Hanalei History Part 1

Part 1: First Settlement to Western Contact

(Ancient Times1778)

In the Beginning

Life Takes Hold—Colonization and Evolution

The Polynesians Arrive

The Development of a Unique Hawaiian Culture

Taro—The Staff of Life

Map—Moku of Kaua‘i

The Moku (Chiefdom) of Halele‘a

Ahupua‘a in the Moku (Chiefdom) of Halele‘a

The Mountains of Hanalei

The Menehune

Four Ahupua‘a of Hanalei Bay

Hanalei in Ancient Times

‘Auwai (Irrigation Ditches)—Kuna Ditch and China Ditch

Po‘okū Heiau

Hanalei Bay—Pu‘upōā and Makahoa

In the Beginning

About five million years ago, a massive volcano came steaming up from the sea to form the island of Kaua‘i. The volcano was created by a stationary plume of erupting lava known as the Hawaiian “hot spot.”

From deep in the Earth, the magma rose toward the surface until it burned through the Earth’s crust and lava exploded onto the seafloor where it grew into a volcanic undersea mountain known as a seamount. Eventually the seamount grew so tall it rose above the surface and became an island. (Note: Recent research has shown that the hotspot may be slowly moving.)

Even as the island of Kaua‘i continued to grow, it was being rafted northwest at about 3½ inches per year on the Pacific Plate, a massive piece of the Earth’s crust known geologically as a tectonic plate. Kaua‘i grew to more than 8,000 feet above sea level as it moved farther away from the magmatic hot spot, and Kaua‘i’s volcanoes became dormant and then extinct.

To the southeast the lava plume continued to burn through the Earth’s crust, first creating O‘ahu and then the rest of the Hawaiian Islands. As each volcanic island was created, one after another the islands moved northwest and away from the erupting lava plume. As each island moved northwest it made way for the next volcano to emerge.

In the five million years that have passed since the formation of Kaua‘i, the island has moved about 400 miles northwest away from the site of the actively erupting lava. Today the lava plume of the Hawaiian magmatic hot spot sits beneath the southeast edge of Hawai‘i Island (the Big Island), where the eruptions continue today.

About 18 miles off the southeast coast of the Hawai‘i Island, a new volcano has already begun rising up from the seafloor. This newest undersea volcano is called Lō‘ihi Seamount, and will eventually become the next Hawaiian Island.

The whole string of volcanoes produced by the hot spot is known as the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain, and spans over the Pacific seafloor for more than 3,100 miles. This island-building process of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain been continuing for at least the last 75 to 80 million years and has created at least 107 volcanoes in all, including all of the Hawaiian Islands as well as the Emperor Chain stretching off to the northwest.

Most of the volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain are now completely underwater, with the exception of the eight main Hawaiian Islands at the very southeast end of the chain as well as some small islets and atolls of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands that barely rise above sea level.

The rest of the volcanoes of the Hawaiian-Emperor Chain have eroded away and are now submerged deep beneath the ocean’s surface. All of the volcanoes are extinct except for Haleakalā on Maui and four volcanoes on Hawai‘i Island: Kīlauea, Mauna Loa, Mauna Kea, and Hualālai.

Kīlauea and Mauna Loa Volcanoes are considered active, while Mauna Kea, Hualālai and Haleakalā are considered dormant but not extinct.

[Illustration: Hawaiian-Emperor Chain]


Life Takes Hold—Colonization and Evolution

By the time humans arrived on Kaua‘i, the island’s volcanic summits had eroded down from about 8,000 feet above sea level to about 5,000 feet. The island’s harsh volcanic landscape was overlaid with soil and became lush and tropical.

A diversity of island habitats supported thousands of native species, from stout koa trees and tiny forest birds in the mountains to native koloa (ducks) and ae‘o (stilts) in the wet lowland areas.

