Kamehameha Schools is eyeing a lot on what is now a Cutter auto dealership for a residential high-rise. It sits between Ward Avenue and Koula Street.
But underneath these parked cars are 11 sets of human remains discovered during an archeological survey last summer.
"I am confident they will do the pono thing," said Paulette Kaleikini a reconiozed cultural descendant.
Kaleikini took on two giants General Growth and Walmart over iwi found at their construction sites.
One lawsuit scuttled plans for Whole Foods at the Ward Village site now owned by Howard Hughes and currently occupied by TJ Maxx.
"It's has improved our relationships with the developers," Kaleikini said.
The key has been completing archeological surveys before designing projects to avoid costly lawsuits and delays.
What developers are doing now is consulting early and often.
In the case of Kamehameha schools whose beneficiares are Native Hawaiians--there are added cultural pressures.
“We did ask for additional trenching knowing this is iwi central. It is a very sensitive area." Said Kaleikini
KS planned to dig 46 trenches on what they refer to as "Block I" but then dug an additional 44 for a total of 90.
The thing about Ala Moana Blvd is that is where the shoreline used to be.
And sand is where Native Hawaiians used to bury their dead.
The fear about all this construction in the urban core is finding a mass burial site like we saw here at Queen and Punchbowl. Kaleikini recalled there were more than a thousand remains unearthed during a board of water supply project in the '90's.
Mass burials afforded more care and higher protection with preservation in place instead of being reburied somewhere else.
It’s under this marker that iwi from the Auahi area has been reinterred
Fragmented remains like what we saw were discovered on Halekauwila and more recently on Punchbowl during the rail route survey, are considered case by case.
Kaleikini said more than 60 sets of remains were found at Ward Village and also at the Waihonua project around the corner.
But its not just new highrise projects and rail that's uncovering iwi.
Kaleikini says state transportation crews recently unearthed iwi on during construction on Ala Moana Blvd which were buried in place.
"For the most part, the developers are wanting to do the pono thing and they are reaching out to everybody concerned — to descendants, the Native Hawaiian the community. They are reaching out," Kaleikini said.