Turn around

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Bill Long reacts as a car drives by the group of residents sign-holding at Waipa without stopping on Kuhio Highway Wednesday.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Ka’iulani Mahuka and Bill Long return to the group of residents sigh-holding on Kuhio Highway at Waipa Wednesday after turning away a vehicle trying to get to Haena State Park.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Bill Long watches a line of cars coming his way as he and others hold signs asking visitors to get passes for the state parks, and for traffic to slow as it enters Wainiha and Haena along Kuhio Highway Wednesday.

Jessica Else/The Garden Island

Bill Long and Brandi Miller react as a car drives by the group of residents sign-holding on Kuhio Highway at Waipa without stopping.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

A group of residents has gathered in the days after the opening of Kuhio Highway, asking drivers to slow down and turn around if they don’t have a parking pass for Haena State Park.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Moku Chandler waves to passers by as he tallies the number of visitor cars and Kauai resident cars that pass by the old road block station — now known to residents as the “regulation station.”

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Ka’iulani Mahuka tries to advise drivers of needed parking passes for Haena State Park, but several try to drive around her, creating a traffic jam on Kuhio Highway Wednesday at Waipa.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Bill Long leans in to talk to a driver, holding a sign that says “Not Taking Visitors,” on Wednesday.

Jessica Else / The Garden Island

Signs along Kuhio Highway at Waipa on Wednesday asked drivers to slow down and to be responsible visitors to the North Shore.

WAIPA — The message along Kuhio Highway was to slow down on Wednesday, as North Shore residents gathered with signs at the old road-closure booth in Waipa.

And every car that passed by the booth — known to residents as the “regulation station’”— heard that message loud and clear.

That’s because they were individually stopped by Ka‘iulani Mahuka and Nancy Chandler, along with a handful of others who had been manning the station since about 6 a.m.

Most drivers stopped when Mahuka stepped in front of the vehicle, hands raised, asking them to roll down their window for a chat. Some tried to go around or speed through the collection of people at the station.

Those drivers got scoldings and chased down the street with shouts of “slow down!”

Lines built up as each car received the same question: “Do you have a parking pass?”

“In any other universe, we aunties would be out at the beach, talking story,” Mahuka said early Wednesday. “But the aunties are not allowed that. We’re out here directing traffic.”

Sign-waving started Tuesday in response to the Monday opening of Kuhio Highway past Waipa — the section that’s been closed for repairs since the April 2018 flood.

Haena and Napali Coast state parks have opened, the Kalalau Trail is open for hiking, and the parking lot is finished.

But both state workers and local residents are still working out the kinks of adjusting to more people again driving through the area, off limits to the general public for more than a year.

“It’s not ready,” said Moku Chandler, another sign-holder at the station on Wednesday. “There’s still construction.”

Part of that construction is on the bridge just past Waipa, where traffic periodically backed up past the station as work continued.

As they talked with every driver who would listen, the group warned that the North Shore isn’t ready for visitors, that there isn’t any parking available if you don’t have a pass, and about speeding in the area.

“Two of the dogs in our community were killed in the road yesterday (by fast drivers),” Mahuka said. “We’re just telling everyone to slow down, and if you don’t have a pass, you might as well just turn around.”

And turn around they did, by the dozens, especially as noon approached and the line of traffic started to back up around the corner.

Tuesday, police were on hand to regulate the protesting and sign-holding activity. No one was arrested, though a photo of Nancy Chandler with her foot on the front bumper of a white Jeep got national attention.

“That guy didn’t stop, so ‘ey, you going in, you taking me with you,” Chandler said of the incident. “He was being rude.”

“His wife got it, he didn’t,” Mahuka added. “She was embarrassed.”

Wednesday morning, officers cruised through the sign-holders with friendly acknowledgements from inside their vehicles, and were otherwise nowhere to be seen for much of the day.

Mahuka said Kauai Police Department Chief Todd Raybuck is considering training residents to write tickets as a way to help enforce rules in the area. Raybuck confirmed that on Wednesday.

“We are looking into the possibility of training citizens to assist with parking violations. In order to do that, we will need to look further into the legal process of authorizing citizens to enforce parking laws, along with the development of forming and implementing a training and oversight program for such an initiative,” Raybuck said.

Moku Chandler pointed out the goal isn’t to shut down the road or to block visitor traffic. He suggests opening the road to locals only until the ongoing construction on the bridges is complete.