[Photograph: Pueo]

As coral reefs gradually built up around the island this created new areas of ocean habitat that allowed a multitude of fish and other marine species to establish populations and eventually evolve into unique Hawaiian species, including a distinct Hawaiian species of nai‘a (dolphin), ‘ilio-holo-i-ka-uaua (monk seal), and honu (sea turtle).

Relatively few species made it across the Pacific Ocean and became established in the Hawaiian Islands, a tiny archipelago in the middle of a vast ocean and more than 2,400 miles from the nearest continental land mass. Some species did make it to the Islands, by “wind, wing, or wave,” and then spread out into a variety of different habitats and utilized many different food sources.

Gradually, over many millions of years, a great diversity of unique Hawaiian species evolved. For example, a single species of finch bird evolved into more than 50 endemic species and subspecies of Hawaiian forest birds including the honeycreepers and honeyeaters with their fascinating array of beak shapes, each adapted to a different food source, including insects, seeds, and fruit. Endemic Hawaiian species are unique to the Hawaiian Islands, and found naturally nowhere else.

The great variety of living things that eventually populated Kaua‘i’s diverse landscapes continued to evolve as the landscape also continued to change, with erosion carving out deep valleys from the island’s summit to the sea.

The canyon of Hanalei Valley was about 2,000 feet deep when lava from the volcanic eruptions known as the Kōloa lava flows filled it to the brim, creating the broad and relatively flat plateau lands on the peninsula now known as Princeville.

The Kōloa lava flows also relocated the Hanalei River to the west where the new streambed began eroding the basalt lava from earlier Nāpali flows, which were thinner and less resistant to erosion than the Kōloa flows. The relocated watercourse of the Hanalei River carved nearly 1,000 feet deep into the Nāpali flows to create the modern Hanalei Valley. Today the eastern ridge of Hanalei Valley is a basalt mold of the ancient canyon.[i]

The coastal area that is now the site of Hanalei town was once underwater as part of a shallow marine bay. About 4,000 years ago steadily decreasing sea levels revealed the Hanalei coastal plain.

Evidence for decreasing sea levels during the Holocene epoch include elevated marine deposits. In a study entitled Holocene History of Sediment Deposition and Stratigraphy on the Hanalei Coastal Plain, Kauai, Hawaii, the authors write, “Fourteen radiocarbon dates from the regressive boundary in 67 gouge auger cores show a seaward progradation of the shoreline from 4800-4580 cal. year. B.P. to at least 2160-1940 cal. yr. B.P. and probably later,” adding that “the regression on the Hanalei coastal plain is best explained by sea-level fall from a middle-to late-Holocene relative [sea level] highstand predicted by geophysical models of whole Earth lithospheric deformation related to deglaciation.” [Holocene History of Sediment Deposition and Stratigraphy on the Hanalei Coastal Plain, Kauai, Hawaii (Abstract). Internet site: http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/STUDENTS/calhoun/abstract.html, 3/26/2003.]

During the last four millennia, Hawai‘i’s tropical rains have caused constant erosion and intermittent landslides washing the volcanic earth down from the surrounding mountains and depositing the rich soils on the valley bottoms and over the broad, open plain along Hanalei Bay.

Researchers estimate that the Hanalei River has deposited an estimated 7,520,000 cubic meters of sediment on the coastal plain since it emerged from the sea hundreds of centuries ago. [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.]

Hanalei Valley’s coastal region gradually became an alluvial plain—meaning that the soils were deposited there by moving water.

The Polynesians Arrive

Hanalei’s human history reaches back nearly 2,000 years to when the first Polynesian settlers arrived on Hawai‘i’s shores in their double-hulled voyaging canoes.[ii] Sailing over the enormous Pacific Ocean, the Polynesians were guided by the sun, stars, winds, flight patterns of birds, and other clues of nature.

