The Department of Land and Natural Resources could transfer management and maintenance responsibilities of a sacred Hawaiian burial site to Native Hawaiian organizations.   
     The Royal Mausoleum or Mauna 'Ala is on state land but concerns were raised that funding for proper upkeep of the site isn't sufficient.
     Lawmakers advanced a proposal on Tuesday that would establish a working group to study the potential transfer.
     "Many concerned people in the Hawaiian community really want to help the state because the state in their opinion, lacks the resources to really efficiently take care of Mauna 'Ala," said Senator Maile Shimabukuro.

     Groups showing interest include a number of Hawaiian Royal Societies and Kamehameha Schools.  

     The 2.7 acre site in Nu'uanu houses remains of some of Hawai'i's most well known royals, including Queen Lili'uokalani and King Kalakaua.

     Supporters of the resolution said the site's manicured landscape isn't the issue---it's the condition of gravestones and tombs.

     "Marble monuments in there have developed cracks, developed moss darkens the stone and once you let it go on too far it's really really hard to remove," said Hawaii Cemetery Research Project Director, Nanette Napoleon.
     The resolution would allow organizations to pitch in funding.

     "It's money that would be invested and the money that's returned on the investment, the monies received...could only be used for maintenance, nothing else," Napoleon explained.

Napoleon said cemeteries rely on investments to keep up with monthly maintenance demands.
      Committee members took in testimony at the State Capitol.  
       The DLNR and some members of the public were in opposition of a part of the proposal that mentions transferring the state's ownership of the site over to Hawaiian organizations.

    Kenneth Conklin wrote:

  "The public lands of the State of Hawaii belong to all the people
of Hawaii regardless of race.  We should not give away ownership of
any public lands to a racially exclusionary group"

     Lawmakers eliminated that portion of the resolution, citing legality concerns at both the state and federal level.