May 10, 2012

A Morning Visit at Kahua o Kaneiolouma, Po‘ipu, Kaua‘i


Kahua o Kaneiolouma, Po‘ipu, Kaua‘i


Beautiful morning with my friend and colleague, archaeologist Jenny Kahn, together on a great tour of Kahua o Kaneiolouma in Po'ipu, Kaua‘i, by Uncle Rupert Rowe and my husband, Randy Nawa‘a Wichman. They showed us the newly uncovered ancient Hawaiian sites that were cleared in the last few days from the intense overgrowth. 



This wahi pana, or sacred place, was once an ancient Hawaiian community gathering ground, or kahua. One of its traditional functions included an arena sometimes used for community meetings and festivities, religious ceremonies, and makahiki games (such as wrestling). 





It contains many stone walls, varying platforms, strategic ki'i placement (tiki, religious representations), astronomically aligned  stone architecture, loko i'a (fish ponds), lo'i kalo (wet taro patch gardens), house-sites, religious features, burials, and much, much more. The seasonal pool of water you see in the photos below is generally not as visible during other times of the year.



1959 Map by Henry Kekahuna



There are other examples of kahua (tohua, communal gathering areas) surrounding a puna (water source) found throughout Polynesia. Here on Kaua'i we work on another kahua, Nu'alolo Kai, in which the puna is a dominate feature on the landscape suggesting varying ritual religious functions.  Mt. Wai'ale'ale is also home to the puna Ka'awako - a major source pond surrounded by ahu (traditional Hawaiian religious alters). I'm sure there are many examples throughout Polynesia and elsewhere.




Many of the stone structures were damaged by cattle, have tumbled in place and are just waiting to be put back together. The non-profit stewardship group, Hui Malama o Kaneiolouma, of which Nawa'a is on the board (historian, and researcher writing plans, reports, letters, photographer) is gearing-up for a full-scale restoration with interpretive center. The Hui has seriously moved forward these past few years by creating their non-profit status(501c3), writing  the Master and Interpretive Plans, and established a stewardship agreement with the County of Kaua'i.  Stay tuned - Much, much more to come…






















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Mālama pono, a hui hou,
 ~ Victoria