Hanalei History Part 5

Part 5

Hanalei Today—Art and Nature (19502006)

Hollywood Comes to Hanalei

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Taylor Camp

Hurricanes and Tsunamis

Hanalei Today


Haraguchi Rice Mill

Hanalei River and Bay

Canoes and Sailboats in Hanalei Bay

The Hanalei River Hui

Kauahoa—The Handsome Hero of Hanalei

The Waipā Foundation

David Sproat

Shipwrecks—Uncovering the Past

The Return of Taro

Connections to Ancient Times

Hanalei Bridge

The Boating Controversy


A Pod of Whales in Hanalei Bay

Puff the Magic Dragon

The Tahiti Nui

Birds of Hanalei

Native Waterbirds

Ae‘o—Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt

‘Alae Ke‘oke—Hawaiian Coot

Koloa Maoli—Hawaiian Duck

‘Alae ‘Ula—Hawaiian Moorhen

‘Auku‘u—Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Open Country Birds

Nēnē—Hawaiian Goose

Migratory Species—Seasonal Residents and Occasional Visitors

Kōlea—Pacific Golden Plover

Mōlī—Laysan Albatross

Koloa Mohā—Northern Shoveler

Koloa Māpu—Northern Pintail


Green-Winged Teal

Blue-Winged Teal


Baikal Teal

White-Faced Ibis


‘Iwa—Great Frigatebird

‘A‘o—Newell’s (Townsend’s) Shearwater

‘Ua‘u Kani—Wedge-Tailed Shearwater

Rescuing Shearwaters

Koa‘e Kea—White-Tailed Tropicbird

Koa‘e ‘Ula—Red-Tailed Tropicbird

Native Waterbirds

Ae‘o—Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt

‘Alae Ke‘oke—Hawaiian Coot

Koloa Maoli—Hawaiian Duck

‘Alae ‘Ula—Hawaiian Moorhen

‘Auku‘u—Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Hollywood Comes to Hanalei

Perhaps the most influential factor in bringing Hanalei before the eyes of the world and ushering in a new era of tourism was the region’s use as a setting for motion pictures. This began in the 1950s, and since that time many major movies have been filmed on Kaua‘i and in the Hanalei area. The island continues to draw filmmakers from around the world, popularizing the once remote northern shore.

The following movies include scenes filmed in the Hanalei area: Pagan Love Song (1950); Bird of Paradise (1950); Miss Sadie Thompson (1953); Beachhead (1953); Naked Paradise/Thunder Over Hawaii (1956); South Pacific (1957); She Gods of Shark Reef (1958); Wackiest Ship in the Army (1960); Paradise Hawaiian Style (1964); Acapulco Gold (1976); Seven (1978); Behold Hawai‘i (1981); Uncommon Valor (1983); and Dragonfly (2002).

The first major movie to be filmed totally on Kaua‘i was Pagan Love Song (1950), a Technicolor musical in which Kaua‘i represented Tahiti, with some scenes filmed in Hanalei. Pagan Love Song is based on the William S. Stone novel Tahiti Landfall, and named after a 1929 song by Nacio Herb Brown and Arthur Freed.

The plot involves a half-American, half-Tahitian girl, Mimi Bennett, played by a well-tanned and black-wigged Esther Williams. Mimi is ready to leave Tahiti, but stays when she meets an Ohio schoolteacher (Howard Keel as Hazard Endicott), who inherited a dilapidated coconut plantation. Hazard falls for her, unaware that she is not a native girl but instead is a sophisticated visitor on vacation.

The location filming of Pagan Love Song was part of a newly developing trend of bringing authentic scenery to the screen for the millions of GI’s returning from World War II. Highlights of the movie include Esther Williams’ water ballet.

[Photograph: Pagan Love Song]

The 1951 film Bird of Paradise was filmed on Kaua‘i and features scenes of Hanalei Bay. A Technicolor Polynesian epic, Bird of Paradise was based on a popular 1932 film starring Joel McCrea and Dolores Del Rio, and a 1911 stage play. Louis Jordan plays a French sailor visiting the South Seas with his friend, played by Jeff Chandler.

The plot involves a Frenchman who comes to the South Pacific seeking peace and tranquility. He falls in love with a local girl (Debra Paget) who must offer herself to the volcano god as a sacrifice to prevent an eruption from destroying the people and their homes.

Falling for the island girl leads the Frenchman to deal with the serious consequences of breaking local taboos as the girl is subject to becoming a human sacrifice to the volcano. Highlights include hundreds of Hawaiian dancers, and a memorable landing of a Polynesian voyaging canoe near Hanalei Pier.

[Photograph: Bird of Paradise]

Rita Hayworth starred in the 1953 film Miss Sadie Thompson about a nightclub singer with a storied past who travels to New Caledonia (Kaua‘i, with scenes in Hanalei), and encounters some tough U.S. Marines.

Miss Sadie Thompson (1953) was a remake of the 1928 film Sadie Thompson starring Gloria Swanson, and the 1932 film Rain starring Joan Crawford. José Ferrer plays the pious preacher Arthur Davidson who tries to save the soul of Miss Thompson but instead loses his own. The film co-stars Aldo Ray, who plays a marine sergeant attracted to Sadie.

[Photograph: Miss Sadie Thompson]

Scenes in Beachhead (1954) were filmed at Hanalei Pier in 1953. The plot involves a courageous unit of U.S. Marines before a massive U.S. assault. Kaua‘i represents a dense jungle island taken over by the Japanese.[i] The marines search for a planter on Bougainville who has information about a minefield and the planter’s beautiful daughter.

All but one of the U.S. Marines are killed in an ambush and then the planter and his daughter, along with the Marine, journey toward safety. The movie stars a young Tony Curtis as well as Frank Lovejoy and Mary Murphy.

[Photograph: Beachhead]

Naked Paradise/Thunder Over Hawaii (1957) was filmed on Kaua‘i in 1956, including scenes at Hanalei Bay.[ii] The movie’s plot involves three modern-day pirates (New York hoods) who sail a yacht around the Islands and rob plantation owners. The owner of their getaway vessel, a local schooner, is Duke (Richard Denning), who later played the Governor on the Hawaii Five-O television series.[iii]

Zac (Leslie Bradley) is a criminal gang leader who claims he is a toy manufacturer but secretly attempts to steal the plantation payroll, while Zac’s mistress Max (Beverly Garland) claims to be his secretary. A hurricane leads to confrontation between Zac and Duke.

[Photograph: Naked Paradise]

Filming of South Pacific (1958), one of the biggest box office successes of the 1950s, began in August of 1957 in Hanalei and Hā‘ena, representing French New Caledonia.[iv] Filming was disrupted by a major tsunami that hit Kaua‘i’s north shore on March 9, 1957, knocking out the old Kalihiwai bridge and blocking trucks bringing heavy filming equipment to the movie sets.

South Pacific takes place during World War II and involves WAVE officer Nellie Forbush (played by Mitzi Gaynor) who falls in love with the wealthy Frenchman Emile De Becque (Rossano Brazzi), whose assistance is requested by the Navy for a dangerous reconnaissance mission. De Becque had earlier fled his hometown after killing a man, and refuses to help the U.S. Navy.

Nellie declines De Becque’s proposal of marriage due to her prejudice after she learns of his mixed-race children by his first wife, causing De Becque to accept the Navy’s request to go on the dangerous mission. Accompanying him on the mission is Lt. Joseph Cable (John Kerr), who also displays prejudice when he rejects the possibility of marrying Liat (France Nuyen), the daughter of Tokinese trader Bloody Mary (Juanita Hall).

During their mission, Cable is killed, and De Becque is apparently lost, leading Nellie to hope and pray for his safe return, and forcing her to see the error of her prejudiced attitudes. A comedic element in the film is provided by Luther Billis, played by Ray Walston.[v]

Opening scenes of South Pacific were filmed near the mouth of the Hanalei River, and the elegant Birkmyre Estate overlooking Hanalei Bay was used as the French planter’s home.[vi] Numerous other Hanalei scenes are shown throughout the movie.

Mitzi Gaynor’s famous rendition of Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair was filmed at nearby Lumaha‘i Beach, while Makana Mountain in Hā‘ena was the mystical island of Bali Hai. There was also a great deal of footage from Mākua (Tunnels) Beach to the west of Hanalei, and hundreds of local schoolchildren and other Kaua‘i residents were utilized as extras.[vii]

[Photograph: South Pacific]

She Gods of Shark Reef (1958) was filmed at Hanalei and Hā‘ena sites representing a tropical paradise ruled by a stone god. The plot involves two American brothers who are escaped convicts that become shipwrecked on a tropical island inhabited by lovely and exotic, pearl-diving women.

The beautiful maidens enact various rituals, and one of the women is chosen to be sacrificed to the sharks. Fortunately she is saved by one of the Americans who is in love with her, and they flee to civilization. The other brother, however, isn’t so lucky, falling prey to the sharks when he attempts to steal pearls. Starring in the fantasy film are Lisa Montell, Don Durant, and Bill Cord.

[Photograph: She Gods of Shark Reef]

In Wackiest Ship in the Army (1961), Kaua‘i represents a South Pacific island held by Japan during WWII, and Hanalei Bay is the site of a New Guinea Allied base.[viii] Jack Lemmon portrays Lieutenant Rip Crandall, captain of the U.S.S. Echo.

Crandall is in charge of a crew of misfit sailors, one of whom is played by Ricky Nelson. Their mission is to transport an Australian spy into enemy territory so he can spy on the Japanese.

During filming in 1960, vintage army transports were driven to Hanalei by National Guardsmen, who played Japanese and Allied soldiers in the movie. The filming barge at Hanalei twice came loose, damaging Hanalei Pier, which required repairs that were paid for by the film studio and barge company.

[Photograph: Wackiest Ship in the Army]

Elvis Presley’s Paradise Hawaiian Style (1965) includes scenes filmed at Princeville Airport as well as Līhu‘e airport.[ix] The plot involves Rick Richards (Elvis Presley), who runs a tour aircraft business in the Hawaiian Islands. Richards is grounded after a mishap in which his helicopter runs a car off the road, a car driven by federal aviation official Donald Beldon (John Doucette). Richards gets into trouble due to his affection for different women, including a secretary played by Suzanna Leigh.

[Photograph: Paradise Hawaiian Style]

Acapulco Gold (1978) includes scenes filmed in the Hanalei area in 1976. The film tells the story of drug smugglers who hijack yachts and smuggle their illegal substances offshore. A chase ensues onshore and the criminals are brought to justice. The film stars Robert Lansing, Marjoe Gortner, and Ed Nelson.

[Photograph: Acapulco Gold]

Seven (1979) is a low-budget adventure film that includes scenes filmed in the Hanalei area in 1978. The move is a tongue-in-cheek comedy that centers around seven men hired by the Federal government to kill some professional criminals and stop a crime syndicate whose members are talented in the martial arts. A $7 million reward is at stake.

William Smith plays the head of the U.S. intelligence team in Hawai‘i, and Christopher Joy and Ed Parker also star in the movie.

[Photograph: Seven]

Scenes in Behold Hawaii (1983) were filmed in 1981 in Hanalei town with footage of the traditional Polynesian voyaging canoe Hōkūle‘a sailing off of Hanalei Bay. The plot involves Hawaiian youths rediscovering their heritage and their ancestors’ spiritual beliefs.

Behold Hawaii was the first feature film done in the IMAX format and shown on a five-story tall screen.[x] The cast included Kanani Velasco, Blaine Kia, and Kimo Kahoano.

[Photograph: Behold Hawaii]

In 1983, Hanalei’s scenic taro patches became Vietnamese rice paddies in the film Uncommon Valor (1983). Twelve separate sets on Kaua‘i represented locations in Southeast Asia, and Hanalei Valley was the site of the film’s daring rescue of G.I.’s from the Viet Cong.

The plot of Uncommon Valor involves Vietnam Veteran Colonel Rhodes (Gene Hackman) who returns to Laos after the war to rescue his G.I. son, who is being held as a prisoner of war, since 1972, in a Laotian prison camp. Helping Colonel Rhodes is oil baron MacGregor (Robert Stack) who funds the operation.

The controversial content of Uncommon Valor precluded use of military helicopters, so the filmmakers spent $1 million to rent two Vietnam-era Huey helicopters and ship them to the Islands for the for the rescue scene in Hanalei Valley. Patrick Swayze, Randall “Tex” Cobb, and Robert Stack also starred in the movie.

[Photograph: Uncommon Valor]

In Dragonfly (2002), Princeville Airport represents a remote Venezuelan airport, and other scenes were filmed over the nearby mountains and elsewhere on Kaua‘i.

Kevin Costner portrays emergency room doctor Joe Darrow, the husband of pediatric oncologist Emily Darrow (Susanna Thompson), who is doing humanitarian work in the Venezuelan mountains when she dies in a bus crash due to a mud and rock slide.

After Emily’s death, Joe begins to see mysterious signs (including dragonflies) as well as more specific messages communicated through Emily’s former patients. The mysterious messages lead Dr. Darrow to travel to Venezuela, where he makes an amazing discovery (revealed in footnote).[xi]

Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Most of the taro patches in Hanalei Valley are on land that is part of the 917-acre Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, designated in 1972 to help protect the endangered native waterbirds and other wildlife that inhabits the region.

The Refuge is located just east of the town of Hanalei, and extends from the Hanalei Bridge up into Hanalei Valley and along the coastal plain. The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is located from 22-12-00 to 22-14-30 north latitude, and from 159-27-30 to 159-30-00 west longitude.

The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge is unique among federal wildlife refuges in that about 120 acres of Refuge land are leased to taro farmers, with about 80 acres used for grazing. Taro farming in Hanalei Valley helps to perpetuate an ancient Hawaiian cultural tradition and provides quality wetland habitat for endangered waterbirds.

In 1980, the Refuge area was designated as the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge Historic and Archaeological District. It was also placed on the National and State Register of Historic Places.


Taylor Camp

In 1969, a group of about 20 people had been camping illegally for several months at a beach park in Hā‘ena about eight miles west of Hanalei town when they were arrested for vagrancy and fined $1 each. They refused to pay and were put in jail, and their children were put in foster care.

Howard Taylor, the brother of movie star Elizabeth Taylor paid the fines to free the campers from jail and then allowed them to live on his Hā‘ena beachfront land, which was in the process of being condemned by the State—and thus Taylor camp was born.

