Purchasing Hawaii Vacant Land? Ancient Hawaiian Burial Sites and Laws

By
Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Liberty Homes RS-#62825

 www.localism.com featured article 8/18/2007

 It is a known fact that all our Hawaiian Islands have many burial grounds and sites that have still not been "discovered". Another fact is that much of our land is zoned as Preservation and/or Conservation land. There are a few things about ancient Hawaiian Burial Sites that you all need to know if you are thinking about buying vacant land here in Hawaii because it's not as easy as you think.

For one. Make sure and check into zoning laws. Hawaii (Oahu) Zoning, Special Use and Building Permits Next make sure and check into Preservation of Hawaiian Culture, Land and History and NOW you can check out the following information on our State Burial Laws regarding historical burial sites.

Chapter 6E of the Hawaii Revised Statutes amended Act 265 to make sure that provisions were in place upon the discovery of Hawaiian historic burial sites. This was mainly due to the public outcry of the moving of over 1,000 Native Hawaiian remains at the Honokahua graveyard on Maui to another location! In 1990 the remains were returned to their original resting place after the Hawaii State Legislature passed a bill signed by then Governor Waihee.

The State Burial Laws were adopted from this time:

  • 1990: Act 306 is passed into law and states that there is now a process to protect the resting places of Hawaii's dead
  •  Chapter 6E HRS changed the way burial sites would be handled. Island Burial Councils on ALL islands were established (State Historic Preservation Division) to establish and put into effect some burial laws as well as where they would relocate Hawaiian burial sites or just PRESERVE the site.
  • The Burial Council on each island has to approve the proposed burial treatments.
  • OHA (Office of Hawaiian Affairs) is definitely part of the process as well as the Hui Malama I Na Kupuna O Hawaii Nei (Native Hawaiian Organization involved deeply in the cultural/spiritual care of remains, burial goods, burial sites)
  • State Burial Law determines procedures for for Hawaiian burials, inventory of unmarked Hawaiian burial sites and also implements penalties for burial law violations
  • September 28,1996:  "Rules of Practice and Procedure Relating to Burial Sites and Human Remains" act  is now part of the HAR Chapter 13-300 and were amended to give extra protection to Native Hawaiian burial sites.

DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources) has a new Historic and Review Process: Proper steps to take for suspected properties of "historic site". These following steps are to be taken!

1) Identification and Inventory: State Historic Preservation Department (SHPD) to be contacted to find out the status on archaeological work on the site. Order an archeological inventory or survey if needed. The developer needs to really look at archealogical studies not only of the land their developing on but surrounding the property as well. If the SHPD determines nothing is going on...only then will they issue a preliminary "no effect" letter.

2) Evaluation of site: If the site is proven to be historic an evaluation must be made.

3) Impact Assessment: Assessment made of the impact the development would have on the site.

4) General Mitigation Plan: A proposed list of what should be done for the site (preservation/archealogical study) and has three components:

  • buffer zones set up so workers don't bulldoze or run over the site
  • Protection measures such as briefing workers during construction and archeaologist on site during the land moving
  • Long term preservation measures (i.e. placing signs although it may not prove beneficial to attract attention because of vandalism

5) Detailed Mitigation Plan: Scope of work to carry out #4

6) Verification of Completion of #5

Only when the process is complete will the SHPD be in agreement that all steps have been taken to ensure the Burial Laws have been abided by.

One good example of the process is when Walmart broke ground in June 2004 for construction on our island of Oahu on Keeaumoku Street for their upcoming store. Construction ceases and they await direction from the State Historic Preservaton Division who is called immediately at the same time as the Honolulu Police Department. An archeaologist comes in (paid by the developer) to evaluate the site. (the state also has their requirements for experience of archealogists!) Then the specialists in Hawaiian culture are called in to handle the remains and/or artifacts. 42 sets of human remains were found. After a process, Walmart resumed the construction and it opened in October of 2004.

 

These rules ensure that the preservation of land for historical sites that are discovered are protected and that developers are no longer allowed to take our Hawaiian lands forgranted.

Developers are forced to respect the lands for what they were and what they are as well as PRESERVE the HISTORY of Ancient Hawaii.

 

For more information, please contact the Department of Land and Natural Resources Historic Preservation Division, 33 South King Street, 6th Floor, Honolulu, Hawai'i 96813; 587-0047, or 1-800-468-4644 for neighbor-island callers.

 

 

Posted by

                                                       

 

Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman  is a Realtor-Associate® and Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) with Century 21 Liberty Homes in Mililani, Hawaii. With a sharp understanding that a listening ear is the key to a client's needs  she serves the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) and all Hawaii Military Relocations, Hawaii Retirees, Hawaii Job Transfers and Hawaii Residents, Home Buyers and Sellers.

