December 7, 2011

Taking care of business…

Taking care of business… 

Kahua o Kāneiolouma, Po'ipū, Kaua‘i 
(2011 Photo by Nāwa‘a Wichman)
The above photo is difficult to put into scale, but look over at the parking lot next to Brennecke's Beach Broiler (across from Po‘ipū Beach Park) and you can begin to get a sense of the immense cultural landscape associated with the Kahua o Kāneiolouma preserve.  Today's Po‘ipū is built upon a deep, multi-layered cultural history, and the passionate land stewards, or "konohiki" of Hui Mālama o Kāneiolouma are dedicated to preserving this "kipuka" (small space) of ancient Kaua‘i heritage. 

 Kahua o Kāneiolouma, Po'ipū, Kaua‘i
Mauka (away from the sea) of 
Po'ipū Beach Park.
(2011 Photo by Nāwa‘a Wichman)

The modest 12-plus acre County of Kaua‘i preserve, Kahua o Kāneiolouma was once a traditional communal gathering ground for neighboring ‘ahupua‘a  (traditional districts), a seasonal Makahiki arena for oration, gaming, dance, and feasting, with many astronomical situated alignments, religious and medicinal temples, fish ponds, taro farming with 'auwai (traditional irrigation system), and much, much more...

Section of Map by Henry Kekahuna
September 1959
Rupert Rowe and Kaua'i Mayor Bernard Carvalho
September 2011
Kahua o Kaneiolouma, Po'ipu, Kaua'i

Heaps of "head" work going on at our house! Nāwa‘a is busy with writing and editing the Po‘ipū Beach Park Master Plan with the County of Kaua‘i, and writing the interpretive plan for Kahua o Kāneiolouma.  His hui is also working on their new website, as well as a mini-documentary about this amazing "wahi pana" (ancient place).

I’m busy working on two faunal projects from our Nā Pali Coast – heaps of little bags filled with fish, rat, dog, pig, and goat bones… And, trying to take care of business with several non-profit boards I serve with (sometimes feels like a full-time job!).

Aranui 3 off the Ua Huka coast, Marquesas Archipelago
And, I was just confirmed for another Marquesas lecture tour on the Aranui 3! I've been scheduled for Voyage 7, June 9 - 22, 2012, a two week voyage from (and return) Pape'ete, Tahiti, through the Tuamotu Atolls, and throughout the Marquesas Archipelago. Now I need to brush-up on my research, especially translating my lectures and PowerPoint Slides into French! Yikes! Let me know if you can join me for the voyage! It's going to be so much fun!

We also just came back from a wonderful Thanksgiving visit with my family in Arizona. I think all we did was laugh and eat! Wonderful trip!

Time to get back to work!

Mālama pono, a hui hou!
 ~ Victoria

October 27, 2011

Malama Pohaku Makaleka Aipoalani, Na Pali Coast ‘Ohana, Nu‘alolo Kai, Kaua‘i, August 2011

Nu‘alolo Kai, Na Pali Coast, Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i
(2008 Photo by Maurice Major)
Aloha nō Kākou!
Since the mid-1990s, our non-profit Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana (NPCO) have been cultural land stewards of the ancient Hawaiian coastal village of Nu‘alolo Kai, here on the island of Kaua‘i.  For more information about our non-profit ‘ohana and Nu‘alolo Kai, with links to our beautiful Nā Pali Coast, please visit our website at:, or join us on our Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana Facebook page.

It is only during summers that we are able to access this ancient land by boat because of the unpredictable seasonal ocean swells, unless we fly in by helicopter. Our small multi-talented volunteer crews usually set-up camp for a long-weekend up to two weeks a few times each summer. Access is mostly provided by three Nā Pali Coast tour boats (Kauai Sea ToursCaptain Andy's, and Nā Pali Explorer), with amazing support from their boat captains and crews, as well as our many local friends and their small boats and zodiacs - all are our outstanding lifelines while working on the coast. No cell phones, electricity, fresh water, etc. here! We have to carefully provision our supplies and gear (including ice and water), and we have a satellite phone with an emergency plan and up-to-date medical gear (with defibrillator!) just in case...  Our NPCO has also signed a stewardship "Curator Agreement" with Hawai‘i State Parks, and we must apply for a "Special Use Permit" each trip.  Generally, we have at least seven work trips each year from May through the beginning of September.