Numerous structures were built on the land, including about 20 tree houses, many quite elaborate, as well as a large garden and even a sauna by the beach. Though it lasted nearly a decade, the free-spirited community was eventually disbanded by authorities. One by one the tree houses were burned down, and all remnants of Taylor Camp were removed.

Today many former residents of Taylor camp live in Hanalei and the surrounding area where they are now business owners, teachers, artists, and other prominent members of the community.

[Photographs: Taylor Camp]


Hurricanes and Tsunamis

Life on a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean includes the possibility of various natural disasters, including landslides, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, and floods, as well as the most destructive events in the Hawaiian Islands—the dreaded hurricanes and tsunamis (tidal waves).

The last two Hawaiian hurricanes have unleashed their power primarily on Kaua‘i: Hurricane ‘Iwa struck Kaua‘i in 1982, damaging many structures in the Hanalei region; and Hurricane ‘Iniki, by far the most devastating, made a direct hit on Kaua‘i on September 11, 1992.

Hurricane ‘Iniki began brewing far to the southeast of the Hawaiian Island, and winds within the storm slowly grew to more than 100 miles per hour as the whole hurricane slowly moved north-northwest at about 20 miles per hour. Eventually the hurricane’s path turned due north and it made a direct hit on Kaua‘i.

[Photograph: Hurricane ‘Iniki above island of Kaua‘i]

For well over an hour, Kaua‘i’s north shore residents endured ferocious winds as they huddled in shelters throughout the island. Windows were smashed by debris that filled the air and crashed violently into buildings. Sometimes a whole roof would detach and lift upward in one large piece before breaking up in the vortex of wind. Entire houses were blown off their foundations.

Then suddenly the wind stopped and some people went outside. It was still cloudy all around, but straight above there was pure blue sky, which was a welcome sight amidst all the destruction. The hurricane had not passed, however, but instead was actually directly overhead—they were right in the middle of the hurricane’s eye!

Within minutes, as the hurricane’s eye moved past, the full force of the hurricane was felt again, this time all at once in a devastating rush of wind with gusts over 100 miles per hour. Because the wind was now going in the opposite direction, structures that had been weakened to the point of collapse by the first half of the hurricane were now quickly finished off as the destruction continued.

As Hurricane ‘Iniki proceeded over the island of Kaua‘i, one ferocious gust of wind within the hurricane was clocked at 227 miles per hour, a measurement that was taken by the Navy’s Mākaha Ridge radar station. Soon after that digital readout was sent, the wind gauging equipment was blown off the mountain.

Hurricane ‘Iniki caused more than $3 billion in property damage on Kaua‘i, including damage to more than 70% of the island’s homes. Island-wide, about 14,000 homes and apartments were damaged, including 1,421 completely destroyed.

The community of Princeville topped the list with 279 homes destroyed. At the time of the hurricane there were 8,200 hotel, condo, and bed and breakfast rooms on Kaua‘i, and ‘Iniki shut down 90% of them.

Hurricane ‘Iniki also did major damage to Hanalei Pier, which was rebuilt using concrete. The Princeville Hotel was severely damaged, and required $30 million worth of repairs.

The Haraguchi Rice Mill underwent extensive restorations after both Hurricane ‘Iwa in 1982 and Hurricane ‘Iniki in 1992. Hurricane ‘Iniki also caused structural damage to Wai‘oli Hui‘ia Church, lifting the building off its foundations and damaging the precious stained glass windows, which were later completely restored.

The word tsunami derives from the Japanese “tsu,” meaning harbor, and “nami,” which means wave. Tsunamis are caused by earthquakes, landslides, volcanic eruptions, and potentially (and possibly historically), tsunamis may also be caused by meteor impacts, and have killed more people in the Hawaiian Islands than all other natural disasters combined. Since 1837, there have been at least 13 significant tsunami events affecting the Hawaiian Islands, killing more than 290 people.

[Photograph: 1957 tsunami; see relief ship photo.]

The two tsunamis that had the most affect on the Hanalei region occurred a decade apart, in 1946 and 1957. The 1946 tsunami, which killed 17 people on Kaua‘i, struck on April 1 and was caused by an earthquake in the Aleutian Islands, 2,400 miles north of the Hawaiian Islands.[xii] The first of the tsunami waves hit the Hawaiian Islands around 6:30 a.m.

The 1946 tsunami brought 15 waves in all, rising up to 56 feet above sea level in some places. The water rose to 33 feet above sea level in Hilo where close to 500 homes and businesses were destroyed and more than 1,000 more damaged, causing an estimated $26 million in damage, including railroads, bridges, piers and ships.

Ninety-six people in Hilo were killed by the waves. Nearly 500 homes and businesses were destroyed and more than 1,000 more damaged along with railroads, bridges, piers and ships. Total damage was estimated at $26 million.

On Kaua‘i, the 1946 tsunami altered the course of the Waipā Stream, requiring an additional span to be added to the bridge. The tsunami also caused the collapse of the east end of the Waikoko Bridge, which was then made passable by piling up rocks atop the fallen structure, a makeshift solution that remains in use today.

The 1946 tsunami also washed away the carp stocked in the Lily Pond in Hanalei town. (The 1946 tsunami also killed 120 people on Hawai‘i Island, 13 people on Maui, and 6 people on O‘ahu.)

[Photographs: Hanalei Pavilion; Hanalei tsunami damage.]

Kaha aku la ka nalu o ku‘u ‘āina.

The surf of my land has swept everything away.

A retort to one who boasts about the value and beauty of his own land.[xiii]

On March 9, 1957, another earthquake in the Aleutian Islands generated a tsunami that destroyed or severely damaged more than 75 homes along Kaua‘i’s north shore, including 25 of the 29 homes in Hā‘ena. Also destroyed was Hā‘ena School.

The 1957 tsunami also damaged the Hanalei Bridge, requiring the addition of reinforcements that were added in 1959.

Along Weke Road on Hanalei Bay, the 1957 tsunami moved the Sanborn home about ten feet off its foundation but caused only minor structural damage.[xiv] The tsunami also damaged the Fayé Beach House, and knocked out the old Kalihiwai Bridge, disrupting the filming of the movie South Pacific.



In July of 1968, Harry Trueblood of Eagle County Development Corporation (a Denver-based subsidiary of Consolidated Oil and Gas Company) bought all but about 50 acres of the Princeville Ranch from a subsidiary of American Factors Ltd. (Amfac).

The sale included 11,000 acres of Princeville land and four agricultural parcels of about 7,000 acres each as well as 4,000 acres designated as forest reserve conservation land.[xv] Princeville Ranch had just seven employees and two resident workers

The new Princeville Ranch owners received approval from the Land Use Commission in 1969 for urban districting on 995 acres, including 532 acres dedicated to housing and hotel development, with the remaining land designated for a 27-hole golf course and open space.

The development of Princeville as a major resort area began in 1970 and included digging wells, building roads, and installing underground utilities. In 1971, the Makai Golf Course opened with three, nine-hole courses called Lakes, Woods, and Ocean.

The United States Fish & Wildlife Service purchased 905 acres of Princeville’s Hanalei Valley land in 1972, and this land is now part of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. The Princeville Center opened in 1977, offering 27,000 square feet (2,508 sq. m) of space for rent.

In 1982, Princeville Hotel Corporation was formed with the intent of constructing a major luxury hotel at Pu‘upōā on the east side of Hanalei Bay. The Princeville Corporation (formerly Eagle County Development Corporation) began trading as a public company in 1984, and was listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

In September of 1985, the Sheraton Princeville Hotel opened, with 300 rooms available for visitors. The development of the Prince Golf Course began in 1986 on the upper eastern side of Princeville above the main resort area.

In 1987, the Qintex Group of Queensland, Australia purchased the resort, which was then taken private, and from 1989 to 1991 an extensive refurbishment of the hotel took place. Also built was the 60,000 square-foot Prince Clubhouse adjacent to the Prince Golf Course. The Princeville Hotel was renamed the Sheraton Mirage Princeville, upgraded to a 5-star standard, and reopened on May 15, 1991.

In June of 1990, the Princeville Corporation was acquired out of bankruptcy by the Japanese real estate development and sales company Suntory Ltd., also a beverage giant. Suntory became the majority shareholder (51%), while two other Japanese companies, the banking company Nippon Shinpan & Co. Ltd. and the diversified trading company Mitsui & Co. Ltd., became equal shareholders as minority partners.

The resort’s name officially became “Princeville Resort,” and the hotel was renamed “Princeville Hotel.” The Princeville Corporation also continued to operate the Prince and Makai golf courses as well as the Princeville Center and the Princeville Health Club and Spa.

Since the mid-1980s, the Princeville Hotel has been managed by Starwood Hotels and Resorts.[xvi] The hotel was closed for repairs after being severely damaged by Hurricane ‘Iniki on September 11, 1992.

Hurricane ‘Iniki struck Kaua‘i on September 11, 1992, causing more than $3 billion in property damage on Kaua‘i, including damage to more than 70% of the island’s homes, and completely destroying 1,421 homes.

The cost of the reconstruction of the hotel after Hurricane ‘Iniki was $30 million[xvii] and the hotel’s 250-person staff returned to work on October 15, 1993. In May of 1995 the Princeville Hotel was designated “Hotel of the Year” by ITT Sheraton.[xviii]

Today the community of Princeville is Kaua‘i’s largest planned resort community, encompassing 9,000 acres. The resort community includes thousands of condominiums, hundreds of homes, a shopping center, the 252-room Princeville Hotel, and the luxurious Princeville Spa as well as two expansive golf courses rated among the top in the nation.

In 2005, the 9,000-acre Princeville Resort was sold for $200 million to: Honolulu-based real estate developer Jeffrey R. Stone; a Honolulu investment consortium known as Hawai‘i Land Development Corporation (now Princeville Associates LLC, a newly formed venture company owned by Stone); and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds.

The Hanalei Land Development Company was recently a minority investor in the purchase of Honsador Lumber. Jeffrey Stone was previously involved in the purchase of O‘ahu’s Ka Olina Resort in 1998. Morgan Stanley Real Estate Funds is a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley investment and credit service.

The sale by Princeville Corporation included the Princeville Hotel along with the resort’s two golf courses, the Princeville Tennis Club and Pro Shop, Princeville Health Club and Spa, the Princeville Shopping Center, and other north shore lands.

The future of the Princeville area remains in flux, with plans in the works for new employee housing, renovations to the Princeville Shopping Center, new name-brand hotels, and other new development. Starwood Hotel & Resorts continues to run the Princeville Hotel while also building new timeshare villas in Princeville for Starwood Vacation Ownership.

Despite the rapid growth of the Princeville area in recent decades, the region still retains a sense of its pristine beauty, with rolling hills that bridge the valleys of Hanalei and Kalihiwai and form a coastal plateau with expansive ocean and mountain views.

Haraguchi Rice Mill

The Haraguchi Rice Mill was the last mill to operate in the Hanalei region, and is now the only remaining rice mill still standing in the State of Hawai‘i.[xix]

The Haraguchi Rice Mill was originally constructed of wood and corrugated sheet iron. After Hurricane ‘Iwa damaged the structure in 1982, the mill underwent an extensive restoration. Fortunately, just days before the hurricane hit, architectural drawings of the mill were completed by a team of workers with the American Engineering Record, including layout details and exact measurements critical to the authentic mill restoration process.

The mill’s machinery was also restored, turning the mill into a historic museum now available for educational tours. Concrete cinder blocks were installed for the rice mill’s 79-foot by 40-foot foundation, and an Oregon mill retooled their machinery to provide the unsanded, original size lumber.

Mill equipment was slowly and sometimes creatively restored. A bushing from the main shaft of the mill engine had been used as a counterweight on a tractor, and was lost in the fields. Undeterred, the Haraguchis used a metal detector to find the lost bushing.

In 1992, Hurricane ‘Iniki dealt another blow to the Haraguchi Rice Mill, doing extensive damage to the structure and requiring another restoration effort. (Hurricane ‘Iniki also damaged more than 70% of the Kaua‘i’s homes, and completely destroyed 1,421 homes.) Boone Morrison, an architect and photographer from Hawai‘i Island, referred to the original drawings of the Haraguchi Rice Mill to create a professional blueprint. Included in the restoration was the original Fairbanks-Morse, single cylinder, diesel engine.

Leading the restoration project were Rodney and Karol Haraguchi. Rodney is the son of William Haraguchi and the great grandson Tomijiro and Ine Haraguchi, the farm’s initial founders (see Part 4). The family tradition continues today with Rodney and Karol Haraguchi farming about 50 acres (20 ha) of taro along with the help of their extended family.

In April of 2004, volunteers erected an 18-foot (5 m) tall yagura (rice-bird sentry tower) near the Haraguchi Rice Mill. The yagura was constructed as part of a timber-framing workshop and community service project sponsored by the Fox Maple School of Traditional Building.

The towers were once common on local rice fields, and children were often given the job of pulling on a cord attached to tin cans to scare the rice birds away from the fields.

During the 2004 yagura project, hand tools and joinery techniques were utilized and no nails or glue were used. Also working on the yagura-building project were Tom Haraguchi, who had stood sentry in a yagura during his youth, and Rodney’s father, William Haraguchi, who ran the farm for many years and continues to help today.

Hanalei River and Bay

For many centuries before Western contact, the Hanalei River irrigated the taro fields of Hanalei Valley. During the last two centuries the river waters have irrigated various other crops grown in Hanalei, including fields of coffee, sugarcane, rice, and many other products.

Today the Hanalei River again provides water to the thirsty taro. The river also provides an important community recreational resource enjoyed by kayakers, canoe paddlers, and others.

Many local residents enjoy fishing from the riverbanks, and local fishermen launch their boats from the Hanalei rivermouth. Families from all around Kaua‘i gather at Black Pot Beach Park next to Hanalei Pier, a popular spot for picnics, barbecues, and other gatherings of ‘ohana (extended family and friends).

[Photograph: Hanalei River]

“To the planters in the valley this river is of incalculable value. By ordinary-sized sail-boats it is navigable for three miles above its mouth, and is from one to two hundred feet wide. By means of boats they can send their produce down to any vessel that may be anchored in the harbor awaiting its reception.”

Bates, 1854[xx]

Hanalei Bay is an important natural habitat for many native species, including honu (sea turtles), nai‘a (spinner dolphins), and dozens of species of reef fish. Koholā (humpback whales) also occasionally venture into Hanalei Bay, as do various species of manō (sharks), particularly when large fishing nets are set out in the bay by fishing boats.

