Monday, April 30, 2012

Waikīkī Historic Trail

George Kanahele designed the Waikīkī Historic Trail, a walking tour that traces the history and cultural legacy of this area where chiefs and commoners once lived.

It is seen as a way to enhance awareness of Waikīkī both as a sacred place to Hawaiians and a huge part of Hawaii’s history.

Bronze cast trail markers in the shape of surfboards (designed by Charlie Palumbo) describe a Waikīkī that few knew existed. Once part swamp, part playground for Hawaiian royalty, Waikīkī was for centuries a center of Hawaiian hospitality and seat of Oahu’s government.  Following are brief descriptions of the sites along the trail.

Stewards of the trail are the folks from Native Hawaiian Hospitality Association (NaHHA.)  Waikīkī Improvement Association supports and promotes the trail.

More information on the trail is available at: (the virtual tour on the website gives you a lot more background information on each site)

Marker 1 (Kapiʻolani/Waikīkī Beach)
This section of Waikīkī Beach contains four distinct areas: Outrigger Canoe Club (founded in 1908,) Sans Souci (1890s,) Kapi’olani Park and Queen’s Surf (demolished in 1971.)

Marker 2 – (Kapahulu groin)
From ancient times Waikīkī has been a popular surfing spot – it’s one of the reasons chiefs of old make their homes and headquarters in Waikīkī for hundreds of years (he‘e nalu, surfing.)

Marker 3 (Ala Wai/Lili‘uokalani Site)
Waikīkī served as a marshy drainage basin for the Koʻolau Mountain Range; in 1927, the Ala Wai Canal reclaimed the land for the development of today’s hotels, stores and streets. Here was Queen Lili’uokalani’s home, the last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai’i.

Marker 4 (Kuhio Beach)
This stretch of beach (from the Kapahulu groin to the Beach Center) is Kuhio Beach Park. It is named for Prince Jonah Kuhio Kalaniana’ole, Hawaii’s second Delegate to the United States Congress (1902-1922.)

Marker 5 (Kuhio Beach)
Duke Paoa Kahanamoku statue - Duke was known as the “Father of International Surfing;” he introduced surfing to the Eastern Seaboard of America, Europe and Australia.  He has been recognized as Hawaii’s Ambassador of Aloha since 1962.

Marker 6 (Kuhio Beach)
The Healing Stones of Kapaemahu statue  These stones were placed here in tribute to four soothsayers with famed healing powers, Kapaemahu, Kahaloa, Kapuni and Kinohi, who came from Tahiti to Hawaii in the 16th century.

Marker 7 (King’s Alley Entrance)
King David Kalakaua (1836-1891) had a residence here, in Uluniu, in the late-1800s; it was a two-story, frame structure, situated in a grove of towering, very old coconut trees. The house was big enough for hosting large parties, which he was fond of giving.

Marker 8 (‘Ainahau Park/Triangle)
Nani wale ku’u home ‘Ainahau I ka ‘iu - So beautiful is my home ‘Ainahau in a paradise.  These are the words from a popular song honoring ‘Ainahau (“land of the hau tree”), once described as “the most beautiful estate in the Hawaiian Islands.”

Marker 9 (International Marketplace, Under Banyan Tree)
King William Kanaʻina Lunalilo (1835-1874), the first elected king in Hawaiian history, had a summer residence here in the area known as Kaluaokau. Here he enjoyed “the quiet life of Waikīkī and living simply on fish and poi with his native friends.”

Marker 10 (Courtyard, next to Banyan Tree, Moana Hotel Restaurant)
The first hotels in Waikīkī were bathhouses, which began to offer rooms for overnight stays in the 1880s.  The Moana Hotel, the “First Lady of Waikīkī,” which opened in  1901, established Waikīkī as a resort destination.

Marker 11 (Next to Patio, Duke’s Restaurant)
Overlooking favored surf spot for some of Waikīkī’s famed beach boys. This elite group got their start sometime in the 1930s when the first Waikīkī Beach Patrol was organized.  They have been called “Waikīkī’s ambassadors,” serving the needs of royalty, Hollywood celebrities, and the general public alike.

Marker 12 (Back Lawn, Royal Hawaiian Hotel)
The royal coconut grove known as Helumoa once stood here, nearly 10,000 trees.  Kamehameha the Great and his army camped as they began their conquest of O’ahu in 1795. They returned victorious from the battles in Nu’uanu Valley and made Waikīkī the first capital of the Kingdom of Hawai’i.

The Royal Hawaiian Hotel or “The Pink Palace” was completed in 1927 and was touted as the “finest resort hostelry in America.”

Marker 13 (Beach, Next to Outrigger Reef Hotel)
From olden times Waikīkī was viewed not only as a place of peace and hospitality, but of healing.
One of Waikīkī’s places of healing was this stretch of beach fronting the Halekulani Hotel called Kawehewehe (or the removal). The sick and the injured came to bathe in the kai, or waters of the sea.

Marker 14 (Next to U.S. Army Museum)
On this site stood the villa of Chun Afong, Hawaiʻi’s first Chinese millionaire, who arrived in Honolulu in 1849.  He was the inspiration for Jack London’s famous story, “Chun Ah Chun.”  In 1904 the US Army Corps of Engineers purchased the property to make way for the construction of Battery Randolph and the no-longer-extant Battery Dudley to defend Honolulu Harbor from foreign attack.

Marker 15 (Kālia Road)
In 1897, Waikīkī’s largest fish pond (13-acres,) the Kaʻihikapu, was here. All of today’s Fort DeRussy on the mauka (toward the mountain) side of the road was covered with fishponds (growing mostly ‘ama’ama or mullet and awa or milkfish.) in 1908, the US military acquired 72 acres of land and started draining it in 1908 to build Fort DeRussy.

Marker 16 (Paoa Park)
Olympic swimming champion Duke Kahanamoku (1890-1968) spent much of his youth here in Kalia with his mother’s family the Paoas. The family owned much of the 20 acres which the Hilton Hawaiian Village now occupies; they grew their own taro and sweet potatoes and fished for seaweed, squid, shrimp, crab, lobster and varieties of fish.