Nu‘alolo Kai, Na Pali Coast, Kaua‘i
(2007 Photo by Maurice Major)
Nearly twenty-years now, our dedication to clearing the numerous invasive plants, the stabilization of existing stone structures, native botanical survey and testing, as well as archaeological survey, testing, extensive mapping and documentation, has evolved into a multi-disciplined symbiotic rehabilitation of this ancient Kaua‘i land. Our NPCO is basically focused on three integral aspects of rehabilitation:

1.  Botanical Restoration which includes native medicine, cultural arts, and traditional foods
2.  Stone Structure Stabilization (dry-stack masonry)
3.  Cultural Heritage Research and Education, including cultural protocol, history, chants and dance

I believe the most important part of the rehabilitation process has been the cultural revitalization of the land itself by locals strengthening the integrity of the numerous native structures and plants, as well as the reawakening of Nu‘alolo Kai's living cultural ceremony.

Nu'alolo Kai
(2009 SOS YouTube)

Dr. Kumu Keao NeSmith with his kāne
(2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho)
2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho
Preparing 'awa
Photo by Kathleen Ho
Keaka Flores serving Sabra Kauka 'awa
Photo by Kathleen Ho
Sabra Kauka, me (Victoria Wichman), Moana Lee, and Yumi Teraguchi
(2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho)
Photo by Kathleen Ho
2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho

2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho
Uncle Paddy Boy Malama being served ‘awa by Ekolu Char
(2009 Photo by Kathleen Ho)
Kaina Makua and me
(Photo by Kathleen Ho)
Na Pali Coast 'Ohana

Nāwa‘a and I are currently involved with the cleaning and clearing of the land, along with the stone structure rehabilitation aspects of this project, and our NPCO president Sabra Kauka and her team concentrates on the native Hawaiian botany restoration, as well as cleaning the land.

Two years ago, our NPCO completed the first restored pohaku (stone) structure, the Hale Wa‘aor canoe house, which was dedicated by Dr. Kumu Keao NeSmith with the name "Kaunapueo," or "Landing Place of the Owl." Please see my "Photo Gallery" page for more photos by Kathleen Ho of our above dedication ceremony "Kaunapueo ‘Aha ‘Awa," as well as my photos of the reconstruction of Kaunapueo.

2007 Excavating and preparing for restoration, with Alan Carpenter and Kat Ho
(2007 Photo by Maurice Major?)

Sorting midden at my beautiful office!

Slide Show with more of our NPCO
Kaunapueo rehabilitation
Nu'alolo Kai, Kaua'i
(photos are credited, or are mine)

This past August, during an extensive ten-day work trip, we completed our initial phase by finishing-up 275-yards of rock wall rehabilitation dedicated to Aunty Margaret Aipoalani.  Aunty Margaret's, or Makaleka, heritage descends from a local family who seasonally frequented Nu‘alolo Kai for many generations.  She joined Nā Pali Coast ‘Ohana for a worktrip many years ago and was wholeheartedly committed to cleaning the rock walls that we recently rehabilitated in her honor. She has since passed-on but we know she is guiding us to do what is pono (righteous) for this wahi kūpuna (traditional cultural place).

A few of my photos from our
"Makaleka" rock wall rehabilitation project,
August 2011

Matt Kanemoto
Peleke Flores
Many hands make light work!
Stephanie Fitzgerald and Kahelelani Clark
Kaina Holomalia
Nathaniel Tin-Wong

Kaina Holomalia and Stephanie Fitzgerald

Peleke and Keaka Flores

Clearing the Malama Wall - our next ancient rock wall rehabilitation project. This section of the rehabilitation is named after Uncle Paddy Boy Malama and family of Kekaha, Kaua‘i.
Yumi and Keakaokalani Yasutaki, Nathaniel Tin-Wong, Stephanie Fitzgerald, Randy Nāwa‘a Wichman, Joan Conley, Brittany Valverde, Evan Valiere, Kelvin Ho, and me (Victoria Wichman) after clearing the first makai section of the Malama Wall.
Sweet Matt Kanemoto

Mailelaulii Neff
Keaka Flores and Kahelelani Clark
Stephanie Fitzgerald and Kaina Holomalia

Mahalo nui for making the time 
to visit our little blog. 
Stop back again for future adventure updates! 
Mālama Pono!
A hui hou!
~ Victoria ❤