Big Island Thieves



by Thunda

The Department of Land and Natural Resources is pleased to announce that Doni Leināʻala Hanuna Pahukoa Chong has been selected as the new Curator of the Royal Mausoleum State Monument at Mauna ‘Ala on O‘ahu. Ms. Chong becomes the 18th curator of the Royal Mausoleum.

Mauna ‘Ala (fragrant hills) is the place name of the Royal Mausoleum and was established in 1865 as the final resting place for the ruling monarchs of the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and is a venerated state Monument and culturally significant wahi pana. The iwi kūpuna of the Kamehameha and the Kalākaua Dynasties, their families, and close advisors are entombed here.

Selection of this unique state employee required consideration of the significant historical, cultural, and practical duties of the curator. An interview panel conducted a thorough and thoughtful selection process that included two rounds of interviews with selected applicants. Each applicant had diverse and exceptional qualities. After all interviews were completed, the selection committee went to Mauna ‘Ala and walked the grounds seeking guidance prior to making its decision.

DLNR Chair Dawn Chang said, “It was Doni’s balance of experiences, perspectives, and cultural connections to Mauna ‘Ala, as well as her keen understanding of the unique and varied role of the curator position that set her apart.”

Ensuring the sanctity of Mauna ‘Ala is paramount through honoring and conducting protocols, interacting with visitors, civic clubs and organizations that come to honor the iwi kūpuna as Kahu. Equally important, are caretaker responsibilities including maintenance of the grounds and landscape, managing the issuance of special use permits and keeping reports on repair needs and patronage numbers.

“Doni radiated genuine humility and gratitude for the opportunity to serve and care for the Ali‘i, and she visited Mauna ‘Ala to pule with her ‘ohana before accepting the position,” Chang added.

DLNR Division of State Parks Administrator Curt Cottrell said, “We greatly appreciate Doni’s willingness to serve at the Royal Mausoleum State Monument and to assume responsibility for maintaining the sanctity of the grounds. She has demonstrated detailed knowledge of Mauna ‘Ala, its grounds and the code of conduct expected of staff and visitors, and an understanding of the efforts needed to preserve the site and to support people visiting Mauna ‘Ala to honor the royal families.”

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