Marker 17 (Patio of Ilikai Hotel)
The Pi’inaio was Waikīkī‘s third stream which entered the sea here where the Ilikai Hotel stands.  Unlike the Kuekaunahi and ‘Apuakehau streams, the mouth of the Pi’inaio was a large muddy delta intersected by several small tributary channels.

Marker 18 (Diamond Head Corner of Entrance to Ala Moana Park)
In the late 1800s, Chinese farmers converted many of Waikīkī’s taro and fishponds into duck ponds. This area, including the Ala Moana Shopping Center, was covered with duck farms.  In 1931, the City and County of Honolulu decided to clean up the waterfront.  The new Moana Park was dedicated by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934.

Marker 19 (Ala Wai Canal Side of Hawai’i Convention Center)
Ala Wai (freshwater way) Canal was at the heart of Waikīkī Reclamation Project launched in the early 1900s to “reclaim a most unsanitary and unsightly portion of the city.” With the canal’s completion in 1928, the taro and rice fields, the fish and duck ponds, vanished.  Begun in 1996, the Hawai’i Convention Center is the largest public building of its kind in Hawai’i.

Marker 20 (Near Corner of Ala Moana and Kalakaua Avenue)
This green expanse in the middle of Waikīkī is Fort DeRussy.  It was started in 1908 as a vital American bastion of defense, but today it serves as a place of recreation and relaxation for U.S. military personnel and their families.

Marker 21 (Intersection of Kuhio and Kalakaua Avenue)
Kalākaua Statue at Kalākaua Park, intersection of Kalākaua and Kūhiō Avenues. Kalākaua was the first king in history to visit the United States; he was often referred to as "The Merry Monarch" and was fond of old Hawaiian customs.  Kalākaua died while on a trip to San Francisco on January 20, 1891.

Marker 22 (Hilton Hawaiian Village)
Ali'i (royalty) from all points came to Kālia to enjoy great entertainment along with lavish banquets with the freshest fish and shrimp from the largest fishponds in all the Hawaiian Islands. Here once stood the gracious Niumalu (coconut shade) Hotel; today, the Hilton Hawaiian Village continues the rich heritage of Kālia with a tradition of ho'okipa (hospitality.)

Marker 23 (Hilton Hawaiian Village)
In ancient Hawaii, the "Kālia" area where the Hilton Hawaiian Village is located was once swampland. Early Hawaiian farmers converted the marshes into ponds, lo'i, rich with taro, the staple food of the Hawaiian people. The Kālia area was also known for its abundant fishing grounds. It was also a favorite playground for the Ali'i (royalty).

In addition, I have posted images at each of the markers and expanded discussion about each site in the Photos section of my Facebook page.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kilauea Iki Eruption - 1959

Visitors to Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park and its “Devastation Trail” may not know how/when that devastation happened.

The eruption of Kilauea Iki in November 1959 turned once lush fern forest into a ‘wasteland’ of lava and cinder.

Now, a walkway allows you to walk through the devastation.

During the eruption, fountains of molten lava shot up as high as 1,900-feet tall from the eruptive rifts – 3 times the height of the Washington Monument.

Pumice buried the lush forest, which is preserved on the eastern side of Devastation Trail.  On the west side of the trail is the sterile, moon-like devastation surface of pumice.

The eruption deposited and piled up the pumice and cinders into a large mound.

A few ōhi‘a trees, dead and bleached, poke up through the pumice and very gradually some ōhi’a, ōhelo and ferns are beginning to recolonize the dead zone (unfortunately, some blackberry, too.)

While the images of the eruption are spectacular, to really “feel” the power you need to hear the raw force of Hawaiʻi’s volcanoes.

Unfortunately, these old photos/videos do not have audio linked to them.

When we were kids, living on O‘ahu, whenever the eruption happened, we’d go to the Big Island to see it, including the 1959 eruption of Kilauea Iki.

Primal Force is the name on a Kilauea eruption.  It’s that and memorable.

Here are a couple an old video clips of the 1959 Kilauea Iki eruption I found on YouTube …  no audio.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Boyd/Irwin/Hedemann House

It’s in Maunawili and is referred to as the Boyd/Irwin/Hedemann house, due to the subsequent list of owners of the property.

Major Edward Boyd and his wife bought the land in 1869, it served as their estate.

Sugar baron William G. Irwin next purchased the estate in 1893, starting up a coffee mill, there. 

C. Brewer owned the estate in the 1920s and 1930s, using it as a retreat.  Kāne‘ohe Ranch bought it in 1941, when the military used it as a headquarters and rest area.

Even the Girl Scouts used it as a camp in the late-1940s.

The Hedemann family was the last to live there, until 1985, when the estate was purchased by a Japanese investor, who developed much of the surrounding area as the Luana Hills Country Club.

Since 2000, the property has been owned by HRT Ltd., the for-profit arm of the Jeanette and Harry Weinberg Foundation.

Why is it important?

The property is also referred to as the Queen’s Retreat.

King David Kalākaua and his sister, Lili‘uokalani, attended parties or simply came here to rest.

Guests would walk between two parallel rows of royal palms, farewells would be exchanged, then they would ride away on horseback or in their carriages.

Lili‘uokalani wrote “Aloha ‘Oe” after an 1878 visit to the estate.

When leaving, she witnessed a particularly affectionate farewell between a gentleman in her party and a lovely young girl from Maunawili.

As they rode up the Pali and into the swirling winds, she started to hum this melody weaving words into a romantic song.  The Queen continued to hum and completed her song as they rode the winding trail down the valley back to Honolulu.

Uninhabited since about 1985, the structures and grounds of the estate are rapidly being destroyed and absorbed by the rain forest of Maunawili.

In 2005, Historic Hawai‘i Foundation put it on its Most Endangered list – the property may be lost due to lack of maintenance.

I had a chance to visit the site a few years ago.  It brought back old memories.  I had visited it many times before.

As a kid, I used to go to school with the Hedemanns and visited their home several times, decades ago.  Back then, I never knew what the place was all about; it was merely the Hedemann’s house.