The ancient Polynesians were master navigators who inhabited hundreds of Pacific islands over a span of thousands of years before finally discovering the Hawaiian Islands.[iii]

The first human arrivals in the Islands likely occurred around A.D. 300, however the exact date of the first inhabitation remains uncertain and may be much earlier.[iv]

These first Polynesian settlers discovered the remote island group despite the fact that the Hawaiian Islands add up to less than 6,500 square miles of land in an ocean that covers more than 70 million square miles, nearly one-third of the Earth’s surface.

After the Polynesians settled in the Hawaiian Islands, they continued to sail back and forth between Hawai‘i and the islands of southern Polynesia until around A.D. 1250 when contact with southern Polynesia ceased or significantly decreased, and the Hawaiians no longer pursued long distance, open-ocean voyages.

A unique Hawaiian culture continued to develop during this extended period of isolation that lasted until British Captain James Cook arrived in the Hawaiian Islands in 1778 and established Western contact.

By the time of Cook’s arrival, the Hawaiians possessed a rich and diverse culture unlike any other on Earth. The natives utilized many unique natural resources found only in the Islands, from the colorful feathers of forest birds to the durable hardwoods of native trees.

Since ancient times, Hanalei has been a prime agricultural region, with fertile soils on the coastal plain and in the surrounding river valleys—and plenty of water. As an important center of food production, Hanalei was likely a bountiful “bread basket” for the entire island of Kaua‘i.[v]

The Development of a Unique Hawaiian Culture

The ancient Hawaiians were a self-sufficient and productive people with all the components of a highly developed culture. They farmed the land and fished the sea, utilizing hundreds of native species for food, shelter, and tools as well as for medicinal, spiritual, and ceremonial uses.

The early Polynesians settlers of the Hawaiian Islands brought with them on their voyaging canoes several animal species and more than two dozen species of plants, and all of these Polynesian-introduced species had important uses in Hawaiian culture (see Appendix I).

Animal species brought to the Hawaiian Islands by the Polynesians included ‘īlio (dogs), moa (chickens), and pua‘a (pigs) that were often cooked in an imu (underground earthen oven) as an important part of the lū‘au (traditional Hawaiian feast).

One particularly useful plant the Polynesians brought to the Hawaiian Islands was wauke (paper mulberry tree), which provided fibers for making kapa (tapa) barkcloth. Kapa was used to make various clothing items that were colored and scented with dyes and fragrances derived from native and Polynesian-introduced plants.

Polynesians produced the finest kapa barkcloth known in ancient times, and the finest Polynesian barkcloth was produced by the Hawaiians, in part because they used a unique fermentation process and a second beating of the kapa that made the cloth smooth and free of defects. Decorations on the Hawaiian kapa included intricate geometric designs found nowhere else in Polynesia.

[Illustration/Photo: Kapa barkcloth]

The Polynesian settlers also brought ipu (bottle gourds), which were used to make containers and musical instruments that accompanied hula. The oily nuts of the Polynesian-introduced kukui (candlenut tree) provided a source of light and were also strung into garlands called lei. The wood of kukui was carved into many useful items such as the small canoes that were used in nearshore waters.

One of the most important plants the early Polynesian settlers brought with them was kalo (taro). They ate the plant’s heart-shaped lū‘au (leaves) and mashed the underground corm into poi, a staple food of Hawaiians from ancient times and still today.

Taro was cultivated in the river valleys, on terraced hillsides, and all along Hanalei’s coastal plains in large, irrigated ponds called lo‘i kalo (taro patches).

Various birds were hunted for food, including ‘a‘o (Newell’s shearwaters), ‘ua‘u (petrels), and ‘ua‘u kani (wedge-tailed shearwaters). Also captured and eaten were large flightless geese such as the moa nalo, a now-extinct bird notable for its tortoise-like jaws.