“We have to find a balance,” said Brandi Miller. “Find a way to honor everyone who has the right to be here.”

The sign-waving and traffic-stopping isn’t going to end anytime soon, according to Makuha and the rest of the group that was at Waipa on Wednesday. They’re currently working through ideas including setting up closer to Haena.

Joy Zakarian of San Diego said she was shaken after an encounter with the protesters.

When they drove up Tuesday morning for a kayaking trip from Kee to Kalalau two years in the planning, they came to a car “sort of blocking the road” on Kuhio Highway beyond Hanalei. She said it wasn’t just some people with signs asking her van of kayakers to slow down, but they were yelling, “tourists, go home,” and shaking fists at them.

“They told us to get out of here,” Zakarian said.

After the driver talked to the group, they continued on, but shortly afterward, the driver apparently changed his mind. He stopped, turned around and said the kayaking excursion was canceled.

Zakarian was dismayed. She said at 57, she didn’t know if she would get another chance to go to Kalalau Beach, a place she had been dreaming about.

She said she and her boyfriend thought they did what was right in waiting for Kuhio Highway and Haena State Park to reopen, acquiring a camping permit, paying for a kayaking trip and going through the proper channels.

The protesters, she said, “seem to think we’re here to ruin the land, and we’re not.”

“I’m totally broken-hearted,” she said. “To have them do that to us, that was devastating. I couldn’t believe it. It was horrible, what happened.”

Zakarian lived on Kauai for a few years in the mid-’80s and loved it. She said people have changed.

“Everyone was nice back then,” she said.


Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com. Bill Buley, TGI editor-in-chief, contributed to this report.

  1. DJ June 20, 2019 4:55 am Reply

    The flooding and landslides were an historic tragedy for the North Shore. I heartbroken to see the damage, and literally in tears. No one loves the North Shore more than we do. These people shouting at visitors and blocking legal entrance need to rethink what they are doing to the local economy. The businesses in Hanalei are experiencing a very real downturn in sales. Visitors go on vacation to get a break from drama, work, and see the earth’s beauty. They do not have to come to Kauai to do that. What will residents do when there are no stores, no jobs, etc? Why would police want protesters to be in charge of ticketing? How could anyone be treated fairly? It seems that protesters would take out personal vendettas on anyone they want.

  2. Ted June 20, 2019 5:53 am Reply

    Kauai really has its share of nut cases. Where were these “locals” when the problem was really bad and cars were parked all over the sides of the road.? Now something is being done to solve the problem and these loonies are out there to get attention and giving Kauai a bad name. Where is their aloha spirit?

  3. jake June 20, 2019 6:05 am Reply

    Unlawfully detaining motorists on a public roadway is a good way to end up in jail or involved in a gigantic lawsuit, especially if you cause an accident that results in injury. Be ver careful about trying to enforce and “emotional” private agenda on public property. You are already in way over your heads, legally.

  4. alien June 20, 2019 6:31 am Reply

    As it turns out it is not your land, Kauai and the earth are here for all to share. Funny to watch you sit on the side of the road a cry like little children. You are greedy and insulting just like the people who stole your culture, same same. I be laughing watching you waddle down the street chasing cars.

  5. james June 20, 2019 6:52 am Reply

    These idiots have no right to delay folks using a public road and should be cited. They are also opening themselves up to legal action for a variety of civil offenses and I hope one of the cars they forced to stop illegally sues them. Let’s call them what they are: vindictive vigilantes who don’t think other tax-paying residents of the Island have the right to come to their little paradise.

  6. CommonSenseish June 20, 2019 7:19 am Reply

    Day #3 of the same story… please find something else on this island to report about….

  7. Joe Maka June 20, 2019 7:23 am Reply

    Shame,, racist, illegal, and all done with “aloha.” I guess it’s selective aloha. The road is totally ready. The last bit of bridge work will actually help slow traffic. Visitors are the not the problem. Kaiulani is crazy. None of these people contribute to the community or solve problems. They just protest. And they think KPD will let them issue parking tickets. Might as well arm them as well. So shame. Why does KPD allow this?

  8. Steve June 20, 2019 7:23 am Reply

    Please do not give these vigilantes police powers to ticket anyone. It would be an unnecessary liability for the county. They are rude and ungrateful people acting selfishly without aloha.