When I saw the property, again, a few years ago, I learned the stories of the place.  I had a chance to see the palm-lined walkway leading to the house.

This is a very special place.

I am hopeful that the property can be maintained and access made public, so people can see and feel what inspired the Queen to write Aloha ‘Oe.

The picture is the handwritten music and lyrics to Aloha ‘Oe, in Hawaiian and English – this is Queen Lili‘uokalani’s handwriting.  (Hawai‘i State Archives.)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Fort Kekuanohu (Fort at Honolulu)

Russians arrived in Hawaii in 1804 on ships associated with the Russian-American Fur Trading Company stationed at what is now Sitka, Alaska, to obtain fruit, vegetables and meat.

During this timeframe, Hawai‘i served as an important provisioning site for traders, whalers and others crossing the Pacific.

On O‘ahu, in 1815, Kamehameha I granted Russian representatives permission to build a storehouse near Honolulu Harbor.

But, instead, directed by the German adventurer Georg Schaffer (1779-1836,) they began building a fort and raised the Russian flag.

They built their blockhouse near the harbor, against the ancient heiau of Pākākā and close to the King’s complex.  There are reports that the Russians used stones from Pākākā in building their facility.

As a side note, Pākākā was the site of Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i’s negotiations relinquishing power to Kamehameha I, instead of going to war, and pledged allegiance to Kamehameha, a few years earlier in 1810.

When Kamehameha discovered the Russians were building a fort (rather than storehouses) and had raised the Russian flag, he sent several chiefs, along with John Young (his advisor,) to remove the Russians from Oʻahu by force, if necessary.

The Russian personnel judiciously chose to sail for Kaua‘i instead of risking bloodshed.  On Kaua‘i, there they were given land by Kaua‘i’s King Kaumuali‘i; the Russian Fort Elizabeth was built soon after on Kaua‘i.

The partially built blockhouse at Honolulu was finished by Hawaiians under the direction of John Young and mounted guns protected the fort.

Its original purpose was to protect Honolulu by keeping enemy or otherwise undesirable ships out.  But, it was also used to keep things in (it also served as a prison.)

By 1830, the fort had 40 guns mounted on the parapets all of various calibers (6, 8, 12 and probably a few 32 pounders.)  Fort Kekuanohu literally means ‘the back of the scorpion fish,’ as in ‘thorny back,’ because of the rising guns on the walls.  In 1838 there were 52 guns reported.

The fort protected Honolulu Harbor and also housed a number of administrative functions, including many years of service as Honolulu’s police headquarters.  The first courts of the islands were held here until a new courthouse was built in 1853, adjacent to the fort.

Barracks, Officers' quarters, the Governor's House, prison cells, a guardhouse and several powder magazines were inside the 340-by-300-foot long, 12-foot high and 20-foot thick walls.  The main entrance faced mauka, up Fort Street.

The fort’s massive 12-foot walls were torn apart and the fort dismantled in 1857 and used to fill the harbor to accommodate an expanding downtown.

Fort Street is one of the oldest streets in Honolulu and is named after this fort.  Today, the site of the old fort is the open space called Walker Park, a small park at the corner of Queen and Fort streets (also fronting Ala Moana/Nimitz.)

The image is a drawing by Choris in 1816, looking into Honolulu Harbor (it is the walled complex in the center of the image.)  (I have also placed several other images of Fort Kekuanohu (Fort Honolulu) in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Cemetery Pupu Theatre at Oʻahu Cemetery - June 15-16; 22-23

Founded in 1844, O‘ahu Cemetery is Hawaii's oldest public graveyard.  Over the years, O‘ahu Cemetery has become the permanent residence of hundreds of prominent history makers.

Located on 18-acres in lower Nu‘uanu Valley, near downtown Honolulu, O‘ahu Cemetery is a "classic" example of an early American "rural" cemetery, distinguished by a park-like setting, and an eye-catching array of ornately carved tombstones.

Hawaiian Mission Houses is bringing back Cemetery Pupu Theater - actors dressed in period costume telling the life events of select individuals buried at O‘ahu Cemetery - at their respective grave sites.  There was nothing ghoulish about it; rather, it was very effective storytelling.

$60 per person - includes drinks and pupu, seating limited, RSVP required.  Click here to make your reservation:

We went last year and are already signed up for this one – I suggest you do too.  This is waaay cool; lots of fun and a good learning experience.

Portrayed in the June Hawaiian Mission Houses Cemetery Pupu Theater program will be:

John Papa I‘i (1800-1870)
John Papa Ii was a leading citizen of the Hawaiian kingdom during the nineteenth century. Born in 1800 and raised under the traditional kapu system, I‘i was trained from earliest childhood for a life of service to the high chiefs.

Ii served as a general superintendent of O'ahu schools and was an influential member in the court of Kamehameha III. He was appointed by the king to the Treasury Board; was a member of the Privy Council; Board of Land Commissioners and was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of Hawai‘i .

Cherilla Lowry (1861 - 1917)
Cherilla Lowry founder and first president of the Outdoor Circle (TOC) (100-years ago) whose mission was to “Keep Hawai‘i clean, green and beautiful.” Twenty-two Monkeypod trees were planted in A‘ala Park as the organization’s first tree planting project.

Through its mission, much of TOC’s activities strive to educate youth and local citizens about environmental issues that concern the preservation and conservation of Hawai’i’s natural resources, including planting trees, beautifying parks and public areas including parks, streets, playgrounds and schools and bicycle paths.

Eliab Grimes (1780–1848)
Captain Eliab Grimes, a native of Massachusetts, was a Honolulu merchant of many years and operated with his nephew Hiram, as the firm E & H Grimes.  Eliab Grimes persuaded John Sinclair to occupy the Rancho Del Paso (a 44,371-acre Mexican land grant in present day Sacramento County, California)  until such time as he (Grimes) could take legal title to it.

