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Aliʻi trusts have stepped up to maintain the tombs of Hawaiian royalty

An aerial photo of Mauna ʻAla, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaiʻi.
Courtesy Department of Land and Natural Resources
An aerial photo of Mauna ʻAla, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaiʻi.

The memorial service for Abigail Kinoiki Kekaulike Kawānanakoa at ʻIolani Palace and at the Royal Mausoleum this weekend has put the burials of Hawaiian aliʻi in the limelight.

HPR learned that for the last 10 years, the aliʻi trusts have been working as a “hui” to ensure that the crypts of the lines of Kamehameha and Kalākaua are properly maintained.

Speaking to The Conversation, architect Glenn Mason said he was humbled to work on keeping the tombs in proper shape.

Mauna ’Ala is under the state parks jurisdiction but the trusts from Queen's Health Systems to Kamehameha Schools have stepped up to take care of their own. The state most recently paid for improvements to the driveway and the comfort stations, as well as the caretaker's cottage.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Jan. 18, 2023. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Catherine Cruz is the host of The Conversation. Originally from Guam, she spent more than 30 years at KITV, covering beats from government to education. Contact her at ccruz@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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