Numerous sightings of large tiger sharks have occurred in the waters of Hanalei Bay, and a 14-foot- (4.3-m-) long tiger shark was caught in 2003 not far from Hanalei Pier shortly after 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton was attacked at the nearby beach called Makua (Tunnels). Bethany’s subsequent national surfing championship and unfailing positive attitude in the face of trying circumstances have now inspired people all around the world.

Today at least three canoe clubsHanalei, Nāmolokama, and Kaiolapractice their paddling skills in the waters of Hanalei Bay.

The Hanalei Canoe Club was established in 1973 as an extension of the Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Club. The State Championship Regatta was held in Hanalei Bay that same year, and Hanalei took first place.

The Canoe Club continues to thrive as an important cultural and community group that trains all age levels in the sport of outrigger canoe paddling while also emphasizing Hawaiian cultural knowledge, including the Hawaiian language.

Also plying the waters of Hanalei Bay are various other vessels large and small, including sailboats, one-man canoes, sailing canoes, voyaging canoes, kayaks, fishing boats, and assorted personal watercraft.

Dozens of large and small sailboats anchor in Hanalei Bay during the summer months when the water is generally calm. Many of these sailboats spend the summer in the bay before continuing their journeys across the Pacific and beyond.

Hanalei Bay is also the destination site of the annual Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race (TransPac). The first TransPac took place in 1978 when 33 boats sailed from the Golden Gate Bridge toward Hanalei Bay, and twenty-two boats finished the 2,120-mile course.

The winner took 13 days, 2 hours, and 34 minutes (corrected 9:17:18) Peter Hogg set the record when he sailed to Hanalei in just 8 days, 20 hours, and 16 minutes.[xxi]

[Photograph: Hanalei Bay sailboats, Transpac]

“At the present season the anchorage [Hanalei] is safe, but when the N.W. gales blow, a very heavy sea must tumble into the bay. I am informed that a Russian store-ship rode out the season in spite of everything. The anchorage is pretty well covered by a spit, over which there is about nine feet; but there is not sufficient space in bad weather for more than three vessels, although in the present fine season the bay is spacious.”

Captain Edward Belcher of the Sulphur, 1837[xxii]

The Hanalei River Hui

On July 30, 1998, the Hanalei River was designated as an American Heritage River by President Bill Clinton, and the Hanalei River Hui was established as part of the American Heritage River program. The Hanalei River was one of just 14 rivers nationwide to receive the American Heritage River designation, and the only tropical waterway to receive the designation.

The River Hui is primarily concerned with the 16-mile (4.9-m) length of the Hanalei River, the 21-square-mile (54 sq.km.) watershed of Hanalei Valley, and the offshore coral reefs in Hanalei Bay.[xxiii]

Also important to the Hui are the three neighboring valleys—Wai‘oli, Waipā, and Waikoko—which all have streams that flow into Hanalei Bay.

According to their mission statement, the Hanalei River Hui “strives to mālama the ahupua‘a (watershed) of Hanalei guided by the Hawaiian principles of mālama ‘āina (sustainability and stewardship), pono (integrity and balance), laulima (cooperation), and aloha, especially as it applies to cultural equity and respect.”[xxiv]

Hui members gather data on native species and also work with local school children on outdoor educational activities. The Hui’s scientific endeavors include an ongoing water quality assessment project that involves collecting water samples from various sites in Hanalei Bay and Hanalei River.

Water tests conducted by the River Hui in Hanalei Bay have frequently shown high bacterial counts, and so the Hui continues to work on long term solutions to the contamination problem. A first step is identifying major pollution sources, including nearby cesspools that pollute the water, particularly during heavy rains.

The River Hui also monitors newly hatched larvae of the native ‘o‘opu fish (Gobiidae; Eleotridae, native gobies). The main difference between the ‘o‘opu families of Gobiidae and Eleotridae is that the pelvic fins of Eleotridae are not fused.

Five ‘o‘opu species inhabit Kaua‘i’s north shore streams and rivers: ‘o‘opu nōpili (Sicyopterus stimpsoni); ‘o‘opu nākea (Awaous guamensis); ‘o‘opu naniha (Stenogobius hawaiiensis); ‘o‘opu ‘akupa (Eleotris sandwicensis); ‘o‘opu ‘alamo‘o (Lentipes concolor).

‘O‘opu are born as larvae in freshwater streams and then washed down into the ocean where they develop into mature fish. They eventually return to the stream where they were born and then swim upstream, climbing rocks and waterfalls to reach the upper levels.

‘O‘opu accomplish these remarkable climbing feats by using their specially adapted pelvic fins, which are fused to form a sucking disc. At the conclusion of their upriver journey the ‘o‘opu lay their eggs and complete their life cycle.

Frank Kurihara, who grew up in Hanalei in the early 1900s, considered ‘o‘opu “delicious eating, fried or lawalu’d with ti leaves, or in soups, or dried.”[xxv] Local residents anticipated catching the ‘o‘opu that came downriver during the first floods of August, when fish “migrated downstream by the hordes.”[xxvi]

‘O‘opu nākea are the largest of the gobies, at up to 14 inches long, and were once abundant in the Hanalei River. In recent years the ‘o‘opu nākea populations have severely declined.

[Photograph: ‘O‘opu nākea]

Ka i‘a a ka wai nui i lawe mai ai.

The fish borne along by the flood.

The ‘o‘pu, which was often carried to the lowlands in freshets.[xxvii]

[Photograph: Hanalei Bay and Rivermouth]

[Photo Caption:]

“The ocean and rivers were just teeming with fish, and it was no problem to catch enough for the family’s needs.”

Frank Kurihara[xxviii]

[Photograph: Hanalei River Hui doing research]

[Photo Caption:]

On May 6, 2003, the Hanalei Heritage River Program received a $700,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency for the protection of the Hanalei ahupua‘a watershed.[xxix]

[Photograph: Hanalei rivermouth]

[Photo Caption:]

Kauahoa—The Handsome Hero of Hanalei

A famous and proud warrior of Hanalei in ancient times, according to legend, was Kauahoa. His name means “The friendly rain,” and he was known as Ka me‘e u‘i o Hanalei (“The handsome hero of Hanalei”).

Kauahoa blocked the headwaters of the Hanalei River because he was angry that the chief ‘Aikanaka did not utilize his fighting skills. When Kauahoa was finally called to battle he pulled up a large koa tree to use as a war club, and as he held the club aloft there were still birds singing in the tree’s branches.

Hanalei Today—The Waipā Foundation

The lands of Waipā were slated for development in the 1970s, but this was forestalled when local farmers and fishermen began an organized effort to preserve the ahupua‘a (watershed), and petitioned the landowner, Kamehameha Schools, for a lease to the valley.

Today Kamehameha Schools include the 600-acre (243-ha) Kapālama Heights campus in Honolulu as well as smaller campuses on Maui and Hawai‘i Island. The Estate has vast land holdings and investments with an endowment worth an estimated $7.66 billion during the 2005—2006 fiscal year, with $897 million in revenue in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2006.

In that same fiscal year, $221 million was spent by the trust to educate children of native Hawaiian ancestry, with a total of 6,715 students enrolled at its various campuses including the Kapālama Heights campus, preschools, and schools on the outer Islands.

The trust also supports 14 charter schools as well as community outreach programs, and these schools and programs serve another 22,000 children. (See Kamehameha Schools and Bishop Museum; and The Bishop Estate Scandal, Chapter 12.)

The families of David Kawika Sproat, Samson Mahu‘iki, and others organized the Hawaiian Farmers of Hanalei, which began to restore the valley for traditional community use.[xxx]

In 1994, David Sproat’s daughter, Stacy Sproat-Beck developed a Land Use Masterplan for Waipā and formed the nonprofit (501c3) Waipā Foundation.[xxxi] Today the ongoing activities at the ahupua‘a of Waipā now help to sustain the community economically and provide a living classroom for local children who learn first hand by studying the natural ecosystems.

Students investigate the geology of the surrounding mountains and the hydrological cycles of the streams and natural springs. They also learn about the native plants and animals, from the birds in the Waipa mountain forests to the marine life inhabiting the coral reefs offshore in Hanalei Bay.

Students count native fish, conduct tests on water quality, participate in professionally guided archaeological excavations, and map the cultural and natural resources of the Waipā ahupua‘a (watershed).

Other ongoing activities at Waipā include a fishtank aquaculture project as well as a large, organic vegetable/herb garden tended by volunteers who share in the harvest.[xxxii] Native plants are propagated, and a nursery is used to grow tropical flowers.

Waipā’s thatched hālau (canoe house) along the sandy shoreline of Hanalei Bay allows students to practice outrigger canoe paddling as well as canoe surfing on the formidable ocean waves. On the coastal area of Waipā, trained facilitators lead participants through a Ropes Challenge Course designed to build inner strength and trust through teamwork.

Teachers and mentors at Waipā include native Hawaiian kūpuna (elders). An integral part of Waipā’s program involves the farming of taro, which is milled into poi each week and then provided to community members at a low cost.

[Photograph: David Sproat]

[Photo Caption:]

David Sproat -Waipā Foundation

On a Wednesday evening in early 2003, David Sproat was chopping wood to stoke the fires under two large barrels filled with water and taro corms harvested that day from Waipā’s taro patches.

After swinging the axe like a man half his age, former fire chief David Sproat placed some wood in the flames beneath the barrels, and then took off his gloves and shook hands with us. Sproat’s eyes were shining with vitality as he talked about Waipā, and his openness and positive outlook made me feel first-hand the concept of aloha in its native form.

Sproat explained to us how it was that he determined the cooking time for the corms. When the steam begins to puff out the tops of the barrels in just a certain way, he knows the cooking has begun. He then lets the corms cook for just the right amount of time to produce the perfect poi.

Just then, David’s daughter Stacy arrived with her infant daughter. As David played with his grandchild I sensed that coming generations will continue the work of restoring and sustaining the living ahupua‘a of Waipā, a community endeavor that stretches back in time more than 1,000 years.

Hanalei Today—Shipwrecks

In 1995, the Smithsonian Institution’s Dr. Paul Forsythe Johnston used remote sensing equipment to discover the buried location of the sunken wreck of Ha‘aheo o Hawai‘i (Prince of Hawai‘i), formerly known as Cleopatra’s Barge.

The ship, which sank in Hanalei Bay in 1824 (see Part 2), had remained largely untouched until Johnston began his efforts to recover artifacts from the wreck. Johnston had earlier worked as a curator at a maritime museum in Salem, Massachusetts where Cleopatra’s Barge had been constructed in 1816.

The research vessel used for the salvage project was the Pilialoha (Circle of Friends), which was captained by Rick Rogers. In July of 1995, the crew sailed to Hanalei Bay from Hale‘iwa Harbor, O‘ahu to begin the salvage work.

The initial search for the sunken ship utilized old charts as well as various modern search techniques, including satellite navigation. A proton precession magnetometer was used to locate the wreck by detecting tiny fluctuations in Earth’s magnetic field. The ship was found about ten feet beneath the sand at the mouth of the Wai‘oli River, which flows into the ocean about midway along the sandy crescent of Hanalei Bay.

An L-shaped propwash-deflector was used to direct pressure from the Pilialoha’s prop down onto the seafloor in order to move sand and uncover artifacts from the wreck. Recovered items included a calabash gourd, quartered whale’s tooth, gold-laced beads, and an ivory ring.

Many recovered items may have been part of the wardrobe of King Kamehameha II (Kalaninui ‘Iolani Liholiho). Though the king wasn’t on board during the voyage to Kaua‘i, many of his belongings were on the ship when it sank.

Chinese artifacts recovered from the wreck of Ha‘aheo o Hawai‘i included ceramics and tableware. Some fine cabinet glass that was recovered may have come from France. Copper hull sheathing came from England, and still bore the manufacturer’s mark, “W&G/G24.”

Also possibly from England was a black glass liquor bottle. Many American-made artifacts were also found, including a leather holster, a block and tackle (with rope), and musket balls.

Other artifacts recovered from the wreck included bronze spikes, pieces of porcelain, pearlware, glass, bone, iron, ivory, lead pipe (probably from the ship’s plumbing) and a wooden wheel.

A folding knife and a two-pronged fork were found, along with various stone artifacts including ballast stones, stone lamps (used to burn kukui nut oil), stone poi pounders, stone anchors, cooking stones, and a cow’s tibia bone that had been worked into an awl or meat pick.

A pū (triton conch sell) found in the wreckage was likely used as the ship’s horn. During the last days of the 1996 recovery work, large sections of the ship’s hull were discovered, but they were left in place due to time constraints.

[Photograph: Hanalei Bay wreck site]

Another recent shipwreck discovery was the 155-foot, U.S. Navy ship Saginaw, whose crew members fashioned a rescue vessel from the wreck and sent five men sailing for help. They ended up off Hanalei, though only one survived.

Marine archaeologists diving in a reef channel at Kure Atoll, about 1,000 mile northwest of Kaua‘i, discovered the site of the wreck of the Saginaw in August of 2003. The ship had wrecked on the reef 133 years earlier.

The divers found a series of metal artifacts including large iron anchors and heavily encrusted cannons. The Saginaw was the only known wreck at Kure to have cannons on board, which helped in the identification of the sunken ship. The divers found copper drift pins that once held the Saginaw’s timbers together, and bronze gudgeons that had attached the ship’s rudder to the stern.

The 22-foot captain’s boat that the five men used to get help now is on display at Castle Museum in Saginaw, Michigan. It was this vessel that foundered off Hanalei Bay with the exhausted crew, eventually drifting as far as Kalihiwai before a lone survivor was able to relate the tragic story of the Saginaw to authorities, who then sent help to Kure to rescue the stranded crew (see Part 3).

