March 1, 2024


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Hawaii may restrict wedding photos and videos in these parks

Hawaii may restrict wedding photos and videos in these parks

Known for its stunning mountain ranges and lush rolling valleys, Hawaii’s Windward Oahu is a scenic coastal area just 30 minutes away from Waikiki and Honolulu. But according to a recently approved bill, taking professional photographs and videos could soon be restricted there — and those who want year-round permits to do so would have to pay a hefty price. 

This past month, wedding planners and Hawaiian locals have been clashing over Bill 38, proposed legislation that would prohibit “commercial activity” in parks from Makapuu to Waimanalo, Hawaii News Now reported. It’s been passed by the Honolulu City Council and is now with the mayor pending approval

Many of the bill’s opponents in the wedding industry told Hawaii News Now that it would be a huge blow to their already struggling business model. 

“Veto bill 38!” Honolulu Wedding Group wrote in a March 29 Facebook post. “… Let’s keep creating wonderful memories for our local families and our island visitors at Waimanalo Bay!” 

However, supporters of the bill told the outlet that these types of “unregulated commercial activity” have been a source of “frustration and disrespect” to the Hawaiian community that lives in the area year-round. 

“We do understand the need for small businesses, especially out of this COVID pandemic, but we have to look at the costs and what the community is enduring,” Kukana Kama-Toth told the outlet. “The very communities that businesses come within to be able to make their profit.”

Subsequently, making memories could come at a cost. 

Per an approved version of the bill, permits for photos and special event videography such as “motion pictures or videos of weddings, graduations or similar events” would cost between $20 and $1,000. Permits would also be required for picnics exceeding 50 people, camping and certain sports events such as surfing competitions and tournaments. 

This isn’t the first attempt to regulate commercial activities at Hawaii parks. Kalepa Ridge, Wailua Falls, Hanakapiai Beach, Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park all require permits for commercial photography — and without them, offenders can receive fines or even jail time. 

According to the Hawaii Star, Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, has seen photographers on social media charter boats to photograph wedding parties along Honopu Valley’s coastline. “That is 100% illegal and culturally inappropriate,” she told the outlet. And when she attempted to talk to the photographers, she said, they threatened her. 

Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi is expected to return the bill by April 5.