HONOLULU - Vandals recently etched a series of crosses on at least three of the inside walls of Kaniakapupu, the summer palace of King Kamehameha III, in Nuuanu, according to the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Volunteers from Aha Hui Malama O Kaniakapupu have worked for 15 years to preserve this historic palace.

"Leave it alone. Don’t scratch it, don’t do anything to it, come with respect.  Criminy sakes, I don’t know where you’re coming from, but this is not a graffiti palette to do your thing.  This is important to a lot of people," said Baron Ching, vice-chairman of Aha Hui Malama O Kaniakapupu.  "This is important to the Hawaiian nation, yeah.  It’s just utter disrespect, utter disrespect.  How does it make me feel?  It makes me feel awful."

On the day Ching visited the site with Ryan Peralta of the DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife, a family spread a blanket over the top of a stone structure just outside the walls of Kaniakapupu and prepared for a photo shoot.  DLNR says even this type of activity is viewed as culturally disrespectful.

"Come with respect. There is history going back to the beginning of time in this area. Modern Hawai'i was forged in this place…inside these walls every single monarch, every single high chief or chiefess were inside these walls…and it’s entirely inappropriate to put graffiti on the walls, to move the stones around. It’s entirely inappropriate to be climbing around this place," said Ching.

A DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement (DOCARE) officer went to the site and looked over the vandalism.  DLNR officials say unless vandals are actually caught in the act of desecrating the sacred site, it's difficult to identify them and, subsequently, cite them.

DLNR also says social media sites have potentially exacerbated the vandalism by failing to point out that Kaniakapupu is closed to visitation and no one should be in the area.  Anyone who witnesses or has knowledge of vandalism to any historical or cultural site in Hawaii is encouraged to call the statewide DOCARE Hotline at 643-DLNR.

Within the past month, vandals also etched marks on the walls underneath the newly-restored fence surrounding Iolani Palace.  The day after lei was draped over the statue of Kamehameha I across from Iolani Palace celebrating Kamehameha Day, many of the lei were removed and strewn over the lawn.