Hanalei Today—The Return of Taro

After the decline of the rice industry throughout the Hawaiian Islands in the early 1900s, significant taro farming eventually began again in Hanalei when it was initiated by Masato Yokotake in the 1940s and then Mr. Tasaka and Mr. Morishige and others, primarily planting the lehua maoli variety of taro brought from Waimea.[xxxiii]

In 1940 in upper Hanalei Valley taro terraces were irrigated by a half-mile-long ditch bringing water “through a big rock which is conveniently cracked,” observed Handy, adding, “the legend runs that Pele sent lightning to split the rock so that the people could get the water down to the fields.”[xxxiv]

Walter Foss Sanborn successfully grew taro in 1940 in an area of lower, eastern Hanalei Valley that had been planted in rice for the previous three decades.[xxxv]

With the return of substantial taro farming in Hanalei Valley, there was also a need for mills to make the taro corms into poi. As the rice mills of the region closed, poi mills began to appear at residents’ homes, including the Makas in Hā‘ena as well as the Alohiaus and Lotas in Hanalei. Walter Foss Sanborn had a poi mill in Hanalei across the street from his home on Weke Road.[xxxvi]

By the 1880s several changes of ownership of the poi mill occurred, and poi from the Hanalei region was being shipped as far as Hanapēpē.

Census information from the Department of Commerce states that about 116 acres of taro were farmed in Hanalei in 1949. In 1997, about 220 acres of taro were farmed in Hanalei, including eight farms on 125 acres within the boundaries of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Also documented were 50 acres of taro in Wai‘oli Valley, 10 to 15 acres in Waipā Valley, and 5 to 10 acres in Waikoko Valley.[xxxvii]

Taro production in the Islands totaled about six million pounds in 1998, and since that time taro acreage has declined. From 2000 to 2005, and taro production decreased from about 5 million to about 3 million pounds, and the number of taro farmers decreased from 70 to about 50. In 2002, about 5.7 million pounds of Hawaiian taro were milled into poi, a six percent decrease in production from the previous year.

Recent declines in taro and poi production are attributed to pests, diseases, and bad weather, including record rains in 2006 that caused flooding and significant damage to taro crops.[xxxviii]

Kaua‘i currently provides more than 70% of all taro grown in the State of Hawai‘i. More than half of the island’s taro is grown in Hanalei Valley. Taro’s large, heart-shaped lū‘au (leaves) create a scenic patchwork of green fields covering the Hanalei Valley floor.

[Photograph: Hanalei Valley taro]

Hanalei Today—Connections to Ancient Times

Today in Hanalei an ancient sense of place remains. The richness of the history and culture is perpetuated in many ways, and memories of ancient days still echo in the sounds of the rushing streams, reverberate in the crashing of the ocean waves, and arc overhead in rainbows of color that appear and disappear with each passing rainshower.

Many descendants of the original settlers still live in the Hanalei region, and these native Hawaiians are the living links to Hanalei’s ancient days, their genealogies reaching back through time to the first inhabitants who arrived thousands of years ago.

In recent decades among the native Hawaiian people there has been a resurgence in the use of the spoken and written Hawaiian language as well as a renewal of traditional Hawaiian cultural practices. Native groups and others are working to restore and preserve native cultural sites, including heiau (sacred places of worship), loko ‘ia (fishponds), and whole ahupua‘a, the traditional Hawaiian watersheds that supply all the needs of the community.

The Hōkūle‘a voyaging canoe, a symbol of the revival of Hawaiian traditions, has sailed into Hanalei Bay numerous times since it was launched in 1975, including extended visits in June/July of 2005 accompanied by the voyaging canoe Makali‘i. From Hanalei Bay the two voyaging canoes sailed to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and then returned to Hanalei to offer educational opportunities for local youth.

Visits to Hanalei by traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes and their crews have given further inspiration to the perpetuation of local Hawaiian culture in the region, and many advocate the restoration of an independent nation or some other formal arrangement to redress past infringements on native rights.

Many local residents are concerned about the rapidly increasing development of north shore lands and the consequent loss of public access to beaches and mountain areas. Protecting the region’s unique beauty and cultural significance has often proved difficult in the face of powerful commercial interests, yet alliances between environmentalists, preservationists, philanthropists, and native groups have led to better planning for future growth.

The record surge in real estate values throughout the Islands has led to a rapid increase in the number of vacation rentals on the north shore and across Kaua‘i, and consequently a shortage of long term rentals for local residents. Homes purchased for inflated prices often require huge mortgage payments, drawing many homeowners to the lucrative vacation rental market.

Homeowners have seen huge property tax increases due to rising property values, and this has forced some residents on fixed incomes to sell their homes.

Another difficulty facing the Hanalei region today comes from invasive, non-native plant and animal species that imperil native ecosystems. Many native species have become endangered and extinct since Western contact in 1778, including the extinction of more than half of all native bird species in the Hawaiian Islands.

Local conservation efforts have done much to protect threatened and endangered populations of nēnē (Hawaiian goose), mōlī (albatross), ‘a‘o and ‘ua‘u kani (Newell’s and wedge-tailed shearwaters), ‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua (monk seals), and many other native species.

The Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge remains a stronghold of several endangered native waterbirds, including the ae‘o (Hawaiian black-necked stilt), ‘alae ke‘oke (Hawaiian coot), koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck), and ‘alae ‘ula (Hawaiian moorhen).

The native Hawaiian population of the Hanalei region is strong and continues to educate the next generation about the Hawaiian culture. The Hanalei Canoe Club, for example, emphasizes the study of the Hawaiian language along with their rigorous ocean training.

The Waipā Foundation’s restoration of the Waipā ahupua‘a for use as a living classroom has also helped efforts to carry on the traditional practices of ancient times.

Hanalei Today—Hanalei Bridge

The Hanalei Bridge is considered the “gateway to Hanalei” and is the first of Route 560’s seven bridges that accommodate just one direction of traffic at a time.

A plan to replace Hanalei Bridge with a more modern, two-lane, concrete structure was proposed by the Department of Transportation in 1974. Community input encouraged preservation, and a grassroots movement to save the historic Hanalei Bridge led to a commitment to restore the existing structure rather than replace it.[xxxix]

The cost of repairing and restoring Hanalei Bridge was $442,000 and increased the bridge’s load limit. Work included truss reinforcements, replacing decking and timber stringers, prestressing of the floor beams, and painting the bridge.[xl] On May 24, 1989, a dedication ceremony was held to celebrate the completion of the bridge work.

In 1999, bridge inspections identified the need for more repairs, and it was determined that the original Pratt trusses had to be removed or replaced. Also needing repairs were the Warren trusses, which had been added in 1967 and supported most of the weight going over the bridge.

Repair and restoration work on Hanalei Bridge took place in 2002-2003 after a national travel magazine had rated the bridge as one of the United States’ most dangerous. The repair work attempted to replicate the bridge’s original truss structure.

A blessing for the restored Hanalei Bridge was attended by United States Senator Daniel Inouye as well as members of the Hanalei Roads Committee who had worked for many years to preserve the historic character of the bridge.[xli]

The Boating Controversy

In the 1970s, a tour-boat industry emerged on Kaua‘i’s north shore to provide access to the Nāpali Coast, which spans for about 15 miles of rugged shoreline between the beaches of Kē‘ē on the northwest side of Kaua‘i and Polihale on the southwest side.

The Nāpali is truly one of Earth’s natural wonders, with cliffs rising up steeply for thousands of feet into pointed spires and sharp ridges where volcanic pinnacles stand sentinel over deep, ancient valleys.

Tour companies initially launched their boats primarily from Hanalei Bay and nearby Hā‘ena at Makua (Tunnels) Beach. Many companies used the protected waters of the large Hanalei rivermouth to service their boats and to load and unload passengers.

The number of tour boats serving the north shore grew quickly, and by the mid-1980s tour boat owners were increasingly at odds with government agencies and local groups concerned about increases in traffic at beach parks, unenforced permitting regulations, and negative environmental impacts to Hanalei Bay and Hanalei River.

Ambiguity regarding rules, jurisdictions, and permits resulted in numerous lawsuits in the late 1980s. A 1989 ruling by a Third Circuit Judge prohibited tour boat activity at the Hanalei rivermouth until county permits were acquired by business owners. Unpermitted tours continued to operate from Hanalei, however, and some boat crews were confronted by protesters who claimed that the commercial boating activities were illegal.

Despite the controversy, the number of daily boat tours and charters continued to increase, and included fishing boats, sailboats, kayaks, catamarans, motorized rubber rafts, and various other vessels that primarily provided tourists with access to the Nāpali Coast. The legality of boating industry activities was bitterly contested and increasingly contentious, and attempts at mediation by then-Mayor JoAnn Yukimura were unsuccessful.

In July of 1991 the Department of Transportation began to enforce the rules against unpermitted boating activities. Eight days later the enforcement was halted, and the citations that had previously been issued were later withdrawn.

A series of community meetings orchestrated by Mayor Yukimura resulted in the Hanalei Estuary Management Plan, adopted on September 10, 1992 on the evening before Hurricane ‘Iniki.

Seven commercial boating permits were issued in June of 1993, and the state later issued more than 100 citations for unpermitted activity, but these too were later withdrawn. Then a new mayor, Maryanne Kusaka, then took office and asked the state to withhold enforcement.

During the election season of 1998, Governor Benjamin Cayetano ordered all boat companies to stop running tours from Hanalei Bay, and instead move to official Kaua‘i harbors.

In September of 1999, the DLNR attempted to stop the final two motorized boat companies from running tours from Hanalei by refusing to reissue state permits, and in response the companies sued the State of Hawai‘i.

In January of 2000 a Circuit Judge ruled against the DLNR for not following proper procedures, and allowed the two companies to continue their operations. The DLNR immediately began a new process aimed at banning motorized commercial tour boats from the Hanalei Bay.

In May of 2000, the DLNR issued new rules allowing two kayaking companies to operate, but the two remaining powerboat companies and three remaining sailboat companies were facing an imminent demise. In 2002, the last companies to hold county permits for boat tours from Hanalei went to federal court seeking to block the state’s attempt to evict them from Hanalei.

A U.S. District Judge agreed with the boat companies, ruling that “Hanalei Bay and parts of Hanalei River are federal navigable waterways and that the state can’t ban commercial boat traffic there.”[xlii] This effectively reversed the earlier proclamation of Governor Cayetano that had brought an abrupt halt to commercial boating from Hanalei in 1998. Tour boats have largely disappeared from Hanalei waters, yet the future of the industry on Kaua‘i’s north shore remains uncertain.

[Illustration: Surfboards]

Surfing in Ancient Times

Hawaiians have surfed the ocean waves for many hundreds of years. They carved petroglyphs of surfers into lava rocks, and told stories of surfing in ancient Hawaiian chants. Papa he‘e nalu (surfboards) were up to 16 feet long and weighing as much as 175 pounds.

A stone or bone adze was used to carve the surfboard from the buoyant wood of wiliwili, koa, or ‘ulu (breadfruit) trees,[xliii] and then ‘ōahi (rough stone) or pōhaku puna (granulated coral) was used to put a smooth finish on the board.

Root of kī (ti), pounded bark of kukui, or stain from the buds of mai‘a (banana) was used for a final coat, and a dark stain color was also achieved by rubbing the soot from burned kukui nuts into the wood. Oil of kukui nuts gave the surfboard a glossy finish.

The surfboard was dedicated before taking it in the ocean, and then after each surf session the board was treated with oil of niu (coconut). When the surfboard was not being used it was wrapped in kapa barkcloth.

Today many well-known surfboard shapers live in the Hanalei area, including Bobby Allen (BASA), Billy Hamilton (Hamilton Surfboards), Mark Sausen (Papa Sau Surfboards), Dick Brewer (Brewer Surfboards), Terry Chung (Terry Chung Surfboards), and Ian Vernon (Sunburnt Surfboards).

Modern surfboard makers primarily shape foam “blanks” into finished boards that are “glassed” (coated with a liquid resin that hardens). In the last few years factory-produced surfboards made from epoxy have become increasingly popular.

[Photograph: Traditional Hawaiian surfboard]

Hanalei Today—Surfing

Hawai‘i is a mecca for surfers who come from all over the world to test themselves on the large and challenging waves. Every winter a series of huge storm systems are generated off of the Asian landmass, grow over the Bering Sea, and generate enormous swells that propel large ocean waves steadily toward Hawai‘i’s northern shores.

If an experienced local surfer says he surfed Hanalei or The Bay it usually refers to the “point break” directly out from Hanalei Pier. There on the east side of the bay a fringing coral reef provides optimal conditions for well-formed breaking waves.

Along the length of Hanalei Bay are about a dozen other surf spots—Kiddies (near Hanalei Pier), then Pavilions, the Cape, Pine Trees, Grandpas, Middles, Chicken Wing, Waipā, and finally Waikokos at the far western side of the bay.

Far offshore on the western side of Hanalei Bay is Queens reef, while far offshore on the eastern side of the bay is Kings. Both Kings and Queens only have breaking waves when extremely large swells arrive from the north, and this usually only occurs just a few times a year or less.

The giant winter waves at the point breaks and outer reefs on Kaua‘i’s north shore are the stuff of legends. The mountainous waves arriving at Kings and Queens more than a mile offshore in Hanalei Bay rival any surf spot in the world.

Kings Reef is traditionally known as Ali‘i Reef, and was first surfed on November 10, 1996 by Titus Kinimaka and Terry Chung, two of Kaua‘i’s renowned local watermen who used a jet ski to tow each other into the massive waves. Chung had previously scuba dived the coral and rock reef at Kings, noting that it was about 50 to 70 feet deep with a rock shelf dropping off to about 120 feet.[xliv]

The accomplishment of Kinimaka and Chung surfing Kings occurred early in the evolution of the sport of tow-in surfing (using powered craft to pull a surfer into a giant wave). In recent years many technological improvements have been made to tow-in surfboards and other equipment used to surf giant ocean waves. Daring surfers will continue to explore Kaua‘i’s outer reefs during the biggest of winter swells.

The sport of surfing has exploded in popularity during the last decade. Some new water sports have also become increasingly popular, including kite surfing (in which the surfer is pulled by a large parachute-like kite) as well as tow-in surfing. Also still popular is the more traditional sport of windsurfing, using a sail attached to the board to provide speed.

[Photograph: Surfing in Hanalei]

[Photo caption:]

The Hawaiian term for surfing is he‘e nalu, which literally means “to ride the waves”.

A Pod of Whales in Hanalei Bay

On July 3, 2004, four Kaua‘i Police Department officers and local water safety officers were called to Hanalei Bay to keep beach-goers away from 150-200 melon headed whales congregating near the shoreline.

Melon headed whales are a relatively small and slender species with a melon-shaped head. They are deep water whales, usually staying at least 20 miles offshore in pods that range in size from about 100 to 500 members.

