Update on the Human Remains Found on Mauna Kea

Around noon on Tuesday, July 30, a Native Hawaiian Cultural Hiking group (Huaka’i I Na ‘Aina Mauna – Those who travel or explore the High Altitude Lands) on a “huaka’i” (trip or pilgrimage with cultural, environmental and spiritual components), located human remains that may resolve the mystery of a male hiker missing since 2007.

Image from a NASA Expedition I did back in 2009

Image from a NASA Expedition I did back in 2009

The team of hikers traveling near the summit of Mauna Kea about half a mile from 13,000 foot elevation Lake Wai’au (a “wahi pana” or sacred site), came across bones scattered over an extended area. A physician among the group, Dr. Baron Kaho’ola Ching, M.D., realized the bones were not from animals known to frequent the area. Then a collar bone and pelvic bone was found, the latter included an artificial hip replacement.

When the group realized it was human remains, a Hawaiian elegy (uwe) prayer was performed for the deceased. There is hope among the Hawaiian cultural practitioners that there will eventually be a proper burial for the person and peace and closure for the family. A group member made calls notifying the authorities, who will visit the site on Friday, August 2. The remains were left undisturbed as the group continued with their huaka’i, with deeper reverence for Mauna a Wakea. The group will continue its activities on the mountain through Saturday, August 3.

A member of KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance Board of Directors was also among the cultural participants.


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