Letter to the Editor
Honolulu Advertiser
Sunday, January 15, 2006

Mahalo to The Advertiser for printing imprisoned Hui Malama executive director Edward Halealoha Ayau's letter on Jan. 12.

In it, he expressed his unqualified support for entering into a contemplated Hawaiian-based mediation or ho'oponopono to resolve the issues raised in the lawsuit filed by La'akea Suganuma and Abigail Kawananakoa over the disposition of the funerary objects (moepu) in the Kawaihae caves. Judge Ezra sent him to jail for refusing to divulge sensitive information that would violate Hui Malama's religious/cultural belief that the moepu be left undisturbed with the bones (iwi kupuna) of ancient Hawaiians with which they were buried.

As a prisoner of conscience, Halealoha firmly believes he cannot comply with Judge Ezra's order demanding information contrary to his religious/cultural beliefs. He remains firm and resolute, as does the Hui Malama board of directors, that such information cannot be released if it will be used to commit a second desecration of these moepu and the iwi kupuna with which they are buried.

There is no dispute that Bishop Museum and David Forbes conspired to loot that burial site of what the museum at that time classified as funerary objects in 1905, so Hui Malama firmly believes they must be returned and not ever disturbed again.

Contrary to the suggestion of the headline for the letter ("No ho'oponopono if it means exposing reburial"), Ayau's position has nothing to do with his willingness to participate in the Hawaiian cultural-based mediation in which the parties are now poised to participate. Your heading suggests that Ayau will not participate if he's required to divulge the information the court required.

No one can predict where ho'oponopono will lead. No such condition has been imposed on the participants. Ayau supports ho'oponopono unconditionally and looks forward to participating in it, if allowed.

Alan Murakami
Attorney for Hui Malama

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