  9. Joe Public June 20, 2019 8:00 am Reply

    Where are the cops? These guys are obstructing traffic and harassing motorist.

  10. UncleAina June 20, 2019 8:04 am Reply

    KPD needs to put a stop to this terroristic behavior.

    1. Debra Kekaualua June 21, 2019 9:08 am Reply

      Kpd cok, fake statesman citizen voters like most tgi commentators, u.s. militaropolitics are the “terrorists”! 125-yr war u.s.a vs HawaiianKingdom.org, oh and Kealoha ” stolen mailbox” or the “incoming missile, not a drill”, NOT an oops either, ige forgot the password. Amelika around the planet has been and isis the problem? We claiming our rightful heritage and building our legacy, NOT yours.

  11. WildSide Kine June 20, 2019 8:15 am Reply

    As someone who has spent half my life on Kauai, obviously the road was going to re-open sooner or later. Nothing wrong with asking people to drive with Aloha and slow down, but blocking roadways, placing feet on bumpers or holding signs that say “Not Accepting Visitors” is just not right. Some things are grossly exaggerated by the most quoted woman. Nothing bothers me more than people walking on the reef or driving like it’s an LA freeway, but suggesting “hundreds of people” were walking on the reef at Lumahai Monday when just a handful of cars were there, supposedly trashing the beach with litter, then suggesting two dogs were killed by speeding cars, saying there’s no parking or bathrooms when that’s simply not true… please, this kind of of rhetoric just destroys credibility and will not win you any support. Can TGI confirm these things? Otherwise printing her soundbites appears factual. Many people have paid for parking and are being respectful, but they’re being intimated to turn around. Is this how you want to treat people who are following the rules, people who love Kauai and are being respectful? Seems respect should go both ways.

  12. darth vader June 20, 2019 8:15 am Reply

    welcome to the dark side. you all making deals with the devil… the occupier government that you so strongly oppose- you now voluntarily doing their dirty work and make them money. the results of acting out on your negative emotions without thinking objectively.

    1. coolio June 21, 2019 9:38 am Reply

      That is just plain silly DARTH…

  13. DisillusionedNSPropertyOwner June 20, 2019 8:21 am Reply

    “Two of the dogs in our community were killed in the road yesterday”
    There are no bad dogs, just bad owners. Everyone should know that dogs don’t belong in the road. Letting your dog run free near any road creates a safety hazard to drivers and endangers your dog. Put your dog on a leash or be cited. And do you know who speeds in this area? It isn’t the tourists…

    “We’re out here directing traffic”. Taking the law into your own hands? Please don’t. Hold up your signs. Yell at the top of your lungs that the road isn’t safe…as if you know more than a civil engineer…just do it where you aren’t giving the NS a bad name.

    Chief Raybuck, we have been through over a year of these crazies thinking they are entitled to create and enforce their own laws in the North Shore and ignore laws that are intended to protect us all. It would only invite more neighborhood tension to enlist citizens do the work of paid police officers. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking these road blockers have anyone’s interest at heart than their own. My kid threw up in the back seat so I pull over to clean it up; you think these people will make an Aloha judgement call or write a ticket? One role of the police is to maintain peace in the community. Turning resident against resident is not a peaceful way to live. How about if we get to all approve our own building plans? Or decide for ourselves what constitutes a road safe vehicle? How about if I get to decide when the road is safe to open? Maybe we should all just paint our own speed limit signs for the speed we think is safe and ticket those who drive too fast…we already put up our own homemade No Parking signs. Citizens shouldn’t be enforcing the law as it will end up with citizens enforcing their VERSION of the law. Sound more like anarchy than civilization. I recommend civilization. The right to protest and freedom of speech, which I support, do not entitle one to harass. Physically stopping vehicles on the right of way in order to verbally assault the passengers constitutes harassment.

    Brandi, “Find a way to honor everyone who has the right to be here”. EVERYONE has the right to be here…not just locals….not just people with a Hawaii ID card. EVERYONE paid for the road. EVERYONE paid for the facilities. The law says EVERYONE can use the beaches. And I think as a NS resident I have a right to drive in to my community without being verbally or physically accosted by someone about ‘Aloha’.