Some bird species, such as the prized ‘ō‘ō and mamo, were valued for their colorful feathers that were woven into ‘ahu ‘ula (royal capes and cloaks) and mahiole (feather-crested helmets). Feathers from both the koa‘e ‘ula (red-tailed tropicbird) and koa‘e kea (white-tailed tropicbird) were utilized to make royal feather standards called kāhili, symbols of chiefly rank consisting of feather clusters attached to long poles.

[Illustration: Kāhili]

Ancient Hawaiians used no written language aside from the ki‘i pōhaku (petroglyphs) they etched into stones. Remnants of Hanalei’s earliest human history include ancient heiau (sacred places of worship), loko ‘ia (fishponds), and ‘auwai (agricultural irrigation ditches).

Other archeological artifacts from ancient times include pōhaku ku‘i ‘ai (stone poi pounders), as well as ko‘i (stone adzes) used for wood carving. Also preserved in various forms are the ancient stories and legends, and the sacred chants that have been passed down through the generations.

After Western contact, a written Hawaiian language was developed by the Protestant missionaries, and many interviews were conducted with Hawaiian elders. Even as the native population was being severely reduced by foreign diseases, information about many aspects of ancient Hawaiian culture was being recorded and preserved for posterity.

A written Hawaiian language did not exist when Captain Cook and his crew first arrived in Hawai‘i in 1778. Soon after Western contact a written language was configured and then gradually refined, and numerous historical accounts began to be written in the Hawaiian language.

Particularly notable was the voluminous amount of research done by students of Maui’s Lahainaluna Seminary, which was founded in 1831 by American Protestant missionaries as a seminary of advanced education for young Hawaiian men.

Lahainaluna’s history teacher, Reverend Sheldon Dibble (1809-1845), had his students collect oral histories from their own elders and other native Hawaiians, resulting in the gathering of a great deal of information about Hawai‘i’s pre-contact past.

In 1838, Dibble published Ka Moolele Hawaii, a history of the Hawaiian Islands written in the Hawaiian language, which was translated into English a few years later and then published in the Hawaiian Spectator newspaper.

In 1839, Dibble published A History and General Views of the Sandwich Islands Mission (New York: Taylor & Dodd), and then in 1843, History of the Sandwich Islands (Lahaina, Maui: Press of the Mission Seminary).

Dibble’s historical reports were developed with the assistance of two prolific Lahainaluna students, David Malo (c.1793-1853) and Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau (1815-1876), who collected and documented many legends, genealogies and chants as well as specific details of historical events of pre-contact Hawai‘i.

Malo’s and Kamakau’s extensive writings were originally published in Hawaiian language newspapers in the 1860s and 1870s. Malo’s writings were dated around 1840, but were not published in English until Nathaniel Emerson’s translation entitled Hawaiian Antiquities (Ka Moolele Hawaii), published by the Hawaiian Gazette Company in 1903.

Kamakau wrote historical articles for Hawaiian language newspapers Ke Au ‘Oko‘a and Ka Nupepa Kū‘oko‘a, producing more than 200 articles between 1866 and 1871. Samuel Mānaiakalani Kamakau was also a founding member of the Royal Hawaiian Historical Society in 1841, and served in the Legislature from 1851 until his death in 1876.

Kamakau’s Ruling Chiefs of Hawai‘i (Honolulu: Kamehameha Schools Press, 1961) was translated by Mary Kawena Pūku‘i (1895-1986) and published by Kamehameha Schools Press in 1961.

A second volume of Kamakau’s writings, entitled Ka Po‘e Kahiko: The People of Old (Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1964) was translated by Pūku‘i and published by Bishop Museum Press in 1964, 88 years after Kamakau passed away. (See Chapter 11, Timeline: 1815.)

Another prominent native historian was John Papa ‘Ī‘ī (c.1800-1870), who was a language advisor to missionary Hiram Bingham (1789—1869) and wrote articles for the newspaper Ka Nupepa Kū‘oko‘a from 1866 to 1870.

John Papa ‘Ī‘ī was appointed to the House of Nobles and Privy Council under King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli), helped draft the Hawai‘i Constitution of 1852, and was a justice on Hawai‘i’s Supreme Court from 1852 to 1864.

