The city has granted a permit for a large gathering at Kualoa Regional Park Sunday for the loose-knit group Kia‘i Convoy that wants to bring more public awareness to the conflict at Mauna Kea and other recent “aloha aina” issues.

Preceding the gathering, a convoy of vehicles is scheduled to travel from East Kapolei via H-1 and H-2 freeways through Wahiawa, the Joseph P. Leong Highway, and then back on Kamehameha Highway around the North Shore to Kualoa, said coordinator Jamie Rodrigues.

No permit was sought or issued for the convoy, but the procession will obey traffic laws and does not intend to disrupt highways and thoroughfares along the route, Rodrigues said Friday.

Between 200 and 300 vehicles are anticipated, with participants asked to show up at a gathering point along Kualakai Parkway near the Ka Makana Alii shopping complex by 8 a.m. for a briefing, Rodrigues said.

The plan is for the convoy to leave at 9 a.m. and arrive at Kualoa in time for the start of a program that is scheduled for 11 a.m. to
4 p.m. and will involve hula, protocol, mele and education, she said. There also will be a voter registration area and a petition gathering signatures for the Aloha Aina Party, she said.

The gathering permit issued by the city put the estimated attendance at 700.

City spokesman Andrew Pereira said fees normally charged for a gathering that size were waived because the event is being described as a First Amendment free speech activity. The permit does stipulate that organizers will be responsible for cleanup after the gathering. The group also will be responsible for any loss, damage or injury to people and property. No sale of goods or services will be allowed.

Rodrigues and others involved in planning Sunday’s events also organized a similar convoy Sept. 8 that went from Hawaii Kai to Maili.

For that event, which
involved several hundred vehicles, organizers obtained a permit from both state and city transportation agencies for a procession. That meant the convoy was escorted by Honolulu police officers, who closed off one lane for the participants and blocked off roads, intersections and freeway on-ramps as deemed necessary.

That’s not happening this time, Rodrigues said. While the last convoy was effective in getting out the group’s message, the road closures caused “discomfort” to some in the
community.

“We will be following regular traffic laws,” she said. The group wants to disrupt traffic as little as possible. That’s why the event is planned for early morning on the Sunday of a three-day weekend, she said. “We’re trying to be considerate of the time and the space.”

The Honolulu Police
Department, in a statement, said the agency learned of Sunday’s event via social media. “We … will be monitoring traffic along the route on Sunday morning,” the statement said. “Drivers in the area are asked to use caution and expect heavy traffic.”

Pereira said while the group did not approach the city about a convoy or motorcade permit, “if they had, it would likely have been denied due to health and safety concerns.”

Rodrigues said neighborhood boards from the North Shore to Kaneohe were informed about the event and the planned route. “They understood and we thought it was
appropriate to move
forward.”

She described Kia‘i Convoy as “a grassroots, little hui of us who believe a convoy is an effective way to get people to participate.” While it was conceived by people on Oahu seeking to show their support for those battling the TMT telescope atop Mauna Kea, there are other issues that the Kia‘i Convoy want to bring more attention to and educate the public about, she said.

Those include the growing public opposition to the planned operations of a wind farm in Kahuku, the city’s proposal for play fields at Waimanalo’s Sherwood Forest, development on Kauai that threaten
Hawaiian salt ponds, and proposed commercial development at Shark’s Cove on Oahu’s North Shore.

The common thread of all the others is that they are “about aloha aina,” issues involving threats to the land and ocean, Hawaiian culture and the physical and emotional well-
being of people generally, she said.

“My definition of aloha aina is when it affects the people in any type of way, whether it affects our water or anything to do with aina, that’s all encompassing,” Rodrigues said. “We believe that we, the people, are a part of our land and our land is part of us. It’s about protecting our land, who we are, and all of our resources.”