  14. WildSide Kine June 20, 2019 9:04 am Reply

    As someone who has spent half my life on Kauai, obviously the road was going to re-open sooner or later. Nothing wrong with asking people to drive with Aloha and slow down, but blocking roadways, placing feet on bumpers or holding signs that say “Not Accepting Visitors” seems over the top. Some things are grossly exaggerated by the most quoted woman. Nothing bothers me more than people walking on the reef or driving like it’s an LA freeway, but suggesting “hundreds of people” were walking on the reef at Lumahai Monday when just a handful of cars were there, supposedly trashing the beach with litter, then suggesting two dogs were killed by speeding cars, saying there’s no parking at Ha’ena when that’s simply not true… please, this kind of of rhetoric just destroys credibility and will not win you any support from locals OR tourists. Can TGI confirm her quotes? Otherwise printing her soundbites appears factual. Many people have paid for parking and are being respectful, yet they’re being intimidated to turn around. Is this how you want to treat people who are following the rules, people who love Kauai and are being respectful? Seems it should go both ways, yeah?

  15. WildSide Kine June 20, 2019 9:13 am Reply

    “…but the Aunties are not allowed that. We’re out here, directing traffic.” Such a martyr. This added to her handful of overblown quotes completely lacking in facts makes me lose the respect I’d have had if they merely sat on the side of the road with the “Drive With Aloha” and “Try Slow” signs. Everyone ought to be able to get behind a peaceful message reminding people, you’re on Kauai, slow down…

  16. Major Lee Hung June 20, 2019 9:16 am Reply

    Why were the dogs hit by the allegedly speeding cars loose on the side of the road? Why is the dog in one of the pictures above not on a leash?
    Why are people allowed to stop traffic on a public road, creating a safety issue?
    These people want respect shown and laws abided yet they’re acting in the same manner that they’re accusing others of.

  17. coolio June 20, 2019 9:46 am Reply

    If we are hassled going to Haena, Will the harassing idiots still be allowed to come to Lihue?It’s my island too…If you like your feet, you will keep them off my bumper…

  18. tunataxi June 20, 2019 10:26 am Reply

    People have the right to hold signs but they do not have the right to stand in the roadway and inhibit the movement of traffic.

  19. Makani B. Howard June 20, 2019 10:27 am Reply

    These protesters have gotten out of hand. They need to get off the road or go to jail. Why don’t the police do anything. They are ruining the spirit of the island.

    Don’t expect people to come running to your aid when the floods return, Northies. You aren’t being very welcoming! The whole island helped you all, and this is how you act in return?

    You all should be placing leis on everyones necks and allowing all the people in! Shame on you!

  20. Rev Dr. Malama June 20, 2019 10:40 am Reply

    So sorry Joy, that you were “shaken “….. now magnify the feeling by 8,000,000,000 and you know how the Hawai’ian Kingdom subjects feel…. 126 years of Cultural genocide and we ain’t gonna take it anymore….
    Read and learn, then demand that the State of Hawaii give you your $$$ back, they defrauded you!

  21. coolio June 20, 2019 10:42 am Reply

    Stop wasting our police resources and GO TO THE BEACH ALREADY…be a pain in the okole over there…It’s not your place to tell me what to do on my island…

  22. Doug June 20, 2019 10:45 am Reply

    This is totally unacceptable behavior, and the Police are giving it a wink and a nod? And thinking about empowering these people to give tickets? This is a powder keg waiting to explode with someone getting hurt (probably being hit by a car). Where is our new Mayor? Why isn’t he forcing the police to do something about these vigilantes? As a resident, I am appalled at this illegal behavior.

  23. Marie June 20, 2019 10:49 am Reply

    You wanted the tourist tax dollars to repair the north shore but now ban them from getting there? That’s ridiculous. You are also hurting all the businesses that have already been hard hit with cutting off people to the area. These people all need to be ticketed for inhibiting traffic, endangering everyone involved and creating a nuisance. And by the way, were your dogs loose when they were killed? Because there is a leash law on Kauai and you are responsible for the car repairs and any injuries while your dogs are running loose.
    And if they were on a leash, why were they in the street where they could get hit?

    And by the way police do your job. Don’t support vigilantes that have their own agenda.

  24. Pearl June 20, 2019 10:58 am Reply

    They just want the tourists to throw their wallets from the airplane, not actually land and see the aina.