In 1844, Eliab Grimes received the official land grant. Over the next four years, Grimes and Sinclair, raised cattle and harvested wheat on the property.  Grimes, who subsequently became an important trader and political figure in San Francisco, died in 1848

Lucy Thurston (1795 – 1876)
Asa Thurston (1787–1868) and Lucy Goodale Thurston were in the first company of American Christian Missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands.  Lucy Goodale Thurston voyaged to the Hawaiian Islands in 1820 intent on bringing the word of God to its inhabitants.  During the next fifty years she raised a family, dealt with tragedy and helped to change the future of Hawaii forever.

The Thurstons, unlike most missionary couples, spent most of the rest of their lives in the islands.  Lucy compiled her letters and other writings into one of the most vivid accounts of the early mission days.  She underwent a mastectomy without anesthetic in 1855.  She died on October 13, 1876 in Honolulu.

Lorrin Andrews (1795–1868)
Lorrin Andrews was an early American missionary to Hawaii and judge.   In June 1831 the mission hoped to establish a seminary on Maui, since it was somewhat centrally located among the Hawaiian Islands. Andrews was selected to run the school called Lahainaluna for "upper Lahaina".

On September 5, 1831 classes began in thatched huts with 25 married Hawaiian young men. It was the first college west of the Rocky Mountains.  His students published the first newspaper and were involved in the first case of counterfeiting currency in Hawaiʻi. He later served as a judge and became a member of Hawai‘i's first Supreme Court.

Please also consider visiting the Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives (on King Street, adjoining Kawaiaha‘o Church.)  I am honored and proud to have been recently elected to serve on the Missions Houses Board of Trustees.

Kalawao – Hawai‘i’s 5th County

Kalawao, encompassing the Kalaupapa Peninsula (also known as the Makanalua Peninsula,) is midway along the North Shore of Moloka‘i.

Archaeological evidence suggests the earliest settlers in the peninsula probably lived in the Waikolu Valley in the A.D. 1100-1550 timeframe.  At that time, people had been living in the windward Hālawa Valley for hundreds of years.

The Kalaupapa Peninsula, however, was probably not occupied until slightly later, perhaps around 1300-1400 A.D.

On the peninsula where it is dry and there are no permanent streams, people built field walls to protect crops like sweet potato (‘uala) from the northeast tradewinds.  The remnant field walls can be seen from the air as one arrives at Kalaupapa Airport.

In wetter areas near the base of the cliffs, people built garden terraces.  True pond field agriculture may have only been practiced in the Waikolu Valley or at the mouth of the Waihanau Valley.

The first peoples of Kalaupapa also collected marine resources along the shore, the reef, and offshore except when strong winter storms prevented it.  People visited other parts of the island both by canoe and by trail over the cliffs.

In 1905, the Territorial Legislature passed a law that formed the basis of modern government in Hawaii, the County Act, forming local County governance.

While we easily recognize the four main Counties in Hawai‘i: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i; we often overlook the County of Kalawao, Hawai‘i’s 5th County (encompassing the Kalaupapa Peninsula and surrounding land.)

The four main Counties are governed by elected County Councils.  Kalawao is under the jurisdiction of the state's Health Department; the director of Health serves as the Kalawao County ‘Mayor.’

State law, (HRS §326-34) states that the county of Kalawao consists of that portion of the island of Moloka‘i known as Kalaupapa, Kalawao and Waikolu, and commonly known or designated as the Kalaupapa Settlement, and is not a portion of the County of Maui, but is constituted a county by itself.

This area was set aside very early on as a colony for sufferers of Hansen's disease (leprosy.)  The isolation law was enacted by King Kamehameha V; at its peak, about 1,200 men, women and children were in exile at Kalaupapa.

The first group of Hansen's disease patients was sent to Kalawao on the eastern, or windward, side of the Kalaupapa peninsula on January 6, 1866.

The forced isolation of people from Hawaiʻi afflicted with Hansen's disease to the remote Kalaupapa peninsula lasted from 1866 until 1969.

This is where Saint Damien and Blessed Marianne Cope (to be canonized October 12, 2012) spent many years caring for the lepers. 

On January 7, 1976, the “Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement” was designated a National Historic Landmark to include 15,645 acres of land and waters.

On April 1, 2004, the NPS renewed its cooperative agreement with the State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health for an additional twenty years, entitled “Preservation of Historic Structures, Kalaupapa.”  The NPS is maintaining utilities, roads and non-medical patient functions and maintenance of historic structures within the park.

Access to Kalaupapa is severely limited.  There are no roads to the peninsula from “topside” Molokaʻi. Land access is via a steep trail on the pali (sea cliff) that is approximately three miles long with 26 switchbacks.

Air taxi service by commuter class aircraft provides the main access to Kalaupapa, arriving and departing two to four times a day, weather permitting.

Mail, freight, and perishable food, arrive by cargo plane on a daily basis.  The barge brings cargo from Honolulu to Kalaupapa once a year, during the summer months when the sea is relatively calm.

While at DLNR, I had the opportunity to visit Kalaupapa on two occasions: once on a visit to the peninsula to review some of its historic buildings, the other as part of a planning retreat/discussion with the National Park Service.

The image is art done by Edward Clifford of the Kalaupapa Settlement in the 1880s.  In addition, I have added additional images of Kalawao - Kalaupapa in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Honolulu Zoo Children's Discovery Forest

The Hawaiʻi Forest Industry Association (HFIA), Hawaiʻi Forest Institute (HFI) and community partners are planning the Honolulu Zoo Children's Discovery Forest, which will be created at the Honolulu Zoo in Waikīkī on Oʻahu.

The project site is near the zoo entrance and adjacent to the future site of a Native Hawaiian Village. The Discovery Forest will be a representation of natural systems, creating a scene of Hawai'i before the arrival of humans.

The exhibit will be designed to demonstrate culturally significant Hawaiian plant species, the significance of place, and the kuleana of mālama ʻāina (responsibility to care for the land) by integrating traditional Hawaiian forest ecosystems, forest stewardship opportunities, and innovative land-based education for residents and visitors.

The Discovery Forest will reconnect urban visitors with the Hawaiian forest through three demonstration zones: strand vegetation, dryland mesic forest species, and Polynesian-introduced species and cultivars.