Mary Kawena Pūku‘i’s translation of ‘Ī‘ī’s writings is entitled Fragments of Hawaiian History, edited by Dorothy Barrère and published by Bishop Museum Press in 1959.

Also written in the mid-1800s were at least six Hawaiian-language books authored by Zephyrin Kepelino (c.1830-1876), a descendant of the famous Tahitian kahuna (priest) named Pā‘ao. According to tradition, sometime before the year A.D. 1200, Pā‘ao founded a high priest line, known as kahuna nui.

Pā‘ao returned to Tahiti and brought back a chief named Pili [Kaaiea], who ruled Hawai‘i Island and began a 700-year dynasty, siring the royal line leading to King Kamehameha I. Kepelino’s most notable work was Kepelino’s Traditions of Hawaii, published by Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum in 1932, and translated by Martha W. Beckwith (1871-1959).

Names of native Hawaiians living in the Hanalei region in the 1800s may be found on various written forms, such as the Māhele records and other old documents.

From January 27, 1848 to March 7, 1848, King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) instituted a new system of private property ownership known as the Great Māhele (“Māhele” means division), dividing most of Hawai‘i’s land between King Kamehameha III (Kauikeaouli) and his chiefs, with smaller plots offered to maka‘āinana (commoners).

Two years later, in 1850, foreigners were allowed to purchase land, and soon held virtually all privately owned land. (See Timeline: 1848.)

Historical sources reveal the specific boundaries of ancient living and farming areas as well as the locations of important cultural sites.

Some names listed in the Land Commission Awards for Hanalei included: Kalawakea, Keala Iki, Keka Uaniu, Kahio-Keahi, Kahue, Hanaimoa, Ikuwa, Ielemia, Kalalaweikeau, and Kalakala.[vi]

An 1893 map[vii] showed the following Hawaiian names on lands near the Hanalei Bay shoreline: Koenepuu, Kiolea, Nunu, Kuheleloa, Timoheo, Papa, Makole, S. Kawainui, Kealaiki, and Kahui. Near the current Hanalei town area were Hanaino, Kahanuala, Kahilina, Kamaiwa, Kamakaulii, Kamohaiwa, Kaunahi, Kuaua, Mahuahua, Makole, Naiwi, and Wahineiki.

Some Hawaiian names of people in the Hanalei region listed in the 1914 Polk-Husted Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii include: Ho, Hookano, Kaakau, Kahai, Kaheleiki, Kaiawe, Kalani, Kamoa, Kaneole, Kauhaahaa, Kaui, Kaumealani, Kelau, Keolewa, Kuapuhi, Mahanaumaikai, Mahilahila, Maka, Maluna, Pa, Pauole, Puulei, and others.[viii]

Taro—The Staff of Life

The river valleys of northern Kaua‘i were productive taro growing regions in ancient times just as they are today. Prehistoric agricultural activity in Hanalei Valley included irrigated pondfield technology (taro patches), consisting of large ponds, usually square or rectangular in shape, separated by earthen banks and irrigated by earthen and stone irrigation ditches known as ‘auwai.

Today the floodplain of the Hanalei Valley floor is again covered with taro patches, and some ancient ‘auwai are still used to irrigate the fields.

Subsurface excavations have shown that taro was cultivated not only in the river valleys but also on agricultural terraces built into the hillsides above the valley floor.[ix] Some of these ancient taro sites were irrigated by natural springs flowing out from the mountainsides, and dryland taro was also cultivated.

The ancient Polynesians considered taro their direct ancestor and their “Staff of Life.” Legends say a taro plant grew up from the burial place of the first son of Wākea, god of the sky, who named the plant-child Hāloa-naka (“Long, trembling stem”). Wākea’s second son was a boy he named Hāloa-naka-lau-kapalili (“Long-stalk-quaking-trembling-leaf stem”), the ancestor of all Hawaiians.

