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MidWeek Staff

Civic Club In Rebuilding Mode After Stone Ahu Vandalized

Among the proud participants at the July 27 groundbreaking and blessing of the stone boundary marker at Castle Junction were (from left) Kahu Aaron Mahi, Chuck Burrows, Mahealani Cypher, Oswald Stender, Kumu Mapuana DeSilva, Billy Fields, Mitch D'Olier, ahu crew member Kelly Goold, Matt Schirman, ahu crew member Tom Stone, and Christopher Dacus. The marker was vandalized Aug. 24 in broad daylight. Photo from Mahealani Cypher.

A community-wide effort to place a traditional land marker at Castle Junction has been stalled by vandals who destroyed a stone ahu there Aug. 24, just four weeks after it was dedicated by officials and the community.

A phone video and other witness reports have led to the arrest of a suspect last week, according to Koolaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club spokeswoman Mahealani Cypher, whose club is working on an official damage report.

Seeing the altar-like, dry-stacked mound in disarray was “disheartening,” she admitted, but they are “assessing the next steps” as they recover, and plan to rebuild it. A fund may be set up later for those who wish to contribute.

The incident occurred between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. that Saturday on the shaded makai triangle where the highways intersect. Any additional witnesses are urged to call police.

The club estimates a $2,500 setback for the project, which had been months in the planning with representatives from other civic clubs, government agencies and neighborhood boards.

The July 27 dedication was hosted by Harold K.L. Castle Foundation and Kaneohe Ranch, with additional sponsors OHA, Atherton Foundation and Hawaii Tourism Authority.

The ahu was assembled by stone mason Billy Fields and his crew to identify the traditional boundary between the ahupua’a of Kaneohe and Kailua. It was intended to be a model for other communities to consider.

“There’s definitely a silver lining to this,” Cypher added, “as now more people know about our purpose.”

(Reports of the vandalism were reported statewide and also via Mainland media outlets.)

“The ahupua’a resource management concept was an effective means of ensuring the life and sustainability of our Islands centuries ago,” explained project coordinator Francine Gora. “Wisely, both the city and state have incorporated this concept into their own general community plans.”

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