The Discovery Forest will be a place that serves as an ongoing outdoor educational setting in which visitors will learn about the importance of the sustainability of native and Polynesian plantings within a framework of Hawaiian cultural values.

The vision is one in which the vast cultural, natural and historical attributes of Hawaii's endemic and indigenous coastal flora and geology is shared, demonstrating the bond that must be formed between people and 'āina if both are to thrive.

HFIA was recently awarded a Hawai'i Tourism Authority (HTA) Natural Resources Program grant, administered by the Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA), for the Discovery Forest.

Other project partners include Paepae o Heʻeia, Conservation Council of Hawaiʻi, Scenic Hawaii, Inc., Mānoa Heritage Center, Kualoa-Heʻeia Ecumenical Youth Project (KEY Project), Polynesian Voyaging Society and O'ahu Resource Conservation & Development Council.

"We extend our mahalo to community partners, HTA and the CNHA for recognizing the importance of helping visitors, island students and kamaʻaina expand their appreciation for Hawaiʻi's forest ecosystems," said HFIA Executive Director Heather Simmons.

"Through the Honolulu Zoo Discovery Forest, we have an opportunity to promote forest awareness and significance to thousands of people."

I am proud and honored to serve on the Board of Directors of the Hawai‘i Forest Institute.

Origin Of Holokū and Mu‘umu‘u

In pre-contact Hawaii, the predominant form of dress for women was the pā‘ū.

This consisted of a rectangular piece of kapa (or tapa, which was fabricated from the inner bark of wauke (paper mulberry) trees) that was wrapped several times around the waist and extended from beneath the bust (for royalty) or the waistline (for commoners) to the knee (it looked like a hula skirt.)

After contact (and particularly in the early-1800s with the start of the sandalwood trade in 1810 and then the whaling industry,) fabrics made of silk, satin and gingham began to replace the kapa fabric for the pa‘u.  This was especially true among the Ali'i.

An even more important change in dress began in the 1820s with the coming of the New England missionaries, who sought to cover the bodies of Hawaiian women, who traditionally wore nothing more than the skirt.

The missionary wives modified their New England-style dresses to adapt to the hot, humid environment.  They replaced the high waistline of Western fashion with a yoke.

The end result was a basic design (referred to as a “Mother Hubbard”) which was simply a full, straight skirt attached to a yoke with a high neck and tight sleeves.

The missionaries established women's societies that advanced the notion of modesty.

The diaries of missionary women report that Hawaiian women who had been Christianized adopted the holokū as daily dress by 1822 and it became standard dress of all Hawaiian women as early as 1838.

“All the women wore the native dress, the sack or holokū, many of which were black, blue, green, or bright rose color, some were bright yellow, a few were pure white, and others were a mixture of orange and scarlet.”  Isabella Bird 1894

“At first the holokū, which is only a full, yoke nightgown, is not attractive, but I admire it heartily now, and the sagacity of those who devised it.”

“It conceals awkwardness, and befits grace of movement; it is fit for the climate, is equally adapted for walking and riding, and has that general appropriateness which is desirable in costume.”  (Isabella Bird, 1894)

Various stories place the naming of the garment very early in its creation.  According to one, the term holokū was created from two Hawaiian words, holo meaning to go, and kū meaning to stop.

Wearing the garment for the first time, the Hawaiian women are reported to have said "Holo!  Kū!"  Very roughly translated, this means "We can run in it - we can stand!"

The more commonly cited explanation for the term, holokū, suggest native seamstresses, when sewing their dresses, would say "holo!"(run) as they turned the wheel to operate the sewing machine, and "kū" (stop) when they wished to stop at the end of a seam.  Consequently, these two words were connected and the term is explained.

The holokū was worn with a loose-fitting undergarment, the mu‘umu‘u (meaning cut-off, shortened.)  Eventually, the mu‘umu‘u came to be worn as an outer garment, as well.

The muʻumuʻu in the early days was a dress for home wear. It was made full and unfitted with high or low neck and long or short sleeves

It is the more comfortable muʻumuʻu that has challenged the present day designers to create many variations for home, street and party wear.

Although it originated in Hawaii in the 1820s as a loose gown without a waistline or train and was worn for everyday wear, the holokū today is a long formal gown with a train.

For formal events, and other celebrations related to Hawaiian culture and ethnicity, the holokū is the quintessential Hawaiian gown.

While both holokū and mu‘umu‘u continue to be very important in Hawaii, it is the mu‘umu‘u that is regarded by most of the world as Hawaiian dress and the holokū that is practically unknown outside of Hawai’i.

The image shows Kīna‘u returning from church in a drawing by Louis-Jules Masselot, in 1837, wearing a holokū, as are others in attendance with her.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Kāne‘ohe Bay – UH SOEST Image

 This image accompanies the story of dredging in Kāne‘ohe Bay.

The attached image generally shows Kāne‘ohe Bay as it is today.

The Marine Base is at the bottom/right, the “Ship Channel” runs from there, all the way to the top of the image, past Mokoli‘i (Chinaman’s Hat) across from the Kualoa Park.

Zoom in and you can follow the channel from the Base, weaves through the Bay, to the entrance/exit at Mokoli‘i.

Notice the patch reefs with discernible straight edges … that’s the result of the dredging operations.
Likewise, you can see areas that have clear cuts in reefs that look submerged (almost like shadows between untouched reefs and deeper water) - these were the areas dredged to lesser depths.

(Here’s a link to download a high resolution of the UH SOEST Kaneohe Bay Poster:

Kāne‘ohe Bay Dredging

The earliest modifications to the natural marine environment of Kāne‘ohe Bay were those made by the ancient Hawaiians.

The construction of walled fishponds along the shore was perhaps the most obvious innovation.

The development of terraces and a complex irrigation network for the cultivation of taro no doubt had an effect on stream flow, reducing total runoff into the Bay.

In general, however, it can be stated that these early changes did not greatly modify the marine environment that existed when man first arrived in the area.

However, dredging in the Bay did.

Records of dredging permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers begin in 1915.

Almost all of the early permits were for boat landings, piers and wharves, including the 1,200-foot wharf at Kokokahi and the 500-ft wharf at Moku-o-Loe (Coconut Island) for Hawaiian Tuna Packers (in 1934.)