Bluish-black to dark grey or brown in color, the whales have a white patch on their belly and white lips. Adults reach about nine feet long and weigh up to 600 pounds, feeding on squid, shrimp, and fish.

The pod of melon headed whales first came into Hanalei Bay about 7 a.m. near Pine Trees beach, where they swam in a dense cluster very close to shore. Occasionally the whales broke into several pods and then slowly rejoined as they all moved slowly eastward along the shore, eventually congregating near Pavilions beach.

[Photograph: Melon headed whales]

The next day, the 4th of July, the whale pod remained very near the Hanalei Bay shoreline as marine officials devised a plan to use a string of connected kayaks to nudge the cetaceans out of the bay. The kayaks were hooked together on the beach, but just before this plan was put into action by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officials, a group of local Hawaiian members of the Hanalei Canoe Club suggested a less cumbersome and more natural method of solving the problem.

The plan of the Canoe Club members was to use a long woven strand of pōhuehue (beach morning glory vine) to gently shepherd the whales from the bay. This hardy vine grows plentifully along the Hanalei Bay shoreline at the high water mark, and was thought to be a safer and less intrusive method than using kayaks to move the pod out to sea. The vines would also be harmless if run into by the dolphins.

When the woven strand of pōhuehue was completed it was about 600 feet long, and canoe club members used two small boats to lay the strand across the water near the whales and then very slowly pull the two ends of the strand seaward to gently nudge the whales out to sea. Within about an hour the whales had moved into deeper waters, and then they suddenly headed for the open sea.

The whale pod had been eerily inactive during the previous day near the shore of Hanalei Bay, but as the whales disappeared toward the horizon many were leaping above the water as if to celebrate their regained freedom. It seemed to be a storybook ending to the near mass stranding. Sadly, the next day one infant melon headed calf about three feet long was found dead in Hanalei Bay near Waipā Stream.

The precise cause of the unusual appearance of the melon headed whales in Hanalei Bay is uncertain, however many attribute the event to the Navy’s testing of mid-frequency, active sonar as part of the RIMPAC (Rim of the Pacific) military exercises that take place in Hawaiian waters every two years and involve many different countries.

The 2004 RIMPAC exercises involved eight countries, including about 18,000 troops, 100 aircraft, more than 40 ships and seven submarines. The military exercises have been held in Hawaiian waters 19 times since 1968. A goal of the 2004 sonar tests during the RIMPAC exercises was to refine the military’s ability to utilize high-volume sounds to locate submarines.

The sonar tests involved a ship tracking an underwater torpedo that produced sonar readings similar to a submarine. Military ships were operating sonar periodically during the 20 hours before the whales entered Hanalei Bay, and two of the U.S. Navy ships and four Japanese ships were located 19 miles off Kaua‘i’s north shore when the whales showed up in Hanalei Bay.

Two of the military ships reported using their sonar between 6:45 and 7:10 a.m., and the whales in Hanalei Bay were first reported around 7:00 a.m. The Navy was quickly informed of the strange appearance of the whale pod in Hanalei Bay, and within hours their active sonar operations were temporarily suspended as a precaution to protect the marine mammals.

In April of 2006, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists concluded that the sonar may have been a contributing cause of the whales congregating in Hanalei Bay. The results of the investigation led to official requests by NOAA for the Navy to adjust their methods in experimenting with the sonar equipment in future RIMPAC exercises.

Puff the Magic Dragon

“Puff, the magic dragon,” according to the song’s lyrics, “lived by the sea and frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called Honah Lee,” leading some people to think the song refers to Hanalei. Indeed the mountains around Hanalei Bay are shaped in such a way that it is not at all difficult to envision the shape of a dragon wrapped around the coastline, its head laid down at the west end of the bay.

Written by band member Peter Yarrow and his Cornell classmate Leonard Lipton, the song was originally performed by the 1960s musical group Peter, Paul & Mary. Yarrow dispelled the notion of a Hanalei connection, saying it was “serendipitous coincidence.” The song was instead based on a poem about a dragon written by Ogden Nash.[xlv]

[Photograph: View of mountains on west side of bay (dragon shape).]

The Tahiti Nui

Bruce Truesdale Marston came from Pasadena, California and met his wife Louise in Tahiti. They built a house at ‘Anini because it reminded them of Tahiti, and in the summer of 1964 they opened Tahiti Nui in Hanalei.

Tahiti Nui became known as the north shore’s best-known gathering place, hosting visiting celebrities and featuring local singers, musicians, hula dancing, and the beautiful singing of “Aunty Louise” herself, who was for decades considered the best known woman on Kaua‘i’s north shore.

[Photograph: Louise Marston (1928-2003).]


Birds of Hanalei

Native Waterbirds[xlvi]

Ø Ae‘o—Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni

Ø ‘Alae Ke‘oke—Hawaiian Coot

Fulica americana alai

Ø Koloa Maoli—Hawaiian Duck

Anas wyvilliana

Ø ‘Alae ‘Ula—Hawaiian Moorhen

Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis

Ø ‘Auku‘u—Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli

Open Country Birds

Ø Nēnē—Hawaiian Goose

Branta sandvicensis

Migratory Species—Seasonal Residents and Occasional Visitors

Ø Kōlea—Pacific Golden Plover

Pluvialis fulva

Ø Mōlī—Laysan Albatross

Diomedea immutabilis

Ø Koloa Mohā—Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Ø Koloa Māpu—Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

Ø Hunakai—Sanderling

Calidris alba

Ø Green-Winged Teal

Anas crecca

Ø Blue-Winged Teal

Anas discors

Ø Bufflehead

Bucephala albeola

Ø Baikal Teal

Anas formosa

Ø White-Faced Ibis

Plegadis chihi


Ø ‘Iwa—Great Frigatebird

Fregata minor palmerstoni

Ø ‘A‘o—Newell’s (Townsend’s) Shearwater

Puffinus auricularis newelli

Ø ‘Ua‘u Kani—Wedge-Tailed Shearwater

Puffinus pacificus chlororhynchus

Ø Koa‘e Kea—White-Tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon lepturus dorotheae

Ø Koa‘e ‘UlaRed-Tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon rubricauda rothschildi


Native Waterbirds[xlviii]

Ø Ae‘o—Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt

Himantopus mexicanus knudseni

Ø ‘Alae Ke‘oke—Hawaiian Coot

Fulica americana alai

Ø Koloa Maoli—Hawaiian Duck

Anas wyvilliana

Ø ‘Alae ‘Ula—Hawaiian Moorhen  

Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis

Ø ‘Auku‘u—Black-Crowned Night-Heron

Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli

[Photograph: Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt]

[Photograph Caption:]

Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni)

Hawaiian Name: Ae‘o (“One standing tall”)

Endemic Subspecies.

Status: Endangered Species. Found on Hawai‘i, Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.

Ae‘o—Hawaiian Black-Necked Stilt

Often seen in the taro patches of Hanalei Valley, the Hawaiian Black-necked stilt is perfectly suited to a wetland environment. The stilt is a wading bird easily identified by its black and white forehead, white breast, and long, skinny pink legs that are jointed and bend in the opposite direction of the human leg.

Hawai‘i’s Black-necked stilts (ae‘o) constitute a subspecies of the Black-necked stilts found in North and South America, which have less black on their neck and face, and a shorter bill and tail. North American stilts are found as far south as Brazil and also in the Galapagos Islands.

The biggest populations of Hawaiian stilts are on Maui, Kaua‘i and O‘ahu, numbering about 1,600 in all. Stilts are found on O‘ahu, Hawai‘i Island, Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, Kaua‘i and Ni‘ihau.

In the Hawaiian Islands, stilts were once hunted as game birds. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the Hawaiian subspecies as endangered on October 13, 1970.

Hawaiian stilts are also known as kukuluae‘o, a Hawaiian term that also refers to wooden stilts used for amusement by Hawaiian children in ancient times.

He kukuluāe‘o.

A stilt.

A thin, long-legged person.[xlix]

Hawaiian Black-necked stilts are wading birds that often gather in groups. They make a chirping sound similar to “kip kip” or “keek, keek” and use their long beaks to probe the shallow water mud flats for worms, aquatic insects, crabs, fish, and mollusks.

Stilt breeding and nesting season extends from December to August, but mainly from March to August. The stilt builds a nest in a shallow depression in a small mound, often on the banks of taro patches or in low-lying vegetation areas near the water, and lines the nest with rocks and twigs. The female stilt then lays, on average, four well-camouflaged eggs that incubate for 24 to 26 days.

Stilt chicks are covered with a downy, tannish-brown coat speckled with black. They leave the nest soon after hatching and generally hide under cover until ready to fly.

Parents don’t feed the chick but instead help them find suitable food sources. Parents sometimes feign injury (a broken wing) in order to draw predators away from the nest and hatchlings.

Many hatchling chicks don’t make it through their first months. For example, at least 44 stilt chicks were hatched on Kaua‘i’s Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge in 1994, but only one was observed to have fledged.

The precise causes for this low survival rate are unknown, but all of the following may play a role: diseases, parasites, poor food supply and/or food quality, and predation by bullfrogs, cats, dogs, pigs, owls, and possibly also cattle egrets and black-crowned night-heron. Large introduced bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) also have been seen preying on stilt chicks.

Historically, stilt populations have also suffered due to loss of wetland habitat as well as the proliferation of invasive, non-native plant species. Many stilts have died due to a soil bacteria that has caused botulism in the stilts’ food sources. This has caused sporadic but large die-offs of affected birds.

[Photograph: Hawaiian Coot]

[Photograph Caption:]

Hawaiian Coot (Fulica alai)

Hawaiian Name: ‘Alae Ke‘oke‘o or ‘Alae Kea.

Endemic Subspecies.

Status: Endangered Species. Found on Hawai‘i, Maui, Lāna‘i, Moloka‘i, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i.

‘Alae Ke‘oke—Hawaiian Coot

‘Alae ke‘oke‘o, the Hawaiian coot, is commonly seen inhabiting Hanalei taro patches. A subspecies of the American coot, the Hawaiian coot is about 14½ inches (37 cm) long, and mostly dark gray to black on top with white undertail feathers. The bill is ivory white, and so is the bulbous frontal shield, which is also called the frontal knob.

While the Hawaiian moorhen (‘alae ‘ula) has a red bill (‘ula means red), the Hawaiian coot (‘alae ke‘oke or ‘alae kea) has a white bill (ke‘oke‘o and kea both mean “white”). Rarely a coot will have a brown or red frontal shield.

The Hawaiian coot, was formerly considered a subspecies of the American coot (Fulica americana), which is found from Panama to Canada and occasionally seen in Hawai‘i.

The Hawaiian coot, now classified as a unique species (Fulica alai), and is generally darker, has a larger frontal shield, and a more slender bill than its North American relatives. The Hawaiian coot also displays different patterns of white on its head than the American coot.

Coots feed on insects, fish, and tadpoles as well as leaves and seeds of aquatic plants. Coots don’t fly much, though they are sometimes seen flying over low over the water. Nesting occurs throughout the year, particularly between March and September, on wetland vegetation or in taro patches where coots use sedges, taro stems, or other aquatic plants to construct nests that may rise and fall with changing water levels.

Coots lay on average four to six eggs, which are creamy to tan-colored and speckled with black. The eggs incubate for three to four weeks. The coot chick is downy black with a reddish-orange neck and head, and a black-tipped bill. The bird has a baldish appearance due to the absence of down on the crown and forehead. Soon after hatching, the chicks are able to swim.

The largest coot populations are found on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, and Maui, with a total population of about 2,000 to 4,000 birds. Coots are known to fly between the Hawaiian Islands.

[Photograph: Coot chick]

[Photograph: Hawaiian Duck]

[Photograph Caption:]

Hawaiian Duck (Anas wyvilliana)

Hawaiian Name: Koloa Maoli (“Native Duck”).

Endemic Species.

Status: Endangered Species. Found on Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i; possibly extinct on Maui.

Koloa—Hawaiian Duck

The koloa population is estimated at less than 2,500 birds overall, and more than 80% of them are on Kaua‘i.

Koloa are widely distributed on Kaua‘i, where more than 80% of all koloa are found. Koloa were once abundant on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Lāna‘i and Kaho‘olawe.

By 1915 koloa had become rare on all of the Hawaiian Islands except Kaua‘i. The koloa was listed as a federally endangered species in 1967. The koloa is currently listed as endangered on Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, and listed as endangered and possibly extinct on Maui.

In addition to many other threats to this wetland species, koloa chicks may be eaten by dogs, cats, pigs, muskrats, rats, bass, and bullfrogs. Some koloa have been relocated to the islands of O‘ahu and Hawai‘i. Two of the largest koloa populations are found at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge and the Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond.

The common mallard is found in North America, Europe and Asia. The endemic Hawaiian species closely resembles the female North American mallard. One threat to the koloa comes from interbreeding with domestic mallards, resulting in hybridization of the endemic Hawaiian species, which evolved from the common mallard (Anas platyrhynchos).

The koloa populations on Kaua‘i in Hanalei Valley and at the Alekoko (Menehune) Fishpond are thought to be the least hybridized (and thus the most genetically pure).

The koloa is mottled golden brown in color, with a greenish head and olive-colored bill. Male koloa are about 20 inches long while female koloa are about 17 inches long. Male koloa have a darker head than females, and some females have an orange-tipped bill.

The koloa’s secondary wing feathers (speculum) are greenish-blue to metallic purple in color with white borders, and the duck’s feet and legs are orange. Koloa eat insects, mollusks, and aquatic vegetation. Breeding and nesting occur year round, particularly between December and May beginning at about one year of age.

Koloa nest in low elevation wetland areas as well as near mountain streams, rivermouths, and taro patches. Koloa use feathers and down to build a well-hidden nest, and then lay from two to ten white to tan-colored eggs.

The koloa’s average clutch size is eight eggs. Koloa eggs incubate for about 28 days before hatching, and after about nine weeks the birds learn to fly.

[Photograph: Hawaiian Moorhen]

[Photograph Caption:]

Hawaiian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis)

Also called: Hawaiian Gallinule or Mudhen.

Hawaiian Name: ‘Alae ‘Ula (“Red forehead”).

Endemic Subspecies.

Status: Endangered Species. Found on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i; possibly extinct on Hawai‘i, Maui and Moloka‘i.

