Donations sought for spear repair

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The Kamehameha Schools East Hawaii Alumni Association is seeking donations to repair the Kamehameha the Great statue in Hilo that was vandalized about a week ago.

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The Kamehameha Schools East Hawaii Alumni Association is seeking donations to repair the Kamehameha the Great statue in Hilo that was vandalized about a week ago.

The association maintains the iconic statue in the Wailoa River state park and headed the fundraising effort nearly 20 years ago to transport it from Kauai.

Robert Yamada II, treasurer for the association’s Mamalahoe chapter, said Friday the group has started a statue fundraising committee to cover the costs of the repairs, estimated at $7,500 for materials. Labor will be donated.

“We don’t have the funds to do that,” he said.

That expense would cover repairing the top segment of the statue’s spear, or ‘ihe, that was removed, re-installing it to the rest of the structure, and repairing other damage.

In addition to the removal of the nearly 6-foot spear segment, Yamada said the statue’s chest also was damaged.

“Whoever went up there with the ladder or chain or something hit the chest and scraped off some of the gold,” he said.

The approximately 50-pound spear segment, which detectives found in brush in the park Tuesday, was reported missing Sunday. It is valued at $10,000.

Police arrested 31-year-old William Roy Carroll on Thursday for allegedly removing the spear and stealing a pipe and chain from a nearby used-car lot. He has been charged with second-degree theft, third-degree theft and second-degree criminal property damage.

Carroll will appear in court Monday.

Yamada said the association hopes to have the spear reinstalled by the end of October.

“We’re in the process of arranging to take the bottom half of the spear out so we can then send both parts to a welder to have them make the connection again,” he said.

The association isn’t stopping there.

He said it’s also raising funds to clean the statue, restore storyboards vandalized before the spear was removed, add lights behind the statue and repair those in the front, and repair the rock wall.

That work is estimated to cost $42,500.

“We’ve got a lot of cleanup to do,” said Jacqueline “Skylark” Rossetti, who is heading the fundraising committee.

“We might as well do one big fundraiser and tackle what we need to do.”

Rossetti also was on the committee that raised funds to bring the statue to Hilo in 1997.

As with the initial fundraising drive, she said she anticipates holding pau hana Friday events, or something similar, to raise the money.

Yamada said the association hopes to have that all complete by next year’s lei-draping ceremony June 10, the day before Kamehameha Day.

To make a donation or assist with fundraising events, contact Rossetti at 920-5223.

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Donations also can be mailed to the Kamehameha Schools Alumni Association, East Hawaii Region, Mamalahoe Chapter, at P.O. Box 5845 Hilo, HI 96720.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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