Offshoots of a mature taro plant are known as ‘ohā, and grow in a circle around the parent plant. The ‘ohā eventually grow into mature taro plants, which in turn produce their own circle of ‘ohā. In this way, a single taro plant may eventually produce enough offshoots to fill a taro patch. The ever-widening circle of taro plants serves as a model for the extended Hawaiian family, or ‘ohana.

Taro was the most important staple food of the ancient Hawaiians, and was also used to produce a dye for kapa barkcloth, an adhesive to hold pieces of kapa barkcloth together, and a bait for ‘ōpelu fish (mackerel scad).

A medicinal formulation used as a purgative was prepared by mixing the corm of taro with the sap of nuts of kukui (candlenut tree), and the sap of the taro leaf stem was applied to cuts in order to help stop bleeding and begin the healing process.

E ‘ao lū‘au a kualima.

Offer young taro leaves to the gods five times.

Advice to one who has erred and wishes to rectify his mistake. Young taro leaves often were substituted for pigs when making an offering to the gods. To remove sickness of mind or body, one made five separate offerings of young taro leaves.[x]

A pudding-like dessert known as kūlolo was made by sweetening the grated flesh and water of niu (coconut) with kō (sugarcane), blending it with the grated corm of taro, wrapping the mixture in leaves of kī (ti), and baking it in an imu (underground earthen oven).

[Photograph: Hanalei (e.g., broad view of valley, bay).]

“Here nature has wrought with bold hands and on a large scale, gouging profound valleys out of massive mountains, scoring them deep with gorges and buttressing them thick with ridges, and then throwing over them a veil of tropic verdure that half reveals and half conceals and wonderfully softens, the bold hard features of the geologic. Nature has contributed the magnificent semi-circular bay with its fine beach and swimming, a succession of splendid cliffs and broad level fertile valley, bounded by mountain walls down whose sides leap numberless thread-like waterfalls which now and again lose themselves in the foliage.”

J. M. Lydgate[xi]

[Map showing divisions of Kaua‘i’s moku, each moku labeled as follows:

Moku of Kaua‘i

Halele‘a; Nāpali; West Kona; East Kona; Puna; and Ko‘olau.[xii]

[Photograph: Halele‘a]

[Photo Caption:]

“Halele‘a is cooled by the Kaiāulu, the pleasant and gentle trade wind. Sometimes the Hao-Ko‘olau-o-Halele‘a, ‘Ko‘olau trade winds coming with force,’ blows, an unfriendly reminder of the power of nature.”

Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories[xiii]

The Moku (Chiefdom) of Halele‘a

In ancient times, each Hawaiian Island was divided into numerous moku, or chiefdoms. Each chiefdom was under the control of an ali‘i ‘ai moku (paramount chief). Most of Kaua‘i’s north shore, including Hanalei, fell within the moku known as Halele‘a, which means “Joyful house,”[xiv] or “House of happiness.”[xv]

At sea level, Halele‘a is bordered on the east by the moku of Ko‘olau, and on the west by the moku of Nāpali. In the higher mountain regions, the Makaleha mountain range forms a natural border between Halele‘a and the moku of Puna.

Each moku (chiefdom) is divided into many ahupua‘a, the natural watershed land divisions that extend from the mountains to the sea, including the offshore coral reefs. Within the moku of Halele‘a are nine ahupua‘a. In order from east to west, the nine ahupua‘a of Halele‘a are: Kalihiwai, Kalihikai, Hanalei, Wai‘oli, Waipā, Waikoko, Lumaha‘i, Wainiha, and Hā‘ena.