  25. mike June 20, 2019 11:15 am Reply

    The longer the police continue to turn a blind eye and allow “locals” (read: mostly mainland transplants who were once tourists themselves) to harass tourists , the more likely it is is that these locals will ,move on to simply assaulting tourists and their cars. Blocking traffic, jumping on cars, and screaming at tourists are all acts of violence in and of themselves. The sense of entitlement of these locals is beyond belief. They want to keep the North Shore all to themselves. They don’t want cars slowing down, they want NO cars – slow or fast, all under the guise of “protecting sacred lands” from “aggressive, selfish” tourists. It’s all a ruse to keep everyone out but themselves. Shocking anyone would fall for it, and that the police are allowing it.

  26. concierge11 June 20, 2019 1:11 pm Reply

    There’s a lot of strong feelings with the road re-opening, we knew there would be. A guest just returned from trying to go out to Lumahai for a few hours and was turned away, flipped off and told he could NOT go to Lumahai, it was for locals. He came back to the resort, re-read the community information and then came and asked me. This sucks. I understand both sides to this story- but the fact is, it’s public road and everyone is allowed to drive it and use it. He has permits for parking later in the week. How we conduct ourselves during these times says a lot about us. There’s a difference between educating and explaining things to the visitors vs. yelling, bullying and intimidating them. We know that they had to open the road, and we all know they weren’t really ready. But wow, who’s in charge now? It’s a free for all. I’ve been patient to get to go out to my favorite spots, never tried to sneak in or hitch a ride with friends, and I’m excited to get out there. I wonder if I’ll be harassed too.

  27. lawaibob June 20, 2019 1:25 pm Reply

    Why isn’t KPD arresting these guys for blocking traffic?

  28. Geckoman June 20, 2019 1:39 pm Reply

    It is the small percentage of p.o.s. visitors that ruin it for everyone.

  29. TimeForThePopo June 20, 2019 2:03 pm Reply

    How long until the Kauai County Government intercedes and arrests these idiots? Obviously they don’t have jobs. If they want to keep the road private, maybe they should fork over the $110 million that us U.S. taxpayers have expended over the past 18 months on this project for the exclusive enclave of Haena. The worst people on the North Shore are these people, not the tourists.

  30. Very confused June 20, 2019 2:36 pm Reply

    This hasn’t gotten way out of hand. I’ll be there in 6 days with my 3 young kids. We have paid for parking passes. Please let us be.

  31. Betty Ball June 20, 2019 2:52 pm Reply

    Just what we don’t need. Vigilantes harassing tourists and creating a traffic hazard. The KPD police chief should think twice before giving these people any official power.

  32. Patrick H Flores June 20, 2019 3:15 pm Reply

    Regarding the reopening of Kuhio Hwy. beyond Hanalei sure seems to have become very personal to many North Shore residents who are involved in informing visitors of the dissatisatisfaction. Law enforcement is the domain of the police agencies and not the public, it sure looks like an ugly situation is only getting uglier.If people want to keep others out of their neighborhood why don’t they pool their resources and by all the public land out their way?
    Patrick Flores, Wailua Houselots

  33. rk669 June 20, 2019 6:33 pm Reply

    Kawakami needs to get on this Pronto! KPD must be assigned to Crowd Control of this Situation NOW!

    1. JCMD June 20, 2019 11:35 pm Reply

      Do what I did. Write the Mayor at mayor@kauai.gov. The more people to flood his mailbox, the more likely there will be movement on this matter.

  34. Koloa Boy June 20, 2019 8:47 pm Reply

    Great comments! Good to know there are sensible residents out there. Living in the South Shore, it’ll be nice if some of the recreational traffic moves back up to the North Shore. It’s crowded down here.

  35. here some facts June 20, 2019 9:32 pm Reply

    they are lying. you only need a permit for the state park zone at the very end of the road. waikokos, lumahai, tunnels, pukas … don’t need a dam permit! cmon kawakami set it right.

  36. dada June 21, 2019 6:40 am Reply

    A few major problems people: racial profiling, possible identity theft, give your Hawaii ID to burned out druggies? My biggest problem when we finally go up there will be shutting up, else, I would tell them that no one, absolutely no one is coming there to see them, for sure. Feel most sorry for all the businesses up there that have taken a real hit and need to recoup…

  37. Neal Raj Mathur June 21, 2019 12:25 pm Reply

    just like the 70s…. instead of hippies go home, it’s tourists go home

  38. David July 16, 2019 6:33 pm Reply

    Sacred lands. Then, why are they living there?

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