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Kalipi v. Hawaiian Trust Company

656 P.2d 745 (1982)

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Kalipi v. Hawaiian Trust Company

Hawaii Supreme Court

656 P.2d 745 (1982)

Facts

The Hawaiian Trust Company, Ltd. (the trust) (defendant) refused to allow William Kalipi (plaintiff) to gather natural items from a parcel of undeveloped land owned by the trust. Kalipi wanted to gather the items for use in traditional Hawaiian practices. The trust’s land was located in an ahupuaa, a region of land with boundaries based on ancient tribal ownership. Kalipi had grown up in the same ahupuaa as the trust’s land, but he had later moved to a different ahupuaa. The trust claimed that its fee-simple ownership allowed it to exclude people from its land. Kalipi argued that Hawaiian law recognized (1) a general right to continue Hawaiian customs and (2) a specific right to continue the custom of gathering specific natural items from the land in an ahupuaa. A jury found for the trust and dismissed Kalipi’s claims. Kalipi appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Richardson, C.J.)

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