Although some dredging was involved in the construction of piers and small boat basins, probably the first extensive dredging was done in 1937 when 56,000 cubic yards were dredged "from the coral reef in Kāne‘ohe Bay" by the Mokapu Land Co., Ltd.

The great bulk of all reef material dredged in Kāne‘ohe Bay was removed in connection with the construction at Mokapu of the Kāne‘ohe Naval Air Station (now Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i) between 1939 and 1945.

Dredging for the base began on September 27, 1939, and continued throughout World War II.  A bulkhead was constructed on the west side of Mokapu Peninsula, and initial dredged material from the adjacent reef flat was used as fill behind it.

In November 1939, the patch reefs in the seaplane take-off area in the main Bay basin were dredged to 10-feet (later most were taken down to 30-feet.)

Other early dredging was just off the northwest tip of the peninsula, near the site of the "landing mat" (runway.)  The runway was about half complete at the time of the Japanese attack on December 7, 1941.

It appears that a fairly reliable total of dredged material is 15,193,000 cubic yards.

(Do the Math … Let’s say the common dump truck load is 10 cubic yards … that’s a million and an half truckloads of dredge material.)

During the war there had been some modifications of the ponds on Mokapu Peninsula, but the shore ponds around the perimeter of the Bay were spared.

However, from 1946 to 1948 (mostly in 1947) nine fishponds with a total area of nearly 60 acres, were filled, eight of them located in Kāne‘ohe ahupua‘a in the southern portion of the Bay.

In the Great Māhele, Hawaiian fishponds were considered private property by landowners and by the Hawaiian government.

This was confirmed in subsequent Court cases that noted “titles to fishponds are recognized to the same extent and in the same manner as rights recognized in fast land.”

Many of the filled fishponds were developed into residential uses (I’ll have more on fishponds in general and some specific ones in future posts.)

There are now only 12 walled fishponds remaining of the 30 known to have once existed in Kāne‘ohe Bay and a number of these have only partial remains and are not immediately recognizable as fishponds.

The image shows the dredge machine near the Marine base runway, just before the start of WW II.  (Much of the information here is from Kāne‘ohe, A History of Change.)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Images of Old Hawaiʻi - Emmert, Paul (1854)

Paul Emmert: Artist/Traveler (1826‒1867)

Born near Bern, Switzerland, in 1826, Paul Emmert (1826‒1867) immigrated to the United States at the age of 19, landing first in New York and then heading west with the discovery of gold in California.

In 1853, he became one of the many artist-travelers to come to Hawai‘i to satisfy the thriving market for images of the islands’ dramatic topography and singular culture.

In Honolulu, he opened a print shop, where he made prints after his own drawings of local landmarks. Eventually, he moved to Kailua-Kona and farmed the sugar plantation where he lived out the remainder of his life.

In his 14 years in Hawai‘i, Emmert made drawings of the mountains, coastlines, vegetation, and geophysical phenomena in and around O‘ahu, Maui and the Island of Hawai‘i.

While Emmert was in Honolulu he made a series of sketches of Honolulu, one from the harbor and five from the bell-deck of the Catholic Cathedral.

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Peace, located at the north end of Fort Street (and Beretania) in downtown Honolulu, is said to be the oldest Catholic cathedral in continuous use in the United States and one of the oldest existing buildings in the downtown area. 

The Cathedral stands on land which was given to the Catholic missionaries by King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) when the mission was established in 1827.

Here is a summary of the images in the six sketches of Honolulu:

No. 1. View of Honolulu from the Harbor (1854)
Center image is view looking mauka at Honolulu Harbor from the water.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various buildings: (clockwise from top left) the Royal School, Custom House, interior of the Fort, market house, charity school, stone church, "Bethel" (Bethel Church?), armory, court house, palace of King Kamehameha III, Honolulu House, the steamer Akamai, the native church and the Catholic church.

No. 2. View of Honolulu from the Catholic Church (1854)
Central image is view looking toward Diamond Head.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various residences and consulates: (clockwise from top left) John Yung; Mr. Angel, U.S. Consul; General Miller, H.B.M. Consul General; Mr. Perrin, French Consul; Prince Alexander and Lot; Mr. Armstrong; L. Anthon, Danish Consul; U.S. Consulate; King's summer house; Mr. Hackfield, Swedish Consul; Mr. Montgomery; Mr. Gregg, U.S. Commissioner; Mr. Wyllie; Mr. Davis, Peruvian Consul; Mr. Hall; Mr. Reynolds, Bremen Consul.

No. 3. View of Honolulu from the Catholic Church (1854)
Center image is view looking toward Kakaʻako.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various businesses and buildings: (clockwise from top left) Dentist, MacFarlane Hotel, National Hotel & Billiard Saloon, French Hotel, F. Spencer, Lafrenz & Fisher Cabinet Makers, Tailoring by Chas. Nicholson, Stuart & Rahe Cabinetmakers and Turners, Dr. Lathrop Drug Store, Hudsons Bay Company, Globe Hotel, Chas. Vincent, Reynolds, French Store, Ruggles and H Hackfeld & Co.

No. 4. View of Honolulu from the Catholic Church (1854)
Center image is view looking makai toward Honolulu Harbor.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various businesses and buildings: (clockwise from top left) T. Spencer Ship Chandler, Rice & Co., Makee & Anthon's Building, C. Brewer, DN Flitner Watch Maker, Dr Hoffman - Spalding, Honolulu Iron Works, H Sea - R Coady, Holt & Heuck, Melchers & Co., Mitchell & Fales - Wells Fargo & Co., BF Snow, Porter & Ogden, Allen & Co., Polynesian Office and Hawaiian Steam Navigation Office.

No. 5. View of Honolulu from the Catholic Church (1854)
Center image is view looking toward Central Oʻahu.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various residences: (clockwise from top left) Boullion, Dubois, Capt. Snow, Cartwright, Spencer, Spalding, Ford, Capt. Crab, Sea, Newcomb, Bungalow, Dr. Wood, Sommner, Macfarlane, Porter & Ogden and Dowsett.

