Camille Leihulu on TikTok

Camille Leihulu/TikTok

‘DON’T DO IT’: Native Hawai’ian TikToker calls out tourists for going on famous Haʻikū Stairs

'I've never been up these stairs ... and I never will because I have respect for Hawai'i and my homelands.'

 

Stacy Fernandez

Internet Culture

Published Nov 24, 2021   Updated Nov 24, 2021, 10:01 am CST

Hawai’ian TikToker Camille Leihulu called out a popular travel TikToker and her friends for trespassing stairs that have been closed to the public for years, but still attract trespassers.

In the dueted video, Leihulu is seen stern-faced while shaking her head while another TikToker’s video shows her and her friends climbing the stairs and admiring a rainbow in the distance.

“Full circle rainbow on stairway to heaven… can’t top,” the caption of the original video read.

Leihulu explained that Haʻikū Stairs, also known as the “Stairway to Heaven,” have closed to hikers since 1987. She added that Hawaiians and island residents “pay thousands in taxes to rescue people who get stuck up there.”

The metal stairs are a steep structure comprised of nearly 4,000 steps alongside the island of O’ahu. It was created to give pedestrians access to the former U.S. Navy communication facilities on the island. While the pathway has been used as a hiking trail by tourists and locals, it’s no longer open to the public. Last month the city council unanimously voted to remove the stairs.

“Due to rampant illegal trespassing, Haiku Stairs is a significant liability and expense for the city, and impacts the quality of life for nearby residents,” councilmember Esther Kiaʻāina, who authored the resolution, told CNN affiliate Hawaii News Now.

Those caught trespassing face a fine up to $1,000.

“Why do outsiders get to blatantly ignore laws and rules and do as they please without facing any repercussions or acknowledging the consequences that Hawaiians have to deal with as a result of their actions?” Leihulu said

The viral TikTok has more than 1.1 million views on the video-sharing platform. In the caption, Leihulu added that while @sofmcmillan acknowledged “it’s an old video,” it’s important to bring awareness to the issue because of the thousands of others who’ve gone up the stairs and will continue to.

“DON’T DO IT,” she stated.

@camilleslagle

#duet with @sofmcmillan yes, she acknowledged it’s an old video, but think of the thousands more who’ve done this. DON’T DO IT. #hawaii

♬ original sound – AntiNightcore

“I’ve never been up these stairs to see this view, and I never will because I have respect for Hawai’i and my homelands,’ Leihulu said in the video.

People in the comments were divided with some invalidating Leihulu’s concerns telling her to “just go climb the stairs” and others thanked her for bringing attention to the issue.

“The people definitely the tourists in these comments are wild. Native Hawai’ians have to deal with so much ignorance from tourists including this,” one commenter said.

“People can say ‘y’all complain about everything’ all they want but YES WE DO WHEN IT AFFECTS US,” another wrote.

The Daily Dot reached out to Camille Leihulu and @sofmcmillan via TikTok comment.

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*First Published: Nov 24, 2021, 9:25 am CST