 

 © 2007-2015 Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman's

Hawaii Real Estate and Relocation Blog.

All rights reserved.

     

 


 

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Location:
Hawaii Honolulu County
Tags:
hawaii relocation
hawaii history
hawaii land preservation

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
Thanks to people like yourself who support the AR community!
Aug 18, 2007 07:19 AM #20
Ambassador
1,518,466
William Johnson
RE/MAX Associates - La Jolla, CA
San Diego Real Estate Voice, GRI CRS e-Pro CDPE

How would the world know of these things if people like you weren't looking after them by educating the public and making the honest sense of pride that is interred in the land? Hawaii itself should thank you for your educational efforts and the care you have given the subject. No ordinary post. Woo Hoo!

Aug 18, 2007 09:36 AM #21
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
William:  And that's what makes these kinds of posts more eye catching....yours are like that too!  I put a link to yours on the Challenge thing.
Aug 18, 2007 11:31 AM #22
Rainmaker
160,461
1SG (Ret.) David Kucic
Hawaii Military Realty, Inc. - Ewa Beach, HI
President and Owner
Sally-There have been a lot found on Schofield Barracks also.  The new ranges that were built on Schofield had a lot of old sacred places that they found while it was under construction.  The Army worked hand in hand with environmentalists and the Hawaiian community to make sure that the Native Hawaiians still had access to the sites. 
Aug 18, 2007 11:58 AM #23
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
David:  As is with the rest of the state. Wherever the Native Hawaiians have been for spiritual sacred meetings are still accessible to all of them for legitimate cause. I was thinking (after I wrote this) if it might be too morbid...but you know what? These are the things the consumer needs to know about. It's not just selling/buying property. It's knowing what comes with the land...and boy do these lands come with a lot of restrictions! Don't they even have a graveyard on Schofield?  When we were kids I'd go hang with some of my friends and they kept telling me stories to spook me.
Aug 18, 2007 12:02 PM #24
Rainmaker
259,371
Christopher Walker
Mission Grove Realty Inc. - Hemet, CA
Local Broker and Realtor - Hemet & San Jacinto, CA
Seems everyone remembers the Brady Bunch episode. Classic...and the first thought through my mind when reading this. Excellent that rules are established to protect sensative sites. For me....disclose that it is...was...or could have been a burial site and I am out of there!!!
Aug 18, 2007 12:06 PM #25
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
Chris:  Yeah, just wonder what you're walking on top of over there.....the Wild West....now, go ponder on that one.
Aug 18, 2007 12:09 PM #26
Ambassador
3,066,479
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert
Sally, this is something that I have never thought about, because it has not been a major issue here in Connecticut.  It is interesting how different parts of the country get affected by different things.
Aug 18, 2007 01:57 PM #27
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
George:  Okay...back to a night out on the AR town, huh?  lol.  We have a new agent in our office and she's an archeologist. I learned a lot from her yesterday just talking to her for half an hour. Then I went researching more.  Pretty interesting. I knew there were all the laws etc. but now know the process and extent.
Aug 18, 2007 04:53 PM #28
Rainer
67,965
Leigh Bates
Atlantic & Pacific Real Estate - Flower Mound, TX
The Trinity Group
Interesting - I've never thought much about this - Real Estate is so different in different areas of the country. Thanks for educating!
Aug 18, 2007 05:03 PM #29
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
Leigh:  It's useful for all the people coming here to "invest". I've heard so many stories of finding out later when they start digging.
Aug 18, 2007 05:09 PM #30
Rainmaker
201,658
Stephanie Edwards-Musa
thredUP.com - The Woodlands, TX
knitwit at thred UP

Hey Sally, this is very interesting.  I am glad that they are taking steps to preserving Hawaii's History.  It is sooo important.  We do something similar here.  They have even built freeways around historic burial sites. 

It is always good to respect the ones that founded our areas and made so much of our history.

Aug 19, 2007 11:57 AM #31
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
Stephanie:  I believe there are laws all over...just a matter of how many of us in the real estate industry have that knowledge.
Aug 19, 2007 11:59 AM #32
Rainmaker
650,221
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
Our new agent Donna who is teaming up with me is an Archaeologist who works with those burial sites.  I am sure she will keep us well informed when we have to deal with this issue.
Aug 21, 2007 11:27 AM #33
Anonymous
Donna

I could write on this topic for hours!  Sally, you did a remarkably thorough job of presenting the policy and procedure concerning Historic Preservation in our state!  I couldn't have done better myself, honestly.  :) 

Historic properties come part-and-parcel with living in Hawaii.  Granted, some places were more densely populated than others, and estimating your archaeological "risk" prior to buying is possible, however it is not completely accurate.  I have conducted archaeological survey during extended "due dilligence" periods in which developers purchased time within a Purchase Contract in order to perform the preliminary Inventory Survey and receive a determination for mitigation procedures from the state.  This process is not too practical for single family residences.  But, it is important for buyers to understand that some places are more archaeologically sensitive than others.  Some primary culprits are:

BEACHES AND SAND DUNE AREAS.  This is what I fondly refer to as "burial city."  Lets just say that in my daily work, sand makes me very very nervous. 