No. 6. View of Honolulu from the Catholic Church (1854)
Center image is view looking mauka toward Nuʻuanu Valley.
Smaller images, circling the center image, include various residences: (clockwise from top left) Dr, Lathrop, Paki, Washington Place, John Ji, Judge Andrews, Bishop, Capt. Luce, Rev. Damon, Dr. Hildebrand, Dr. Judd, Capt. Makee, Bates, Nuʻuanu Valley Waterfall, Wood, Wood and Ladd.

The image is from View No. 1 - View of Honolulu from the Harbor (1854) - I have posted all of the images on my Facebook Page:

Endangered Birds and Their Recovery

Hawai‘i has been labeled the endangered species capital of the world.  We have more endangered species per square mile than any other place on earth.

Of the extinctions that have been documented, 28 species of bird, 72 snails, 74 insects and 97 plants have disappeared.

The State, in partnership with a bunch of federal, university and private interests, conducts more than 50 projects across the state to monitor, protect and enhance native and endangered species populations.

Statewide surveys to monitor population status and trend for water birds, sea birds and forest birds are conducted on all the main islands.

The surveys contribute to long term data to understand population changes and to provide early detections of any potential threats to population stability.

A project on Kaua‘i has been developed to use modified marine radar to survey threatened and endangered seabirds that fly inland to nest at night.

The surveys are critical to a determination of the population status of these species that appear to have experienced a severe population decline over the last 10 years.

Also notable was the discovery of what is perhaps the largest known breeding colony of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel on Lāna‘i.  This species was feared to have declined or been lost from Lāna‘i until crews conducted extensive night surveys using radar.

Full-time field teams are now deployed to coordinate and conduct special projects for select species and habitats.  These include the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Project, the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Team and the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.

These teams carry out management needs for native birds that include predator control, population monitoring, assessment of threats, and reintroduction into new habitats to reestablish populations.

Likewise, there are other groups and agencies that support and participate in recovery activities, including DLNR, USGS, US Fish and Wildlife Service and others.

A field unit for the recovery of the ‘Alala, Hawaii’s most critically endangered species has been established.  The ‘Alala Recovery Team is involved in an extensive community and landowner involvement program to lead the recovery of this species.   

For many of Hawaii’s most critically endangered species, captive propagation and reintroduction is the only viable recovery strategy.  Captive propagation programs are continuing for these species, which include five forest bird species and hundreds of plant species.

Notable long-term program successes include:
        Nēnē - (the State Bird) recovered from a population on the brink of extinction with fewer than 50 birds to nearly 2,000
        ‘Alala - saved from extinction with a captive flock that has grown to 95 (the `Alala population rose by more than 23%)
        Puaiohi - recovering from a population numbering only a few dozen to approximately 500 (found only on Kaua‘i)
        Palila - a new population has been established on the north slope of Mauna Kea (I recall the excitement and flurry of e-mails going around announcing a new nest with eggs on the north slope when I was at DLNR)

To date, hundreds of birds have been reintroduced into native habitats statewide.  In addition, an extensive cooperative partnership continues a program for propagation and outplanting of native plants, maintaining hundreds of species, and outplanting thousands of plants into the wild.

There are a lot of people across the state (as well as support from the mainland) that are doing waaay cool stuff to help with the recovery of Hawai‘i’s native bird populations.  We owe each our gratitude for their commitment and hard work.  Thank you to all.

The images illustrate the Nēnē and ‘Alala on the top (L-R) and the Puaiohi and Palila on the bottom (L-R.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Shoreline Certifications – Some Interesting Issues

We previously discussed some aspects of shorelines and their impact on shoreline access and shoreline hardening (i.e. seawalls and revetments.)

Today, I want to bring up an interesting quirk about shoreline certifications – the impact of ancient fishponds and other artificial structures on certifying where a “shoreline” should be.

Remember, shorelines are “certified” for County setback purposes; they do not determine ownership. They serve as points of reference in determining where improvements may be placed on coastal property.

When the State surveyor is satisfied with the location of the shoreline, after reviewing the public comments, the maps and photos prepared by the private surveyor and site inspection, he forwards the shoreline maps to the Chairperson of DLNR, for final review and approval.

When I was Chair at DLNR, I signed each of the maps and certified the shorelines.

Certified shorelines also serve as managerial and jurisdictional dividing lines. Issues mauka of the certified shoreline fall under the County jurisdiction (zoning, SMA and setback regulations;) lands makai of the line are under control of the State (and are automatically “conservation”.)

Consistent with the overarching purpose behind shoreline certifications, certified shorelines sometimes deviate from the CZMA definition (HRS §205A-1) of “shoreline.”

Example where “shoreline” is makai of boundary line:
State law (HRS §205A-42(a)) provides that where legally constructed artificial structures are involved, the shoreline is certified not at the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, but, instead at the “interface between the shoreline and the structure,” i.e., at the seaward edge of the artificial structure.

“Artificial structures” include such things as seawalls, piers, boat ramps, groins, revetments and harbor facilities. When such structures are placed on state lands with the State’s permission and consent, but are for private use, the State charges the private user for the use of state lands.

Thus, even though the certified shoreline may be makai of the artificial structure, the State’s property boundary, as acknowledged by the State and the private user, is somewhere mauka of the certified shoreline.

Example where “shoreline” is mauka of boundary line:
On the other end of the spectrum, the lands makai of the upper reaches of the wash of the waves are not always the property of the State.

Some coastal fishponds, although on submerged lands makai of the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, are privately owned. Nevertheless, the certified shoreline is at the natural shore and not the artificial wall of the fishpond.

Hawai’i Administrative Rule §13-222-16(7) states: “Where an artificial wall seaward of the natural shore is used to create a fishpond, the shoreline shall be at the natural shore and not at the artificial outer wall.”

That is because the existence of a coastal fishpond does not alter the rationale for not allowing developments too close to the coast. In these cases, therefore, the certified shoreline is mauka of the property boundary line.

To illustrate this, I am using a Google Earth image of the coastal area from our old neighborhood on Kaneohe Bay, where I grew up as a kid.