‘Alae ‘Ula—Hawaiian Moorhen

The Hawaiian moorhen is easily identified by its bright red forehead (frontal shield), and is frequently seen at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaiian moorhen (‘alae ‘ula) is a subspecies of North America’s common moorhen, also found in Eurasia.

Also called the Hawaiian gallinule, the moorhen is thought to have been quite common throughout the Hawaiian Islands in the 1800s before the population declined rapidly in the early to mid-1900s.

The moorhen is listed as endangered on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, and endangered and possibly extinct on Maui, Hawai‘i, and Moloka‘i. The Hawaiian moorhen was federally listed as endangered in 1967 and remains an endangered species today.

A 1982 count by the State Division of Forestry and Wildlife documented 194 moorhen on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i with perhaps a few scattered birds on Maui and Moloka‘i. In the 1970s and 1980s, aquaculture and taro cultivation created more suitable moorhen habitat, increasing the bird’s survival rate.

The moorhen’s secretive nature leads to uncertainty in current population estimates, which range from 150 to 900 birds left in the wild. Moorhen are found only on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i, with few to none on Maui and Moloka‘i and probably none on Hawai‘i. Efforts to reintroduce moorhen on Hawai‘i and Maui have not been successful.

Hawaiian legend tells of how the ‘alae ‘ula brought fire from the gods to the Hawaiian people. During the journey, the moorhen was scorched by the flames, giving the bird its red frontal shield. The demigod Māui, seeking to learn the secret of making fire, caught the ‘alae ‘ula before it could hide.[l]

The adult Hawaiian moorhen is about 13 inches long, with a black head and neck, and a slate-gray to bluish-black back that may be somewhat iridescent. The flanks and undertail feathers of moorhen are white, and the bird’s red bill has a yellow to light green tip.

Aside from its red shield, the moorhen’s dark gray plumage looks very similar to the Hawaiian coot (‘alae ke‘oke‘o). The feet are not webbed, and the yellowish-green legs and feet may show red near the top.

Moorhen are generally shy and secretive, inhabiting freshwater marshes and other wetlands, including taro patches. Moorhen like to hide in dense cover, usually only coming out into the open in the morning and evening to feed. They are adept at walking across floating vegetation to feed on mollusks, insects, and aquatic plants such as taro tops and young shoots.

Moorhen courtship behavior includes bowing and arching as well as nibbling. The main breeding period is March through August, though moorhen may breed year round. During breeding season the bird’s frontal shield may become enlarged and deeper red in color. A well-hidden nest is built from plants and mud, often on folded reeds.

Moorhen lay from five to nine cream-colored eggs, which are spotted with grey, black and brown, and incubate for about 22 days. The downy moorhen chick has a bright red bill and pale yellow to brown body, and is able to swim soon after hatching. Immature (juvenile) moorhen are olive-brown to grayish-brown in color.

[Photograph: Black-Crowned Night-Heron]

[Photograph Caption:]

Black-Crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax hoactli)

Hawaiian Name: ‘Auku‘u.

Indigenous: American continent.

‘Auku‘u—Black-Crowned Night-Heron

The night-heron is often seen on the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge as well as near the mouth of the Hanalei River. Adult night-heron are about 25 inches long and mostly gray, with yellow legs and a black head, back, and bill.

The Black-crowned night-heron in the Hawaiian Islands is indistinguishable from the North American Black-crowned night-heron. The night-heron’s wingspan is almost four feet.

Night-heron are often seen standing motionless at the edges of lagoons, marshes, canefield ditches, taro patches, and exposed reef areas. They may be heard making a fairly loud “kwok” sound while flying.

When in breeding plumage, the male night-heron develops four or five long, white head plumes; the female may have just two or three. These white nuptial plumes grow out from the back region of the bird’s head. Immature night-heron are streaked with white and brownish-rust colors that turn grayish as the bird matures.

Kohā ka leo o ka ‘auku‘u

The voice of the ‘auku‘u is heard to croak

A snooping gossip. The ‘auku‘u bird lives in the upland and goes to the lowland for fish, often snatching them from people’s ponds.”[li]

The Black-crowned night-heron is a solitary wading bird that feeds primarily on crustaceans and fish. Night-heron also eat mice, frogs, aquatic insects, and chicks of other bird species (e.g., Hawaiian Black-necked stilts, Brown noddies, Sooty terns).

The night heron feeds during the night as well as during the day, but is most active at dawn and dusk, looking for prey beneath the water. Breeding occurs around May, when the night heron uses large sticks and twigs to construct a nest in a tree, and then lays two to four, bluish-green eggs.
Open Country Birds

Nēnē—Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis)

[Photograph: Nēnē]

[Photograph Caption:]

Nēnē—The Hawaiian Goose (Branta sandvicensis).

Endemic Species.

Status: Endangered Species. Found on Maui, Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i.

Recent releases on Moloka‘i.

Nēnē—Hawaiian Goose

Kaua‘i’s nēnē population has grown rapidly during the last two decades, and nēnē flocks now inhabit many low elevation habitats, including lower Hanalei Valley, as well as higher elevations including Kōke‘e State Park.

Genetic research has revealed that there was a marked decline in the population of nēnē (and other bird species) between about 1100 A.D. and 1750 A.D. These population declines (and in some case extinctions) in native Hawaiian bird species in the centuries before Western contact with the Hawaiian Islands is generally attributed to Hawaiians hunting the birds for food.

Fossil records show that nēnē were once common at lower elevations on Kaua‘i, but then became extinct by the time Captain Cook arrived in 1778. Apparently the early Polynesian settlers had eliminated the nēnē on Kaua‘i, but the birds survived on other Hawaiian Islands.

There were an estimated 25,000 nēnē living on Hawai‘i in 1778. Predatory animals, habitat destruction, hunting, and egg collecting eventually decimated the nēnē populations of all the Hawaiian Islands.

The nēnē’s ancestors are Canadian geese. They likely first arrived in the Hawaiian Islands after being blown off course or caught in a storm many thousands of years ago. The goose then evolved into a unique Hawaiian species that is now Hawai‘i’s official state bird.

Nēnē are about two feet long, typical size for geese. The head, face, and the back of the neck (the nape) are black, while the cheeks and the sides of the neck are a light tan color, with a buffy striped pattern (distinct horizontal bands). The bird’s lower body has this same light brown color and is striped, but the top of the body is a darker gray or brown.

The nēnē’s bill, legs, and feet are black. The webbing between the toes on the nēnē’s feet is much reduced compared to the fuller webbing on the feet of its ancestor, the Canadian goose. The nēnē’s webbing is an adaptation better suited for walking on high, dry lava flows, a habitat frequented by nēnē on Hawai‘i Island.

In flight, the sound of the nēnē is something like “ney ney.” On the ground, however, nēnē often make a noise more comparable to a cow’s moo. Nēnē aren’t very shy, and sometimes approach humans.

“Unele! Unele!” wahi a ka nēnē.

“Honk! Honk!” says the goose.[lii]

The nēnē builds its nest on the ground and lines it with feathers. This ground nesting makes them vulnerable to non-native predators, which is one reason nēnē almost became extinct.

Ground predators of nēnē include mongooses, pigs, rats, and domestic animals. Kaua‘i is now considered the best Hawaiian Island for nēnē because there are no mongooses, which are well-established on the other Hawaiian Islands.

By the age of two, nēnē begin laying eggs, nesting between October and March, and laying on average four or five creamy, white eggs. The mother goose sits on the eggs, which incubate for about 30 days. When the mother leaves the nest she covers the eggs with downy feathers from the nest lining.

During nesting, nēnē adults go through a four to six week process called molting, and they cannot fly during this time. The infant chick is able to run around just as soon as its downy feathers dry.

The chick’s parents provide food for the baby until the hatchling is about ten to twelve weeks old, when the gosling learns to fly.


Migratory Species—Seasonal Residents and Occasional Visitors

Ø Kōlea—Pacific Golden Plover

Pluvialis fulva

Ø Mōlī—Laysan Albatross

Diomedea immutabilis

Ø Koloa Mohā—Northern Shoveler

Anas clypeata

Ø Koloa Māpu—Northern Pintail

Anas acuta

Ø Hunakai—Sanderling

Calidris alba

Ø Green-Winged Teal

Anas crecca

Ø Blue-Winged Teal

Anas discors

Ø Bufflehead

Bucephala albeola

Ø Baikal Teal

Anas formosa

Ø White-Faced Ibis

Plegadis chihi

The migratory bird species described in this section may be seen on the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, except for sanderlings, plovers, and albatross, which are more commonly seen elsewhere in the region.

Sanderlings are often seen along the sandy shoreline of Hanalei Bay, while plovers are seen on the grass lawns of Wai‘oli Park or in the yards of local residents. Albatross are rarely seen at the Refuge but frequently seen along the ocean cliffs of Princeville and in nearby yards, as well as atop the ocean cliffs that extend toward Kīlauea and beyond.

All of these migratory bird species are considered native to the Hawaiian Islands, though some are considered non-resident migratory birds and only spend a relatively short time in Hawai‘i before moving on along their migratory routes.

[Photograph: Pacific Golden Plover]

Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Hawaiian Name: Kōlea.

Migratory: In Hawai‘i approximately from September to May.

Kōlea kai piha.

Plover, bird of high tides.

The plover feeds along the edge of the sea.[liii]

Kōlea—Pacific Golden Plover

Pacific golden plovers are about eleven inches long, weigh about ½-pound, and live to about eight years of age. Plovers are dark brown, and spotted with gold on top, but paler on the underside, with a large, dark eye region and a fairly large head relative to their body.

Migrating to the Hawaiian Islands during fall to feed, plovers return north to Alaska again for the summer months to lay their eggs. This is similar to the migration pattern of koholā (humpback whales) that also spend their winters in Hawai‘i and return north for summer, but whales give birth in Hawaiian waters and feed in their northern habitat, while the plovers feed in the Islands and lay their eggs in the north.

After spending May, June, and July on the Alaskan tundra, plovers head south around August. Some plovers arrive in Hawai‘i as early as July. The plovers often arrive in flocks that disperse once they reach the Hawaiian Islands. The plover’s non-stop flight between Alaska and Hawai‘i may cover more than 3,500 miles (5,633 km) but takes less than three days.[liv]

Before leaving the Hawaiian Islands in April, the female plover molts into a beautiful beige-gold breeding plumage. The male plover gets a “tuxedo” look, with a pure white stripe along the sides of the head and down the neck. The abdomen, breast, cheek, and throat are black.

During its winter stay in the Hawaiian Islands, the plover feeds on insects and other invertebrates, as well as certain flowers and leaves. Plovers often run in short bursts, intermittently stopping to look for insects, and feed for about four months in the Hawaiian Islands to fatten up for the long journey north.

Plovers are known to return to the same general area each year to feed, and often return to the very same patch of lawn or pasture where they remain throughout the season. In the Hawaiian Islands the plover is very territorial, and will defend its feeding area against other plovers, though it will often ignore other bird species. Some plovers move around a bit more, and are not as territorial when it comes to their feeding grounds.

Plovers are generally solitary birds during their stay in Hawai‘i, often gathering together in large flocks just before they head north. During their long migration, plovers fly at elevations up to 20,000 feet at speeds of about 60 to 70 miles per hour, and with a tailwind they may exceed 100 mph,[lv] completing the flight to the northern breeding grounds in about 50 to 60 hours.

Once plovers reach their nesting grounds on the Alaskan and Siberian tundra, the male builds a nest lined with lichens and leaves. Plovers typically lay four, greenish-brown eggs, one every other day. The eggs are incubated by the female at night and the male during the day. Males also share in the duties of caring for the chick

Less than a month after hatching, the downy goslings and ducklings begin to fledge (learn to fly). In early August the parents leave, and then the chicks follow about one or two months later. Somehow the new generation of plovers finds their way to the remote Hawaiian archipelago thousands of miles away, and then they too repeat the journey each year.

Plovers have also been seen in South Pacific Islands, and these plovers may be migrating much farther than the birds that winter in Hawai‘i. Some plovers may remain in the Hawaiian Islands during the summer months.

Researchers are working to track plover migrations, estimate population size, and learn more about plovers are being coordinated through the website: www.hawaii.edu/bird. The Pacific golden plover population is currently estimated at about 2,500 birds.

[Photograph: Laysan Albatross]

Mōlī—Laysan Albatross (Diomedea immutabilis).

Hawaiian Name: Mōlī.

Migratory: Seasonal Resident (in Hawai‘i approximately from October to July).

Mōlī—Laysan Albatross

Laysan albatross are white, with black on their upper wings and around their eyes, and may be nearly three feet long with a wingspan of up to 80 inches.[lvi] Adult Laysan albatross weigh from five to seven pounds, making them the largest seabirds in the entire Pacific region.

Adult albatross perform elaborate courtship dances with each other along Princeville’s oceanside cliffs and other nearby coastal bluffs. Then they breed, nest, lay their eggs, and nurture their young. The fat and fluffy baby albatross sometimes appear to be even bigger than their parents.

Soon the albatross parents leave, and the young ones must learn to fly on their own. When the fledglings finally heads out to sea, they won’t return until years later when they are ready to nest.

Laysan albatross sometimes have difficulty taking off for flight unless they can run down a slope or use some other suitable launching area. Once in the air, however, Laysan albatross are superb fliers able to soar for hours without flapping their wings, and sometimes even sleeping while airborne.

Albatross may live for over 40 years, and may stay at sea up to five or more years before returning to land to nest. The birds spend the summer months 1,000 miles or more from Hawai‘i over the waters of the North Pacific. Laysan albatross feed mostly on large squid as well as the eggs of the mālolo (flying fish). The albatross fish from a sitting position on the surface, making them vulnerable to shark attacks.

Laysan albatross usually arrive in the Hawaiian Islands by late October or early November, and stay at their nesting areas until June or July. From their nesting areas the albatross may fly thousands of miles in search of food before returning to feed their young.

Laysan albatross prefer to nest in the same area where they were born, and tend to mate with the same partner for life. The female lays one egg in a nest depression, usually in November or December. The parents alternate tending the egg, which incubates for about two months before hatching.[lvii] After about 5½ months the chicks fledge (learn to fly).

During albatross nesting season in the Hawaiian Islands, the birds perform bizarre mating dances that include prancing around with their mate and thrusting their beaks skyward along with bill snapping and vocalizations. These courtship displays, as well as the difficulty the chicks have learning to fly, are likely reasons for the nickname “gooney bird.”

