Dr Mera Lee-Penehira has lodged a formal complaint to the Attorney General of New Zealand Hon Christopher Finlayson. She alleges that Hawai’i have had war crimes committed against them and that it is now time for the New Zealand government to right this wrong. Yesterday Dr Mera Lee-Penehira spoke with Dale Husband on Radio Waatea in this interview.
New Zealand Citizen Reports War Crimes In Hawai’i
Dr Mera Lee-Penehira, from the University of Auckland, has this week lodged a criminal complaint with Attorney General Christopher Finlayson QC, under the International Crimes and International Criminal Court Act 2000.
“The U.S. unilaterally seized the islands of Hawai‘i back in 1898 for military interests during the Spanish-American war, and have remained there as illegal occupiers ever since. This is about acknowledging and righting the wrongdoings of the U.S. in Hawai’i”, says Dr Lee-Penehira.
A recent visit from leading political scientist Dr Keanu Sai of the University of Hawai’i who met with tribal and political leaders, has brought to the fore the illegal occupation of Hawai’i, and the implications for New Zealand. He states that, “In 2001, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, acknowledged that, in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States. By virtue of the 1851 treaty between the Hawaiian Kingdom and the British Crown, as well as our connection as peoples of the Pacific, New Zealand citizens have a special relationship with Hawai‘i.”
Dr Lee-Penehira, has been to Hawai’i on a number of occasions in recent years, and last month visited Mauna a Wakea, a sacred site at the centre of contention between the U.S. government and Native Hawaiians. The planned construction of the world’s largest telescope, the TMT project, on this sacred site, has received much media attention of late and many New Zealand citizens are concerned about this issue.
Marama Davidson, member of Maori women’s political advocacy group Te Wharepora Hou states, “Protectors of Mauna a Wakea have been occupying the sacred ancestral mountain on the island of Hawai‘i for over 120 days now, to prevent the construction of this telescope. We stand in solidarity with the protectors in efforts to stop this destruction. This is a direct attack on the physical, spiritual and cultural integrity of the maunga, and the wellbeing of both the environment and people.”
In lodging the complaint Dr Lee-Penehira is invoking her right as a New Zealand citizen under the 1851 treaty, “We need to challenge everything the U.S. government does in Hawai‘i, because on the basis of law, it is quite simply wrong. The historical documentation is clear, that the Hawaiian Kingdom continues to exist under an illegal occupation by the U.S. and that the laws of occupation must be complied with. As a victim of war crimes committed in Hawai‘i, this cannot be allowed to continue to take place with impunity.”
The alleged war crimes at the centre of the complaint include both unlawful taxation by the State of Hawai‘i, and the destruction of property by the State of Hawai’i for allowing the construction of telescopes on the summit of Mauna a Wakea.
Ms Davidson supports the complaint saying, “These allegations of war crimes committed in Hawai‘i are very serious, and if true will have a profound effect on all New Zealanders as well as the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations that are ironically taking place this week in Hawai‘i. It is now incumbent on New Zealand authorities to either prove that the Hawaiian Kingdom does not exist under international law and that there is no Hawaiian-British treaty, or initiate a criminal investigation into the allegations of war crimes committed against a New Zealand citizen.”
Press Release Tuesday 14th July
Dr. Keanu Sai, political scientist from the University of Hawai‘i is visiting Aotearoa this week to meet with tribal and political leaders regarding the assertion that Hawai‘i is under an illegal occupation by the U.S. and the implications this has for Aotearoa/New Zealand. Dr. Sai states that in 1898 “the United States unilaterally seized the Hawaiian Islands for military interests during the Spanish-American War and has since maintained an illegal and prolonged occupation of Hawaii, an independent and neutral State, which has resulted in the commission of war crimes at a colossal scale”.
Receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa, Dr. Sai’s research focused on Hawai‘i’s legal and political history since the 18th century to the present, and highlighted the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i by the United States. Dr. Sai currently lectures at the University of Hawai‘i Windward Community College and does consultant work.
Te Wharepora Hou member, Dr. Mera Lee-Penehira is co-ordinating Dr. Sai’s visit, which will include meeting with student and community groups also. According to Dr. Lee-Penehira “this affords us the opportunity to greater understand the realities of the illegal occupation of Hawai‘i, as well as to reawaken ourselves to the treaty relationship between Hawai‘i and Aotearoa. This has major implications for us. Our political leadership need to take notice and be ready to inquire into the legal status of Hawai‘i under international law and its economic, political and legal implications to Aotearoa and its citizenry.”
This millennium has uncovered new understandings of what has happened in Hawai‘i. As Dr. Sai states, “In 2001, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague, acknowledged that, ‘in the nineteenth century the Hawaiian Kingdom existed as an independent State recognized as such by the United States of America, the United Kingdom and various other States.’”
However, the US continues its illegal occupation, abuse of human rights and desecration of sacred lands. Te Wharepora hou have maintained their stance of solidarity with native Hawaiian peoples who presently struggle for the continued protection of Mauna a Wakea. Dr. Lee-Penehira advises, “Protectors of Mauna a Wakea have been occupying the sacred ancestral mountain on the island of Hawai‘i for over 100 days now, to prevent the construction of the world’s largest telescope; the planned Thirty Metre Telescope (TMT) project. This is a direct attack on the physical, spiritual and cultural integrity of the maunga and the wellbeing of the Hawaiian People and the generations to come. Dr. Sai and I will be joining other supporters of Mauna a Wakea in a dawn ceremony of solidarity on Saturday morning here in Auckland.”
It is time, as Dr. Sai states, for the world to understand “the violation of human rights and war crimes that continue to take place on a grand scale whilst hidden under a cloak of deception and lies. These abuses are now coming to the forefront”.
1. Dr Mera Lee-Penehira (Aotearoa) email@example.com +64 21 478194
2. Dr Keanu Sai (Hawai‘i) firstname.lastname@example.org 00 1 808 383 6100
To the whanau, friends and community of Cindy George and her babies Pio, Teuruaa and Telyzshaun.
My family and I send you nothing but aroha and manaaki to help you all heal from this tragic and accidental loss. I am simply a mum with my own children who never wants to experience this loss that you are all bearing.
A loving mother and three beautiful babies taken suddenly is more profoundly sad than any words I can muster.
I hope all their memories are honoured with nothing but love albeit the sadness.
I don’t know if you’ll see this message. I hope you only see kind messages. We are thinking of you with broken hearts and hope that peace finds its way to your lives.
Marama and whanau xxx