State Division of Land and Resource Enforcement officers uprooted the ‘kanaka garden’ at Wailoa River State Recreation Area early this morning, leaving temporary divots where taro and banana plants had been planted by activists.
Gene Tamashiro, 64, a longtime Hawaiian sovereignty activist and the leader of a group that had since Sunday occupied a portion of the Hilo park near the statue of Kamehameha the Great, was cited for three violations.
Tamashiro claims the park is property deeded to the Hawaiian people by Kamehameha III and the state’s claim to the land is invalid.
Tamashiro has a date in Hilo District Court on Feb. 19 to answer charges of leaving abandoned property on public lands, unauthorized use of state lands for agriculture use and introducing plants onto public property.
State Parks supervisors estimate several hundred plants were pulled from the ground today. They were trucked to the University of Hawaii at Hilo School of Tropical Agriculture where viable plants will be returned to the ground.
See Friday’s edition of the Tribune-Herald for a complete story.