The man behind the illegal “kanaka” garden at Wailoa River State Park in Hilo was arrested at Iolani Palace in Honolulu this morning. 64-year-old Gene Tamashiro of Hilo is charged with entering a closed State Park and violation of the State’s COVID-19 rules.

Prior to his arrest, Tamashiro, and a group of about a dozen supporters gathered in the mall between the State Capitol and the palace. Tamashiro had already informed the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) that he intended to enter the palace grounds if he wasn’t given permission to gather to mark the anniversary of the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom. Iolani Palace has been closed on Sunday’s, since nearly the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

DOCARE had a heavy presence on the palace grounds, as officers monitored locked gates for anyone attempting to trespass. At 10:30 DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla spoke to Tamashiro and his group and explained that without a permit from the DLNR Division of State Parks they would not be allowed to enter the grounds. Tamashiro produced a long scroll of documents which he claims show the illegal overthrow of the kingdom and questions the legality of ownership of the palace by the State of Hawai‘i.

Tamashiro had a cordial 10-minute long discussion with Redulla. In earlier conversations he’d been informed that he needed a permit to hold an event at the palace. Tamashiro then announced his intention to jump the palace’s ornate fence. Once on the palace grounds, he was immediately handcuffed and led away. He was transported by deputy sheriffs from the Dept. of Public Safety for booking. At this time, he’s being held on $2,500 bond.

Ten days ago, Tamashiro was cited in Hilo by DOCARE for three Hawai‘i Administrative Rules (HAR) violations associated with the illegal planting of the garden in the middle of Wailoa River State Park. He and his supporters had been given a Cease and Desist order two days in advance.

Section of parking lot off-limits to public use on Jan. 18, Feb. 7, and Feb. 22

To assist with the safe passage of American Samoa residents back to their island home, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor is coordinating with the City and County of Honolulu to facilitate safe travel and quarantine arrangements as part of the repatriation process.

Approximately 800 American Samoan residents are anticipated to transit through Honolulu, be tested for COVID-19, and quarantine en route to their previously shuttered island home.

This process involves a the use of a section of the Waikīkī Shell parking lot on Monsarrat Avenue while the American Samoan residents await check-in at the nearby Waikīkī Sands Hotel for their mandated quarantine.

As a result, part of this parking lot will be off-limits for public use from 6 a.m. through 6 p.m. on Jan. 18, Feb. 7, and Feb. 22. Additional restriction may be necessary if the need arises.

We appreciate the patience and understanding of our island community as we provide these public facilities to assist are American Samoa ‘ohana in their much anticipated journey back home.

If you need an auxiliary aid/service, other accommodations due to a disability, or an interpreter for a language other than English in reference to this announcement, please call DPR at (808) 768-3003 on weekdays from 7:45 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. or email

Mokulele Airlines Expands at Molokai & Lāna‘i

Ohana’s Exit Provides Unprecedented Opportunity to Serve

Airline adds two more daily departures at Lāna‘i to complement hourly service at Molokai

Mokulele Airlines is set to become the sole airline serving Molokai and Lāna‘i beginning Friday when Ohana by Hawaiian suspends operations. The planned departure of Ohana was accelerated when the federal Department of Transportation agreed with Hawaiian Airlines that Mokulele is capable of providing the needed service to the communities. Ohana’s last flight is today.

Mokulele, a local airline for over 25 years, mergedbrands with Honolulu-based Makani Kai Air in June of this year as a result of decreased demand brought about by the state restrictions on air travel. The combined entity has stabilized the commuter airline market in Hawai‘i and positioned Mokulele to be able to withstand the hardships caused by the quarantines.

“Mokulele Airlines has gone beyond normal business practices to serve Molokai and Kalaupapa during the pandemic,” said Richard Schuman, Executive Vice President of Mokulele. “Prior to COVID, we were offering departures to and from Molokai every half hour, and we are ready to rebuildto that scheduleas the demand increases.”

Mokulele started serving the island of Lāna‘i in 2019, with direct flights from Kahului. Honolulu service to Lāna‘i was initiated in 2020 with two daily departures. “We are monitoring the demand on a daily basis and are adding extra daily flights as needed,” said Schuman. “We added a new Honolulu-Lāna‘i frequency earlier this week to meet the growing demand and then another one just this morning.” By Monday, January 18, the number of daily departures from Lāna‘i will have increased to seven per day. “We have plenty of planes and plenty of pilots that are ready to serve. Should the demand dictate, we could offer flights from the Lāna‘i airport every hour!”

Mokulele has worked to address concerns from the community following the announcement of the planned exit of Ohana Airlines last October. In the past, there have been some challenges transporting passengers with limited mobility. To solve that issue, Mokulele commissioned the construction of wheelchair lifts to ease the boarding process for these passengers. Lifts are now in place and have been used over the last two months. In addition, Mokulele is completing an alternative boarding procedure and seating configuration designed to accommodate persons-of-size. As a result, Mokulele can now transport passengers weighing up to 400 pounds. Booking of fights for passengers-of-size and limited mobility must be done by calling Mokulele’s Call Center at (808) 495-4188.

Mokulele Airlines now serves more airports in Hawai‘i than any other carrier and has the most daily departures of any airline in the state. Mokulele is also the only Hawaiian airline not to have furloughed any employees since the start of the pandemic.

Passengers having furtherquestions are encouraged to contact the 24/7 Customer Service Center.

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Hawai`i State Capitol
415 South Beretania St.
Honolulu, HI 96813

Copyright 2019 Hawai`i Senate Majority