Another holiday weekend mass gathering in a State Park has promoted further warnings to party organizers and participants.

Saturday night, DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officers broke up a gathering of an estimated 200 people at Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline in east O’ahu. No one was arrested or cited as officers concentrated on getting people out of the park prior to a planned bonfire.

Following this incident and numerous other, in State parks during the coronavirus pandemic, DOCARE Chief Jason Redulla had this stern warning. “People are putting themselves and others at risk of getting seriously ill or even dying from COVID-19 by attending any of these so-called ‘super spreader’ events.” Few if any of the participants were wearing masks and no one appeared to be practicing social distancing.

Under current COVID rules on O’ahu, it’s illegal to gather in groups of more than five. At all times, large gatherings in any State park is against the law without a permit from the DLNR Division of State Parks. A bar table was set up at Kaiwi. Alcohol is prohibited in all State parks as is having open fires on a beach.

In addition to the COVID-19 rules violations, people attending these beach parties risk endangering or destroying protected and sensitive natural or cultural resources. Portions of Kaiwi State Scenic Shoreline contain endangered plant and insect species and the coastline is a frequent resting area for critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals and their pupping. They can be disturbed or threatened by large groups of people and close human interaction.

Of equal and critical concern is the lack of any restroom facilities at Kaiwi. These large groups add human waste to the degradation of what should be pristine natural resources

“It’s frustrating,” Redulla added, “that these events are promoted on social media without any thought to whether they’re legal or to the impacts on Hawai’i’s sensitive landscapes, flora and fauna.”

Numerous tips about last night’s gathering came in via the DLNRTip app, which Redulla said is a great way for people to contribute their “eyes and ears” in support of protecting the state’s precious natural and cultural resources. Many of the partiers are young adults and many self-identified as being in the military.

Sections and entire State parks on Maui and Kaua’i have been closed during the pandemic after repeated warnings to large semi-organized groups of beach goers to stop breaking the laws and rules. “Unfortunately, these repeated actions of a few that feel they are entitled to ignore the rules are now frequently forcing access restrictions and impacting the quality of all to enjoy our State Parks,” said DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell.

In addition to diverting limited law enforcement and park maintenance personnel to perform pertinent and recurring duties, managers are spending an increasing amount of time responding to unacceptable and illegal behavior.

“Sadly, this selfish behavior forces temporary closures as we struggle to develop more stringent management strategies, but these recurring large parties and gatherings are easily and rapidly promoted on social media, so unfortunately this is likely to continue. There is a balance between public access, respect of others and sensitive natural and cultural landscapes” Cottrell concluded.

Anyone who sees suspected illegal activity in State Parks, small boat harbors, or on trails and forests under DLNR jurisdiction is urged to call 643-DLNR or use the free DLNRTip app.

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

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