State sets earlier closing time for Honolulu palace grounds

Officials say the grounds of the Honolulu residence of the Hawaiian monarchy will close earlier to eliminate the potential for vandalism and vagrancy

HONOLULU -- The grounds of the Honolulu palace of the Hawaiian monarchy will close earlier to eliminate the potential for vandalism and vagrancy, officials said.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources announced this week that the Iolani Palace State Monument will close at 6 p.m. starting Feb. 1, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .

Nighttime vagrancy and items, such as hypodermic needles left on the grounds, are reasons for the change, said Curt Cottrell, division administrator. Security workers currently have to wait until 11 p.m. to remove people for "illicit nighttime use," he said.

The decision to close earlier was made "to better protect the sanctity of the palace and preservation of its invaluable buildings and grounds," the department said.

The Division of State Parks consulted with the Friends of Iolani Palace, determining the earlier closing time was necessary. The Friends organization has a long-term management lease for the palace, the coronation pavilion and the barracks.

There also has been increasing vandalism over the past several years, including damage to a palace window and graffiti on historic structures, department officials said.

In February 2014, a 30-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman smashed a 130-year-old glass door and were spotted on surveillance video walking through the palace's grand hall.

In June 2017, 57-year-old Michael Aquino was indicted for breaking glass panes on three palace doors that were more than 100 years old, as well as breaking a glass door at the state Capitol.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to felony criminal property damage.


Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser,