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Zuck quits anti-social Hawaiian land title lawsuit

Traditional owners still have to put up the Facebook founder as a neighbour

Mark Zuckerberg has abandoned the lawsuit he hoped would let him buy Hawaiian real estate without having any actual Hawaiians as neighbours.

Instead of forcing out native Hawaiians who own land inside his Island of Kauai estate, he's going to “work with the community”.

Zuck may have taken the hint from astronomers, who have had to stall a much bigger build than a mere pleasure-palace in the face of Native Hawaiian opposition (the Thirty Meter Telescope), but instead unleashed the lawyers.

In a letter to a local newspaper, The Garden Island, Zuck and wife Priscilla Chan wrote they were ending the case.

"Upon reflection, I regret that I did not take the time to fully understand the quiet title process and its history before we moved ahead," the letter said.

In other words, he bought the land without asking his lawyers to check land title rules and later found out that traditional owners retained sufficient title to – horror of horrors! – enter their traditional lands without his permission. Instead of firing his lawyers for getting local regulations wrong, Zuckerberg set them to work against the locals.

“Now that I understand the issues better, it's clear we made a mistake,” the letter continued.

“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.”

To be fair, Zuckerberg pulled a development proposal for the land, and says “the land will be preserved with minimal development, and large portions will be maintained for farming by the community”.

El Reg imagines there'll be plenty of locals on hand to make sure that's the case. ®

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