The parcel boundaries are shown; note the boundary line (blue arrow) of the parcels goes out to the end of the seawall of the old fishpond.

The “shoreline” in this case, would be along the coast (white arrow,) rather than at the fishpond wall.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Diamond Head Lighthouse

Diamond Head serves as a landmark as ships approach Honolulu Harbor from the west side of Oʻahu.

With the increase of commerce calling at the port of Honolulu, a lookout was established in 1878 on the seaward slopes of Diamond Head for spotting and reporting incoming vessels.

The first attendant, John Peterson from Sweden and known as “Lighthouse Charlie,” spotted incoming vessels through a telescope.

In 1893, ‘SS Miowera’ ran aground at Diamond Head prompting the Hawaiian legislature to recommend a lighthouse be established at Diamond Head.  Then, ‘China’ ran aground, finally causing construction of an iron tower to begin.

A 40’ open frame tower was constructed at Honolulu Iron Works.  In 1898, the Hawaiian legislature deemed the lighthouse tower should be masonry, not skeletal iron.

Its light was first lit on July 1, 1899.  The light had a red sector to mark dangerous shoals and reefs.  (As an aside, the first lighthouse in the Pacific was built on Maui in 1840; the first in Honolulu in 1869.)

In 1904, a floor was added to the tower, 14’ above ground level.  Windows were placed in 2 existing openings in the tower walls and telephone lines were installed in the tower.

However, over a decade later, cracks were noted in the structure, compromising the tower's integrity.  In 1917, funds were allocated for constructing a fifty-five-foot tower of reinforced concrete on the original foundation.

The old tower was replaced with the modern concrete structure, which strongly resembles the original tower.

One notable difference is that the old tower had an external staircase that wrapped partway around the tower, whereas the new tower houses an internal, cast-iron, spiral stairway.

In 1921, a light keeper’s home was built nearby.  A keeper occupied the dwelling for just three years, as the station was automated in 1924.

In 1939, the light station was turned over to the Coast Guard.

During World War II, a small structure was built on the seaward side of the tower and a Coast Guard radio station was housed in the keeper's dwelling.

Following the war, in 1946, the radio station was moved to its present site in Wahiawa.  The dwelling was remodeled and has since been home to the Commanders of the Fourteenth Coast Guard District.

The Diamond Head light was built 147 feet above sea level and can be seen as far away as 18 miles.  It has the intensity of 60,000 candlepower.  To warn vessels of the reefs off of Waikiki Beach, a red sector shows.

Fully automatic, its 1,000-watt electric lamp continues to guide ships to O‘ahu and is among the best-known lighthouses in the world.

In 1980, the Diamond Head Lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. 

Besides continuing its nightly vigil noting the land and reefs off Diamond Head, the lighthouse also serves as one end of the finish line for the biennial Transpac Yacht Race, which starts 2,225 nautical miles away from Point Fermin, at the southern edge of Los Angeles, California.

While at DLNR, I had the opportunity to attend a reception hosted by Admiral Sally Brice-O'Hara, then-Commander of the 14th Coast Guard District at the Diamond Head Lighthouse.  Yes, the location and view from this site is one of the best in Hawaiʻi.

In addition to the image here, I have posted additional images of Diamond Head Lighthouse in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hanapepe Salt Ponds

The Hanapepe Salt Pond area has been used since ancient times for the production of salt for food seasoning and preservation.

Every summer, the families of this region gather to build their “pans” to prepare salt for the next year.  The earthen pans impart a distinct red hue and flavor to the salt.

Pa‘akai (sea salt or, literally, “to solidify the sea”) from the Hanapepe Salt Ponds is created by accessing underground saltwater from a deep ancient source through wells and transferring the saltwater to shallow pools called wai kū, then into salt pans that are shaped carefully with clay from the area.

The farms near Hanapepe are one of only two remaining major areas in the Islands where natural sea salt is still harvested; the other spot is on the Big Island at Pu‘uhonua o Honaunau.

But the unique red salt, called ‘alaea salt, is produced only on Kaua‘i.

This type of salt-making is unique and authentic, and harvested traditional Hawaiian sea salt mixed with ‘alaea, a form of red dirt from Wailua, is used for traditional Hawaiian ceremonies to cleanse, purify and bless, as well as healing rituals for medicinal purposes.

It was a crucial commodity for Hawai‘i’s early post-contact economy; visiting ships, especially the whaling ships, needed the salt for food preservation.

Today, the Hanapepe fields operate under that concept of communal stewardship; the salt may be given or traded, but not sold.

The harvest season is in the height of summer, when the waves are calm and rain scarce.

The first task in making salt is to work on maintaining the salt beds, smoothing wet mud over the walls of the beds, filling cracks and reinforcing the structure of these holding beds; this can take up to a week.

The punawai (feed water wells) are cleaned of leaves and debris, so that only the purest sea water enters the rectangular holding tanks called wai kū, literally “water standing.”

The brine is left in the wai kū to evaporate, which can take up to ten days depending on the afternoon rains.

When the water in the wai kū turns frothy white and crystals form on its surface, the harvester gently pours it into the lo‘i.

For several weeks, a rotation of new water, sunshine and evaporation continues until a slushy layer of snow-white salt forms.

The salt is harvest by slowly and carefully raking the large, flat crystalline flakes of salt from the base of the bed, and transferring them to a basket. 

The salt is then dipped in buckets of fresh water to rinse off the mud, and remove rocks, chunks of dirt and other debris. 

With each immersion into the water, the salt flakes change shape, beginning to resemble large grains of what one would recognize as table salt.  The salt is drained and left to dry in the sun for four to six weeks.

Depending on conditions, a family may complete three harvests in a season, yielding as much as 200 pounds of salt.  Like wine, time is generous to salt; it mellows and gains character as it ages (older salt is smoother.)

In addition to the image with this post, I have added additional images on the Hanapepe Salt Ponds to a folder of like name in the photos section of my Facebook page.

(Special thanks to the folks at Protecting Pa‘akai Farming at Salt Pond for reviewing my summary and allowing me to share their images.)