Maui News

Zuckerberg Decides to Drop Kauaʻi Land Lawsuits

January 27, 2017, 9:57 AM HST
* Updated January 27, 3:28 PM
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PC: Mark Zuckerberg. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Originally posted on Flikr, Presidencia de la Republica Mexicana photostream (Sept. 2014)

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has reportedly decided to drop lawsuits to acquire kuleana land on Kauaʻi’s north shore.

The announcement was reportedly made in a letter to the editor submitted by Zuckerberg to Kauai’s Garden Isle newspaper this morning.

State Representative Kaniela Ing of South Maui who Chairs the Committee on Ocean, Marine Resources and Hawaiian Affairs, responded to the news this morning saying, “I am humbled. Thousands of everyday people stood up and spoke out against one of the most influential billionaires, the best PR professionals, and the best attorneys in the world, and we won.”

“To Mark Zuckerberg,” he said, “thank you for doing the right thing and hearing our voices. You now have an opportunity to set the bar for what being a good neighbor and an ally to indigenous peoples looks like.”

Rep. Ing also thanked those who shared the story saying, “This is a major victory for Native Hawaiians and everyday folks everywhere. Remember this feeling when you feel powerless. We now know for sure that when thousands of people stand together, we win. Aloha prevailed.”

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Rep. Ing said he is looking forward to the conversations with Zuckerberg and the families involved. “I trust that we will find a fair solution that ensures Mr. Zuckerberg’s privacy and security, opens trail and beach access for everyone, and keeps Hawaiian lands in Hawaiian hands. Now that the Zuckerberg case has brought Quiet Title claims to the fore, I will continue to pursue legislation that will solve this issue once and for all,” said Rep. Ing.

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Rep. Nadine Nakamura of Kauaʻi also responded to Zuckerberg’s latest plans saying, “I would like to thank Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan for being responsible stewards of the land in Waipake, Pilaʻa. and for seeking an alternative approach to resolving Kuleana Land ownership concerns.”

Rep. Nakamura who represents the area where the property is located, as well as Hanalei, Princeville, Kilauea, Anahola, Kapaʻa and Wailua said, “Mr. Zuckerberg’s words show his diligence to be a strong and giving part of our island’s community. I thank him for his willingness to see the issue through the eyes of the island’s people and those affected. I hope that the bills before the Hawaiʻi State Legislature will help to address the ongoing concerns of Kuleana Land Rights and Quiet Title Laws and I look forward to future public discussion.”

The initial filings occurred on Dec. 30, 2016 and were detailed in a story published by the Honolulu Star Advertiser last week Wednesday.

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The story drew widespread media attention and comments in defense from Zuckerberg on his own Facebook page last week.  That was followed by a new statement on Friday from Zuckerberg via Ben LaBolt at The Incite Agency, a communications firm on the mainland in which he said he was reconsidering his actions involving his Kauaʻi land dealings.

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