Hawaiians maintained a system of communal subsistence based on the natural boundaries of the ahupua‘a, which contained all of the resources necessary for survival. It was a tradition that “the farmer gave to the fisherman, the fisherman to the farmer,” as conveyed in the saying, “O kau aku, o ka ia la mai, pelā ka nohona o ka ‘ohana,” “From you and from him—so lived the family.”[xvi]

Each of the nine ahupua‘a of Halele‘a were traditionally under the control of a konohiki, the headman of the land division under the chief. Hanalei is one of Halele‘a’s largest ahupua‘a, encompassing Hanalei River’s vast watershed that extends from the highest reaches of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale to the ocean at Hanalei Bay.

Ancient Hawaiians lived within a fairly rigid caste structure, including ali‘i (royalty), kāhuna (priests and experts in a given profession), maka‘āinana (commoners, who were mostly farmers), and the kauā (or kauwā) class, who were the lowest outcast members.

A system of kānāwai (laws) determined if something was kapu (sacred or forbidden), and commoners fell prostrate to the ground in the presence of chiefs, who possessed mana (divine power).

[Map—Ahupua‘a of Halele‘a]

[Photo Caption:]

Ahupua‘a in the Moku (Chiefdom) of Halele‘a

(Note: A moku is chiefdom or district.)[xvii]

[Names labeling map as follows:]

Kalihiwai—“The Stream Edge”[xviii]

Kalihikai—“The Ocean Edge,”[xix] or “The Sea Beach”[xx]

Hanalei—“Crescent Bay,”[xxi] or “Lei Valley”[xxii]

Wai‘oli—“Joyful Water”[xxiii] of “Singing Water”[xxiv]

Waipa—“Touched Water”[xxv] or “Walled Off Water”[xxvi]

Waikoko—“Blood Water”[xxvii] or “Rainbow Tinted Mist”[xxviii]

Lumaha‘i—No translation; possibly medicinal plant or string figure technique[xxix]

Wainiha—“Unfriendly Water”[xxx] or Hostile waters”[xxxi]

Hā‘ena—“Red Hot”[xxxii]

Many of the early Polynesian settlers of the Hanalei region built their homes near the shore, where the climate was warmer and drier than inland at the base of the mountains or up in the valleys. They traveled from the shoreline into the valleys during the day to farm taro, and then returned at night to their settlements near the sea.

Groups of thatched homes formed small villages, mostly near the water but also inland, scattered throughout the valleys and on the hillsides, particularly above the taro patches. Homes were thatched with pili (twisted beardgrass), fronds of niu (coconut palm), or lau hala (leaves of hala).

[Photograph: Hanalei (e.g., broad view of valley, bay).]

“[Hanalei] was a region of many rivers and heavy rainfall, its great dark mountains crowding close to the sea. Both rivers and ocean furnished good fishing. Most of the numerous thatched houses were clustered makai, near the sea in the curve of the great bay, where less rain fell and yet where there was a luxuriant growth of bananas, breadfruit, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, yams, squashes and pia, or arrowroot.”

Koamalu[xxxiii]

[Photograph: Halele‘a (wide-angle photo, showing taro fields)]

[Photo Caption:]

The Halele‘a district is known for its abundant rainfall and warm climate, and has historically supported a sizeable substantial human population. For many centuries before Western contact, the fertile river valleys of the Hanalei region produced large quantities of taro just as the mountains and sea supplied a whole variety of other foods and useful products.

The Mountains of Hanalei

The coastal plain of Hanalei includes sections of four separate ahupua‘a—Hanalei, Wai‘oli, Waipā, and Waikoko—all bordering Hanalei Bay.

Towering up behind these river valleys are three monumental mountains: Hīhīmanu forming the west side of Hanalei Valley; Nāmolokama rising up behind Wai‘oli Valley; and Māmalahoa rising up to the west side of Wai‘oli. In the lower western reaches of Māmalahoa are the ahupua‘a of Waipā and Waikoko. These mountains are often lined with dozens of waterfalls that encircle Hanalei Bay and the whole coastal plain.

