Isolation Of Niihau Is Blasted
(Additional Story on Page 2)
The pall of isolation that has made Niihau a forbidden island will be torn asunder if Santor Clarence A. Crozier, Maui, has his way.
A member of a senatorial party which visited the island Tuesday, Senator Crozier did not like what he saw and promised to do something about it.
“Niihau, which has been preserved for three generations by the Robinson family as a last refuge of primitive Hawaii, is 80 years behind the times,” Senator Crozier said.
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“We are going to do something to bring the people over there up to date with the rest of the territory,” he emphasized upon his return to Honolulu today.
Senator Crozier said there are about 200 people on Niihau living under a virtually “feudal” system. He gave the following observations:
1. Communication—People have practically no communications with the outside world, he said. Only one boat travels between Niihau and Kauai. There is no landing field there.
2. Education—Mr. Crozier said he was told there are two school teachers on Niihau, but when he asked to see them, he was told that they werre busy and could not see him.
3. Religion—There is one church on Niihau and persons of all faiths attend the church, Mr. Crozier said. He termed it a “combined” religion.
4. Medical care—Mr. Crozier said he was told that there is a first aid kit on Niihau, which he did not see. He aded that if anyone becomes seriously ill or is injure, he waits for the boat to be taken to Kauai.
Niihau, until the war brought military forces to the island, had been shielded from liquor, motion pictures, radios, automobiles and other mechanical contrivances of the industrial age.
Senator Crozier conferred with Governor Stainback for about 15 minutes this morning.
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The five member senatorial committee, authorized to make the probe by the last legislature, will compile its findings soon and draw up recommendations to the next legislature.
Senator Francis H. Ii Brown of Oahu is chairman of the committee. He returned this morning with Senator Francis K. Sylva from the investigation.
Senator Sylva referred questions to Senator Brown as chairman, except to say that he hopes there will be a meeting of the committee soon to draw up the report.
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Neither Senator Crozier nor Senator Sylva would say whether the report will be made public or not before the next session of the legislature.
other members of the committee were Senator J. B. Fernandes of Kauai and Senator Charles H. Silva of Hawaii.
Senator Crozier said that Senator Eugene S. Capellas of Hawaii also accompanied the committee although he is not a member of it.
The investigation was authorized by senate resolution 64. The resolution is as follows:
“Be it resolved by the senate of the 23rd session of the legislature of the territory of Hawaii that the president of the senate do appoint a holdover committee of five members, and that upon the appointment of said committee it be, and it is hereby directed to visit Lanai and Niihau to investigate what lands, roads, schools, parks, landing facilities and other public properties or improvements are owned by the territory or the county on such islands, and the welfare of the people of such islands, and their enjoyment or deprivation of the Four Freedoms, and to report their findings and recommendations to the senate at the next session of the legislature.”
(Star-Bulletin, 7/31/1946, p. 1)