On Kaua‘i, Laysan albatross have been making a comeback, particularly at Kīlauea Lighthouse National Wildlife Refuge on the island’s north shore, and at the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kaua‘i’s southwest shore. Most albatross in the Hawaiian archipelago are found on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, a group of reefs, islets and atolls located hundreds of miles northwest of Kaua‘i.

At the far northwest of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are the French Frigate Shoals, Midway Atoll and Kure Atoll, which are home to Hawai‘i’s largest albatross populations. Midway Atoll has the largest Laysan albatross population anywhere, with nearly 400,000 nesting pairs.

Midway also has nearly 20,000 black-footed albatross (Diomeda nigripes) and there are occasional sightings of the rarely seen short-tailed albatross (Diomedea albatrus), which is federally listed as an endangered species. The short-tailed albatross is also known as the golden gooney because of its yellow head and neck feathers and its pink bill.

[Photograph: Northern Shoveler]

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)

Hawaiian Name: Koloa Mohā.

Migratory Waterbird: Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.

Koloa Mohā—Northern Shoveler

The northern shoveler is a small duck distinguished by its orange legs and feet, its long and broad, spatulate (spoon-shaped) bill, and a patch of blue on the forewing in both sexes. Northern shovelers are about 17 to 20 inches (43 to 51 cm) long.

The male northern shoveler is dark on top with a white breast and a dark green head. The bill is black on drakes, and brown (bordered with orange) on hens. The bird’s sides and belly are rufous-colored (reddish, rusty, or chestnut), and the posterior is black.

In autumn, the male northern shoveler may have a fuzzy crescent of white in front of the eye region. Females are mottled brown (sandy) in color with an orange bill, while males have a black bill.[lviii]

[Photograph: Northern Pintail]

Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)

Hawaiian Name: Koloa Māpu (“Wind-blown Duck”)[lix]

Migratory Waterbird: Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i (relatively common).

Koloa Māpu—Northern Pintail

The northern pintail is a relatively common visitor to the Hawaiian Islands, and is distinguished by its long slender neck, long pointed tail, and narrow, brown speculum (secondary wing feathers) with a white border on the rear edge.

The male northern pintail is about 28 inches long and generally grayish in color, with a white breast and dark brown head. A vertical line of white runs up the male’s neck and comes to a point on the side of the head.

Female northern pintails are smaller than males, measuring about 21 inches long and mottled brown in color with a gray to dark bill. The female’s sharp-pointed tail is shorter than the tail of the male. Northern pintails range from the northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere to their wintering grounds as far south as the northern parts of South America, Africa, and India.

[Photograph: Sanderling]

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Hawaiian Name: Hunakai (“Sea Foam”)[lx]

Migratory Seasonal Resident: Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i (approximately from August to April).


Sanderlings are often seen along the sandy shoreline of Hanalei Bay where they run along the water’s edge and dash up and down the beach with each ebb and flow of the breaking waves. As each wave recedes, the sanderling pecks away beneath the surface to feed on invertebrates.

The sanderling is about eight inches long, with black legs and a slender, black bill. The bird’s winter plumage is gray above, white below, and dark on the shoulder area. When in breeding plumage, the sanderling’s breast, back, and head are reddish brown.

[Photograph: Green-Winged Teal]

Green-Winged Teal (Anas crecca)

Migratory Waterbird: Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.

Green-Winged Teal

The green-winged teal is generally grayish-brown, with green wings and a deep green speculum (secondary wing feathers). The belly is white, as are the shoulders, which are seen in flight. Both male and female green-winged teal measure about 14½ inches long.

The male green-winged teal has a brown to chestnut-colored (or rusty-colored) head with a green streak behind the eye (postocular). Near the green-winged teal’s shoulder is a vertical bar of white. Female green-winged teal are speckled brown in color with a light stripe of white above the eye. The bird’s legs and bill are gray.

Green-winged teal range from the northern parts of North America to their wintering grounds as far south as Central America and the West Indies. The green-winged teal that are seen in the Hawaiian Islands are mostly of the American variety, but Eurasian varieties have also been seen in the Islands.

[Photograph: Blue-winged Teal]

Blue-Winged Teal (Anas discors)

Migratory Waterbird: Occasional Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.

Blue-Winged Teal

The blue-winged teal is a small duck measuring about 15½ inches long, with a blue-black bill, a blue patch on the forewing, and a brown breast spotted with black. The blue-winged teal has a longer bill than the green-winged teal.

The male blue-winged teal has a gray head with a crescent of white on the face curving in front of the eye, and a dark posterior flanked with white. The feet and legs are orange. Both sexes have a pale blue patch on the forewing. Female blue-winged teal are more of a mottled brown color.

Blue-winged teal range from Canada to the southern United States during their summer breeding season, and then winter as far south as Argentina.

[Photograph: Bufflehead]

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)

Migratory Waterbird: Occasional Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.


Bufflehead are occasional visitors to the Hawaiian Islands, and are sometimes seen on the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.

Both male and female bufflehead are relatively small, measuring about 14 inches long. Most bufflehead seen in the Islands are females, which are darker in color (dusty brown) than males. Females also have a white spot on the cheek (white ear patch), and have a smaller bill than the male.

The bufflehead in flight reveals a large, white wing patch, which is smaller on the female than the male. The male bufflehead is predominantly white with a black back and relatively small, stubby bill. The head has a patch of white that makes the bird look somewhat like it is wearing a white bonnet. The head’s black region may show glossy purple-green.[lxi]


[Photograph: Baikal Teal]

Baikal Teal (Anas formosa)

Migratory Waterbird: Occasional Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.

Baikal Teal

Another occasional visitor to Hanalei is the baikal teal, which is about 17 inches long. The male baikal teal has a cream-colored circular pattern on its cheeks, while the female is distinguished by a white spot near its bill. The male’s eyebrow stripe (supercilium) is continuous over the eye, while the female’s eyebrow stripe is broken by the eye region.

[Photograph: White-Faced Ibis]

White-Faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)

Migratory Waterbird: Occasional Winter Visitor in Hawai‘i.

White-Faced Ibis

The white-faced ibis is occasionally seen amidst the taro fields of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. When not in breeding plumage (e.g., when in the Hawaiian Islands), the white-faced ibis is dark-colored with dark gray legs, a glossy green body, gray facial area, and pale streaks along the neck area. The bill is down-curved, and the iris is red (or brown when the bird is a juvenile).

In breeding plumage, the ibis’ red face area is bordered with white feathers, and its body is chestnut colored. The white-faced ibis breeds in the western region of North America.


D. Seabirds[lxii]

Ø ‘Iwa—Great Frigatebird

Fregata minor palmerstoni

Ø ‘A‘o—Newell’s (Townsend’s) Shearwater

Puffinus auricularis newelli

Ø ‘Ua‘u Kani—Wedge-Tailed Shearwater

Puffinus pacificus chlororhynchus

Ø Koa‘e Kea—White-Tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon lepturus dorotheae

Ø Koa‘e ‘UlaRed-Tailed Tropicbird

Phaethon rubricauda rothschildi


[Illustration: Frigatebird (wing profile)]

[Photograph: Frigatebird, red throat pouch]

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor palmerstoni)

Hawaiian Name: ‘Iwa (“Thief”)[lxiii]

Also called: Man-O’War.

Great Frigatebird

Often seen flying over Kaua‘i’s north shore, the great frigatebird has a forked tail, bent wings, and a wingspan that may exceed seven feet, making it appear somewhat like an ancient pterodactyl in flight.

Frigatebirds are also called “man-o’war birds,” a name given to them by sailors who thought they resembled the favorite pirate vessels known as frigates. Some ancient mariners kept frigatebirds on their ships. The sailors knew that when a frigatebird was released it would fly straight toward land, helping the sailors know which way to go. Frigatebirds feathers were also utilized in ancient Hawaiian featherwork.

There are five kinds of frigatebirds in the world, but the only type of frigatebird in Hawai‘i is ‘iwa, also known as the great frigatebird. Frigatebirds are a wide-ranging species. Frigatebirds banded in Hawai‘i have later been seen in the Philippines.

Despite the frigatebird’s large wingspan and a body length averaging 43 inches, frigatebirds usually weigh less than three pounds. Females are black with some white feathers on the upper breast and throat, while males have all black feathers.[lxiv] Female frigatebirds are generally bigger than males.

He ‘iwa ho‘ohaehae nāulu.

An ‘iwa that teases the rain clouds.

A beautiful maiden or handsome youth who rouses jealous envy in others.[lxv]

Male frigatebirds have an inflatable red pouch of skin under their throat. They often blow up this throat (gular) pouch like a balloon, usually when they are near a colony of birds and want to get a female’s attention. In breeding season the males gather together and show off their puffed up red throat pouches.

Frigatebirds can glide for several hours with very little effort, often soaring at heights above 500 feet, the highest of any of Hawai‘i’s seabirds. This soaring ability is particularly helpful to frigatebirds because they have very little webbing between their toes and don’t land on the water if they can avoid it. Frigatebirds also lack oil glands to waterproof their feathers, and they don’t dive beneath the ocean’s surface for fish as some other seabirds do.

Frigatebirds sometimes dive extremely fast through the air, and may engage in sharp spiraling turns. They are probably the most acrobatic of all of Hawai‘i’s seabirds, and may chase and dive down upon red-footed boobies, shearwaters, and other seabirds to force them to drop or disgorge their food. Then with agility and speed the frigatebird swoops down and catches the food before it hits the water. This food piracy explains how the frigatebird got its Hawaiian name, ‘iwa, which means “thief.”

In addition to stealing food from other seabirds, frigatebirds fly low over the water and use their long, hooked bills to grab floating food, including squid, fish, newly hatched sea turtles, and even mālolo (flying fish).

Frigatebirds are migratory, traveling between their nesting areas and places where food is more plentiful. Most frigatebird nesting occurs on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Most of Hawai‘i’s frigatebirds nest on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which begin hundreds of miles northwest of Kaua‘i. Frigatebirds are seen near in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands during winter months, and are seen on the main Hawaiian Islands more often in summer.

Frigatebirds are also known to nest on Ka‘ula Island, which is about 22 miles southwest of Ni‘ihau and also on Mokumanu (“Bird Island”), off of Mōkapu Point on the east side of O‘ahu.

Frigatebirds are biennial breeders (nesting every other year), beginning at about five years of age. Frigatebirds use branches and twigs to build relatively flat nests in bushes or other vegetation.

Females lay one white egg around March or April, and both male and female frigatebirds take turns incubating the egg. After about 1½ months, the frigatebird chick hatches and is soon covered with white, downy feathers.[lxvi] Shearwater chicks are fed by the adults about every 18 hours. The chick stays in the nest about 4½ months before growing adult feathers and fledging (learning to fly), which usually occurs in October.

[Photograph: Newell’s shearwater]

[Photograph: Newell’s shearwater in burrow]

Newell’s (Townsend’s) Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli)

Hawaiian Name: ‘A‘o.

Endemic Subspecies.

Status: Threatened subspecies. Found on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, and Hawai‘i.

Newell’s Shearwater

The Newell’s shearwater has a black back, a white breast, and is about 13 inches long with a wingspan that may exceed three feet. Newell’s shearwaters breed on the Hawaiian Islands from April to November, flying to their nesting colonies each day at dark and leaving again before dawn.

The sound of the Newell’s shearwater is a repeated “ah-oh,” which explains their Hawaiian name, ‘a‘o. The sounds of the birds above the colonies at night have been described as similar to the sounds of crying babies, mules, or even ghoulish laughter.

He ‘a‘o ka manu noho i ka lua, ‘a‘ole e loa‘a i ka lima ke nao aku.

It is an ‘a‘o, a bird that lives in a burrow and cannot be caught even

when the arm is thrust into the hole.

Said of a person who is too smart to be caught.[lxvii]

Newell’s shearwaters spend about six months over the eastern tropical Pacific before returning, usually in April, to their mountain nesting sites, which are often located in areas dense with uluhe ferns.

Newell’s shearwaters often skim close the surface of the ocean and then plunge into the water to catch fish or squid they spot from the air.[lxviii] Webbed feet allow the Newell’s shearwater to kick off from the water’s surface.[lxix]

[Photograph: Wedge-tailed shearwater]

Wedge-Tailed Shearwaters (Puffinus pacificus chlororhynchus)

Hawaiian name: ‘Ua‘u Kani.

Indigenous (migratory).

Wedge-Tailed Shearwater

The most commonly seen Hawaiian seabird offshore of the main Hawaiian Islands is the wedge-tailed shearwater. Brownish-gray and about 18 inches (46 cm) long, the wedge-tailed shearwater has a pointed beak, wedge-shaped tail, and a wingspan of about three feet. Birds in the “light phase” (most Hawaiian wedge-tailed shearwaters) are dark on top but whitish-colored underneath.

Wedge-tailed shearwaters nest in ground burrows, which are small little caves dug about two to three feet into the hillside. The shearwaters begin preparing their nests in April and lay a single white egg in June. Each parent sits on the egg for about ten days at a time as the other parent feeds at sea.

The shearwater chick hatches after about 52 days, usually in August. The parents share the duties of feeding partly digested food (regurgitated squid and fish) to the nestling. About two weeks before the chick fledges (learns to fly), the parents leave. During this time the chicks must survive on their own stored fat until they learn to fly and can seek food on their own.

Wedge-tailed shearwaters are often called “the moaning birds” because they make strange wailing or crying sounds when they are settled in their colonies, particularly at dawn and dusk. The literal translation of the wedge-tailed shearwater’s name, ‘ua‘u kani, is “calling ‘ua‘u,” which describes the sound made by the bird.

The shearwaters’ habit of gliding so close to the surface of the water that they appeared to slice or cut it caused English sailors to name the bird “wedge-tailed.”

Like Laysan albatross, wedge-tailed shearwaters return to the same location where they were born to lay their eggs.[lxx] The chicks hatch in July or August, and after about 3½ months the chicks fledge.[lxxi]

[Photograph: Shearwater aid station at Hanalei Liquor Store]

Rescuing Shearwaters

In autumn, the fledgling Newell’s shearwaters on Kaua‘i’s north shore leave their colonies and head for the sea where they begin feeding on their own for the first time. During this maiden journey the birds often become confused by bright lights near roadways and other areas. This causes the birds to become disoriented and land, making them vulnerable to predators such as cats and dogs, and other hazards including cars.