Anywhere that you have a perenial or year-round stream, you are looking at an area that had people on it for thousands of years. 

Check a TMK map prior to buying any piece of Hawaii land.  Anywhere you see the letters "LCAw." or "R.P" or "Grant"  followed by a 3-, 4- or 5- digit number, watch out!  These land grants were distributed during 1840's through 1950's by the Hawaiian Kingdom, and later the U.S. Territorial Government.  Hawaiian Kuleana lands (Land Commission Awards or LCAw's).  If you want to dig so much as garden on one of these plots, SHPD is going to mandate archaeological monitoring. 

Nov 16, 2007 05:08 PM #34
Ambassador
1,085,809
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI
(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE

Everyone...Donna is an agent in our office who is an archeologist here in Hawaii...

Donna: Go write a post on this!  You above all would give invaluable information....and how come you didn't sign in? :)  And I will keep this for future information.... Also, I wrote this after talking to you back in August. Sure made for good info....but seriously...you could give this community some outstanding info!

 

Nov 16, 2007 05:13 PM #35
Anonymous
Tane

Another thing people have to realize in Hawaii is we do keep our genealogy and it can go back a thousand years or more.  Many places we have lineal descendants of those burials.  Just going bake to my gggreat-grand parents is going back at least 250 years.  I know their names and something about them.  Some of the burials are from about 300ad to about the 1800s and even as recent as the 1950s.  It was the custom not to put headstones but natural markers as stones, trees, or some private type of marker.  Not all the family knew its location and it wade the responsibility of one or two people to know where it is.  Today, we use gravemarkers in a judeo-christian type burial.  Prior to the conversion, people would bury loved ones somewhere on their property, usually in one area.  The purpose for the secrecy of burials was to insure the bones would not be desecrated.  Certain burials were done in lava tubes and caves which they hid with brush and natural camouflage usually of those with ali'i blood.  The bones were intensely guarded.  One of my great-grand parent's burial was described by a certain type of stone next to a particular type of tree.  Another was described as crawling through a (lavatube) tunnel for 1/4 mile until it opens up where you could stand and walk further in; the entrance was by the shore and accessed during low-tide.  That's as much as I care to share; but it lets you know that we are still concerned about our family bones and burial.  As far as Walmart, they have not finished resolving the reinterment of the bones there and keep it piled in a container.  Whole Food dug up 64+ burials at Kaka'ako.  Some of the burials at both places were as recent as about 160 years.  Not quite resolved, some lineal descendants have filed complaints but since have been ignored.  People have been outraged but money talks with the State.  This goes on with all islands.  Today, it's a bigger issue since they have been ignoring us; but more people are aware of it now than ever before and are being outraged at the indifference of government and developers.  People are realizing that this can be done to any cemetary their families are buried in whether it's 200 years ago or 100 years ago.  Mahalo for explaining what is being done and for the sensitivity that goes with it.

Sep 23, 2008 07:54 PM #37
Rainmaker
70,680
Mobile Austin Notary
Apostille/Authentication/Embassy Legalization, Notary Public, Loan Signing Agent & Process Server Services - Austin, TX
www.mobileaustinnotary.com

I'm glad that Hawaii has this law because we need to preserve our past for future generations. Butterfly

Feb 10, 2009 03:22 PM #38
Rainer
1,753
Janeece Smith
Klickitat Valley Realty, Inc. - Goldendale, WA

way cool pictures.....

Aug 20, 2009 11:17 AM #39
Rainmaker
575,773
Kathleen Luiten
Resort and Second-Home Specialist - Princeville, HI
Kauai Luxury Ocean Home Sales

Just discovered this old but still very pertinent post. I'm on Kauai and we have all the same issues. I'm with Donna, "Sand makes me very nervous" when it comes to any development plans. As agents we need to be informed so that we serve our communities and protect Hawaiian culture, our aina and our clients!

Aug 11, 2014 07:41 AM #40
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Ambassador
1,085,809

Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman

(RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE
SELLING OR BUYING OAHU HAWAII RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY?
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information