Monday, March 17, 2008


I went to the island of Hawai'i to testify against the granting of a conservation district use permit for a planned vacation compound planned on being built on a section of the Kohala coastline by a wealthy investment banker from the East Coast of the United States. The land acquired by this individual, who plans to build a vacation home for he, his wife, and three teenage daughters, just happens to be full of precious ancient Hawaiian cultural sites including several burial sites and a significant burial platform which seems to be significant for other reasons as well. It is a very difficult case with high emotions. 

Having worked for two successive government agencies, which both failed to adequately protect these last vestiges of our precious heritage, I decided to just be honest on the witness stand, respectful even in cross-examination, and have Aloha for all involved on both sides. Even if I ended up hurting the side of the case which I was retained for expert testimony. The truth is the only way to go. The 'uhane of my kupuna came through in my testimony apparently. When I finished and left the witness stand, on my way out, I was approached by a beautiful older woman who held out her hands towards me with tears in her eyes. We embraced and hugged tightly. We separated and I looked in her eyes and we both smiled and I thanked her for the Aloha. 

When I left the courthouse, I found out that she was the landowner's wife and she and her husband were both present during my testimony. I didn't realize they were present in the courtroom. Although I truthfully testified that I didn't feel their planned house was appropriate for building on the cultural sites of my kupuna, I said that I knew that they were trying to be sensitive from the kauhale design of their home and that I didn't have anything personally against them and have never met them. I went so far as to say that they are probably good people and I probably love them. 

After hugging her. I know I love them. As I walked to my rental car, her face flashed in my head. A wave of emotion swept over me and I had to use every trick in my book to keep from breaking down in front of everyone. The connection between us was intense. The love and forgiveness was astoundingly beautiful...