Local residents are encouraged to rescue stranded shearwaters and leave them in small, protected cages provided at “aid stations.” Hanalei’s aid station is located near the Hanalei Liquor Store.[lxxii] Birds left at the aid stations are picked up each morning by state and federal wildlife biologists.[lxxiii]

Red-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon rubricauda rothschildi)

Hawaiian Name: Koa‘e ‘Ula.

White-Tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus dorotheae)

Hawaiian Name: Koa‘e Kea.

Tropicbirds are often seen gliding over Kaua‘i’s north shore, particularly near the Kīlauea National Wildlife Refuge and along the Nāpali Coast. Their long, thin bodies effortlessly soar high above the ocean and over the mountain valleys.

The red-tailed tropicbird and the white-tailed tropicbird are both almost all white in color, but the red-tailed tropicbird has a red bill and red tail feathers while the white-tailed tropicbird has a yellow bill and white tail feathers. Both species plunge dive into the water as deep as ten feet to catch fish and squid, and tropicbirds may give a loud scream-like sound while in flight.

[Illustration: Tropicbirds soaring.]

Ke koa‘e iho ia, he manu lele no ka pali kahakō.

That is the tropic bird, one that flies at the sheer cliffs.

Said of a person who is hard to catch.[lxxiv]

The red-tailed tropicbird has a 44-inch wingspan and is about 39 inches long, compared to the 36-inch wingspan and 27-inch length of the white-tailed tropicbird. Red-tailed tropicbirds also have two long, red tail feathers as well as black feathers around their eyes. White-tailed tropicbirds have black eye stripes, long, white tail feathers, and black bars across their wings and back.[lxxv]

Tropicbirds are extremely graceful in flight, but awkward on land due to the their fully webbed feet. Breeding extends from March to October.

Red-tailed tropicbirds are known for their elaborate displays of courtship during flight, sometimes repeatedly circling each other in an upward and backwards flight motion. A tropicbird engaged in this backward flight appears a bit like it is rowing a boat, and may be nearly stationary in the wind during this elaborate courtship dance, which usually lasts less than ten seconds.

The red-tailed tropicbird lays its eggs on the ground, usually under a shrub, beach vegetation or a rock overhang. The white-tailed tropicbird may nest inland and along the coastline, and lays its egg on a crater wall or on a ledge on a steep cliff face. The chicks of both birds are fully feathered after about six weeks, and by about two months of age they learn to fly.

Ancient Hawaiians utilized feathers from both the red-tailed and white-tailed tropicbirds to make royal feather standards called kāhili, symbols of chiefly rank consisting of feather clusters attached to long poles.[lxxvi]

[Photograph: Side by side comparison photos of red-tailed tropicbird and white-tailed tropicbird]

‘Au i ke kai me he manu ala.

Cross the sea as a bird.

To sail across the sea. Also applied to a hill that juts out into the sea or is seen from far out at sea.[lxxvii]

[i] Beachhead (1954) was produced by Howard W. Koch, Beachhead was based on the Richard Hubler novel, I’ve Got Mine. With a budget of $400,000, Beachhead was a WWII film set in the Philippines.

[ii] Naked Paradise/Thunder Over Hawaii (1956) is a Roger Corman film starring Richard Denning, Beverly Garland, and Lisa Montell. Thunder Over Hawaii was the re-release title.

[iii] Musician David Crosby’s father, Floyd Crosby, worked as a cinematographer on the film.

[iv] Before the film version of South Pacific became famous, it had been a hit Broadway musical by Rodgers and Hammerstein. The film and the stage version were both based on the book Tales of the South Pacific, by James Michener.

[v] Numerous Rodgers & Hammerstein songs were popularized by South Pacific, including: Some Enchanted Evening, Bali Hai, There is Nothing Like a Dame, I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy, and Younger Than Springtime. A controversial element of the film South Pacific was director Joshua Logan’s use of colored filters, which were meant to represent the actors’ moods and emotions, in several scenes

[vi] In the 1960s, the Birkmyre Estate was replaced by the Hanalei Plantation Hotel and a house, both of which have since been removed.

[vii] Nadine Alexander, the wife of Duke Kahanamoku, played a nun in the movie.

[viii] Wackiest Ship in the Army (1961) was loosely based on an event that occurred in World War II.

[ix] Filming of Paradise Hawaiian Style (1965) took place in 1964.

[x] Behold Hawaii is an IMAX production by MacGillivray-Freeman Films. O‘ahu’s Bishop Museum provided guidance in the production of Behold Hawaii.

[xi] Joe Darrow discovers that his wife had their child before she died, and the natives are taking care of the child.

[xii] Forty-seven minutes after the earthquake in the Aleutian Islands, a tsunami sheared the Scotch Cap Lighthouse at Unimak Island off its base, killing five people.

[xiii] p. 140, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1285.

[xiv] Sanborn Beach HouseNational Register of Historic Places: United States Department of the Interior; National Park Service.

[xv] p. 24, Cook, Chris. Princeville’s History. Honolulu: Hawai‘i, 2002.

[xvi] Princeville Corporation finalizes sale of land. The Garden Island, 9/14/2003.

[xviii] p. 27, Cook, Chris. Princeville’s History. Honolulu: Hawai‘i, 2002.

[xix] Haraguchi Rice Mill - Phone: 808-826-6202; Mail to: P.O. Box 427, Hanalei, HI 96714.

[xx] Bates 1854: 201-4, 206.

[xxi] Robinson, Robby. History of the Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race. Internet site: http://www.sfbaysss.org/transpac96/tphist.html, 3/26/2003.

[xxii] p. 67, Narrative of a Voyage Round the World, Performed in Her Majesty’s Ship Sulphur, During the Years 1836-1842, Including Details of the Naval Operations in China, From Dec. 1840, to Nov. 1841. Published under the Authority of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty, by Captain Sir Edward Belcher, Commander of the Expedition, Volume I, London: Henry Colburn, Publisher, Great Marlborough Street, 1843.

[xxiii] River length and watershed area statistics from: Calhoun, R. Scott, and Fletcher, Charles H. Measured and predicted sediment yield from a subtropical, heavy rainfall, steep-sided river basin: Hanalei, Kauai, Hawaiian Islands. Geomorphology 30 (1999) 213-226.

[xxiv] Internet site: http://www.hanaleiriver.org, 2003.

[xxv] p. 20, Kurihara, Frank H. Hanohano Hanalei. Skyline Designs: 1996. (Bishop Museum MS Doc. 303)

[xxvi] p. 18, Kurihara, Frank H. Hanohano Hanalei. Skyline Designs: 1996. (Bishop Museum MS Doc. 303)

[xxvii] p. 144, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1323.

[xxviii] p. 18, Kurihara, Frank H. Hanohano Hanalei. Skyline Designs: 1996. (Bishop Museum MS Doc. 303)

[xxix] Hanalei river program awarded $700,000. The Garden Island, 5/07/2003.

[xxx] Billig, Priscilla Pérez. Waipā: A living ahupua‘a. Spirit of Aloha. November/December, 2002.

[xxxi] Billig, Priscilla Pérez. Waipā: A living ahupua‘a. Spirit of Aloha. November/December, 2002.

[xxxii] Waipa Foundation. Internet site: http://www.waipafoundation.org/, 8/09/2003.

[xxxiii] p. 17, Taro Returns to Hanalei. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.

[xxxiv] p. 64, Handy, 1940:72.

[xxxv] p. 64, Handy, 1940:72.

[xxxvi] The Sanborn Poi Mill in the 1950s was run by Kenichi Tasaka, Michi Fukuda, and Harold Kobayashi. [p. 17, Taro Returns to Hanalei. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.]

[xxxvii] p. 17, Taro Returns to Hanalei. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.

[xxxviii] Kubota, Gary T. Poi takes a pounding: Damaged crops have growers reducing supplies. The Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 5/16/2003.

[xxxix] In 1978, Hanalei Bridge was placed on the National and State Registers of Historic Places.

[xl] Press Release for Preservation News. The Hanalei Project: 1000 Friends of Kauai, 6/06/1989.

[xli] Vehicle counts revealed that cars crossing Hanalei Bridge increased to 8,000 per day in 2001 from 4,500 per day in 1999, with less than 2,000 of the vehicles driven by local residents in both counts. Source: Conrow, Joan. Picture Perfect?: The changing face of Hanalei. Kaua‘i Business Report, May, 2003.

[xlii] TenBruggencate, Jan. Hanalei braces for boats. The Honolulu Advertiser, 5/15/2002.

[xliii] Surfing in Hawai‘i was part of the Hawaiians’ kapu system, where ali‘i (the ruling class, or royalty) and maka‘āinana (commoners) had different status. The ali‘i, or ruling class, used surfboards that were from 14 to 16 feet long and carved from the buoyant wood of the wiliwili tree. A big surfboard like this made of premium wood was called an olo (also ‘ōwili, paha), and might weigh as much as 175 pounds. An ‘ōnini was a board used only by the best surfers. Commoners used a 10- to 12-foot board called an alaia (also called an omo), made from the denser, heavier and thus less buoyant wood of koa, or the wood of the ‘ulu (breadfruit), which was also less buoyant. A small board was known as a kīoe.

[xliv] Cook, Chris. Kaua‘i surfers conquer King’s Reef at Hanalei. The Garden Island, 11/29/1996.

[xlv] Cook, Chris. No Hanalei link for folk song ‘Puff the Magic Dragon.’ The Garden Island, 7/25/2004.

[xlvi] The five native waterbirds described are federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. (See Federal Register, 2002, Vol. 67, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS), Listings by State and Territory as of 7/20/2002. Internet site: http://ecos.fws.gov/servlet/TESSWebpageUsaLists?state=HI, 7/28/2002.)

[xlvii] Hawai‘i has at least 22 species of native seabirds, which combine to form a total population of more than 12 million seabirds in Hawai‘i. Most of Hawai‘i’s seabirds live on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which are hundreds of miles northwest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands.

[xlviii] The five native waterbirds described are federally listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. (See Federal Register, 2002, Vol. 67, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Threatened and Endangered Species System (TESS), Listings by State and Territory as of 7/20/2002. Internet site: http://ecos.fws.gov/servlet/TESSWebpageUsaLists?state=HI, 7/28/2002.)

[xlix] p. 79, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 709.

[l] p. 310, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 2830.

[li] p. 194, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1812.

[lii] This saying is interpreted as “a play on nele (a lack, poverty), this saying implies a going without, a lack of success, chagrin, and so forth.” [P. 314, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 2878.]

[liii] p. 197, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1828.

[liv] Plover adults usually begin arriving in Hawai‘i in late August, and juveniles arrive in late September, staying until late April or May when they again head north.

[lv] The plover’s migration flight makes them among the world’s fastest birds when it comes to sustained flight. This sustained flight category excludes speeds attained by diving birds such as raptors.

[lvi] Black coloration around the eyes is a common trait in seabirds, and helps to reduce glare.

[lvii] The albatross chick may take several days to break free from the shell.

[lviii] Northern shovelers range throughout the northern Hemisphere, wintering as far south as the northern parts of South America as well as southern Eurasia and eastern Africa.

[lix] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

[lx] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

[lxi] Bufflehead breed in North America, including Alaska and Canada, and then winter as far south as Mexico and the Gulf Coast.

[lxii] Hawai‘i has at least 22 species of native seabirds, which combine to form a total population of more than 12 million seabirds in Hawai‘i. Most of Hawai‘i’s seabirds live on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, which are hundreds of miles northwest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands.

[lxiii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.

[lxiv] Frigatebirds have been documented to have reached 34 years of age.

[lxv] p. 73, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 645.

[lxvi] Nesting material is gathered primarily by the female frigatebirds, but it’s primarily the male that builds the nest. The frigatebird chick has no feathers at first, and so the parents must protect the baby from the sun.

[lxvii] p. 64, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 545.

[lxviii] Shearwaters have what is called a tube nose at the base of their beak. The tube nose is connected to a gland that removes extra salt from the bird’s food and water.

[lxix] The fish and squid that shearwaters feed on are often pushed toward the ocean’s surface by schools of tuna. Fishermen have long known that seeing a gathering of shearwaters may be a sign of the valuable tuna species the fishermen seek.

[lxx] By November the wedge-tailed shearwaters migrate along the equatorial countercurrent to the coast of Central America, reaching such disparate locations as Panama and Japan, sometimes staying at sea for up to four years. Many of the birds migrate back to the Hawaiian Islands in March and then repeat their migration path each year.

[lxxi] Archaeological evidence shows that ancient Hawaiians utilized shearwaters and petrels as a food source. Abundant remains of shearwaters have been found in ancient Hawaiian settlements. Pigs and dogs brought by the early Polynesian settlers of Hawai‘i also had an effect on the populations of the ground nesting shearwaters. After Westerners arrived, cats and mongoose further decimated the shearwater population. By 1931 the birds were thought to be extinct in Hawai‘i, but they were “rediscovered” in 1954.

[lxxii] On Kaua‘i, residents have been saving these stranded birds for more than 20 years. Most shearwater strandings occur in October and November. The peak period of the month for strandings is during the new moon when the sky is dark. Also vulnerable to strandings due to nighttime light are other night-flying seabirds, including the ‘ua‘u (Hawaiian dark-rumped petrel), an endangered species.

[lxxiii] Shearwater aid stations are located at Kaua‘i County Fire Departments as well as other locations. Be careful when attempting to rescue stranded shearwaters, as the birds may occasionally bite. Stay clear of the bird’s head as you grasp its folded wings and tail. Then put the bird in a ventilated box for transport. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) advises the public that stranded birds may have unseen injuries and should not be tossed up into the air in an attempt to allow them to fly. Local residents may assist in helping the native bird species survive by reducing unnecessary outdoor lights, especially floodlamps, which may cause the birds to land due to temporary blindness.

Rescued Newell’s shearwaters are checked for injuries, banded, and then released along the shoreline so they may fly out to sea. Up to 2,000 Newell’s shearwaters (an estimated 90% of all strandings), are returned to safety each year, with more than 25,000 birds rescued to date. Hundreds of fledgling wedge-tailed shearwaters are also rescued.

[lxxiv] p. 188, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1749.

[lxxv] The distinctive long tail feathers of the tropicbirds, also called streamers, are actually highly specialized inner tail feathers.

[lxxvi] Especially valued for kāhili were the tail feathers of the red-tailed tropicbird.

[lxxvii] p. 28, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 237.