Mark Zuckerberg at gay pride in San Francisco

Mark Zuckerberg at gay pride in San Francisco

Sixth-richest-man-in-the-world Mark Zuckerberg has dropped the ‘quiet title actions’ which were filed against native Hawaiian land-owners to allow him to build a wall around 700-acres of land he purchased on the surfing haven of Kauai.

The Facebook owner bought the huge chunk of land in Kauai for an estimated $100,000,000 back in 2014, before causing quite an uproar by trying to corner it off. He now says that he did not understand the issues properly when he filed the quiet title actions, and says it’s “clear we made a mistake".

Kauai is a beautiful island in the Central Pacific that is part of the Hawaiian archipelago, nicknamed ‘The Garden Isle’ thanks to the tropical rainforest and dramatic cliffs, which are some of the most beautiful in the world.

In… eerily familiar American form these days, Zuckerberg planned to build a wall around his new land, but came across some problems when doing so.

kauai napali coast aerial view from helicopter

kauai napali coast aerial view from helicopter

See, there were some partial-owners of pieces of land within Zuckerberg’s territory that he didn’t know about. This land had been passed down to the partial-owners through their families; families who had owned the parcels of land for generations.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported that next: “Zuckerberg, through several companies he controls, filed… lawsuits [called quiet titles] against a few hundred people – many living and some dead – who inherited or once owned interests in what are known as kuleana lands where ownership is often largely undocumented.

“Three Zuckerberg companies — Pilaa International LLC, Northshore Kalo LLC and High Flyer LLC — filed eight quiet title lawsuits Dec. 30 in state Circuit Court on Kauai."

It was all a bit of a mess, and there was quite a bit of anger directed towards Zuckerberg from locals and the surf community about his bid to try and corner off this piece of land and force natives away from the area.

Rory Parker, a resident of Kauai, summed it up well on The Inertia  - in a piece which you should definitely read if you're interesting in finding out more - writing: “Aloha is not a one-way street. When you’re able, as Zuckerberg most certainly is, it’s important to give more than you receive.

“He needs to meet with community leaders, demonstrate that he sees this place as a home, rather than a playground. Show that he plans on contributing to the community, rather than just taking from it. Realize that building massive walls not only provides privacy, it communicates a desire for separation."

Sunset Surfer and Paddle Board on Pacific Waves, Kauai, Hawaii Photo: iStock

Sunset Surfer and Paddle Board on Pacific Waves, Kauai, Hawaii

However, Zucks has now backed down and wrote in a letter to The Garden Island: “To find a better path forward, we are dropping our quiet title actions and will work together with the community on a new approach. We understand that for native Hawaiians kuleana are sacred and the quiet title process can be difficult. We want to make this right, talk with the community and find a better approach.

“Now that I understand the issues better, it’s clear we made a mistake."

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