikahi

The following photos were provided by the Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources:

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