At the very top of the ahupua‘a of Hanalei Valley is the 5,148-foot peak of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale, more than ten miles from the sea and not visible from the shores of Hanalei Bay. Wai‘ale‘ale, means “Rippling water,” and is said to refer to the lake that sits atop the plateau at the volcano’s summit where the Hanalei River begins.

Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale is located at the center of the island of Kaua‘i, and is said to be “the wettest spot on earth.” Average annual rainfall on Wai‘ale‘ale is more than 450 inches, the highest in the world.

Wai‘ale‘ale’s actual rainfall may be even more than 451 inches because high winds at the summit are known to blow the rain horizontally over automated rain gauges that relay weather information via satellite.

The single rainiest year on record at Wai‘ale‘ale’s summit was in 1982, when 681 inches were recorded. India’s Cherrapunji Village received 905 inches of rainfall in 1861, but only has an average annual rainfall of about 428 inches.

On the Western side of Hanalei Valley are the twin peaks of Hīhīmanu, which rise to 2,487 feet and forming the border between Hanalei and Wai‘oli.[xxxiv] Hīhīmanu translates as “Beautiful,”[xxxv] “Manta ray,”[xxxvi] or “Great ray fish.”[xxxvii]

Rays are large, graceful marine creature sometimes seen in Hanalei Bay and the surrounding ocean waters, and the two peaks of Hīhīmanu are said to resemble the appearance of a ray’s fin tips poking above the water when it glides along near the ocean’s surface.

According to legend, a “Ka-ua-hā‘ao, ‘gentle rain,’ fell over Hīhīmanu, so called because its showers follow one another like members of a chief’s retinue that came in procession in sections or divisions.”[xxxviii] Anyone who has seen the tradewind showers marching across the north shore mountainsides can relate to this description.

[Photograph: Hanalei mountains, showing Māmalahoa, Nāmalokama, and Hīhīmanu.]

“Fall after fall of shining water hastens down green, abrupt slopes and across brief shore lands to the sea held within the broad curving arms of Hanalei bay. To the south of this green valley of Waioli stand its three peaks, Namolokama at the center, flanked on the west by Mamalahoa, on the east by Hihimanu. Eastward still further, wandering in wide bends to the sea, lies the more open valley of Hanalei, largest river of all the islands and drawing its source direct from Waialeale’s summit lake. Halalea, Place of Rainbows, the district was anciently called.”

Ethel Damon[xxxix]

Nāmolokama is the massive mountain rising up at the back of Wai‘oli Valley. Nāmolokama means “The interweaving bound fast,”[xl] perhaps referring to the intermingling waterfalls that pour from the mountain’s summit. Nāmolokama is also interpreted to mean “Long, rock clefts.”[xli]

From Hanalei town, Nāmolokama’s peak is often seen only through wisps of distant fog as frequent north shore rains send torrents of water plunging from the mountain’s regal summit.

According to tradition, the first rainbow came to the Hawaiian Islands when the god Kāne threw a piece of kapa (tapa) barkcloth into a pool below Nāmolokama’s precipitous waterfall. This happened after Ānuenue, the goddess of rainbows (ānuenue means “rainbow”), hid on Kaua‘i while calling to the god Kāne through her dreams.

When Kāne arrived at the Wai‘oli rivermouth he met several women falsely claiming to be Ānuenue, and each woman gave him a piece of colored kapa cloth.

Finally Kāne reached the pool at the base of the waterfall where he threw all the kapa pieces into the water. There the kapa pieces joined together to form the first rainbow, and it was then that Ānuenue rose up from the water.[xlii]

Located nearer to the shoreline of Hanalei Bay is a mountain ridge called Makaihuwa‘a (“Eyes for the canoe prow”[xliii]). Makaihuwa‘a is said to be the site of the first “lighthouse” in the Hawaiian Islands because a platform was built half way up the mountain by Menehune so they could place large torches there to guide the fishermen back into Hanalei Bay at night.[xliv]

Māmalahoa rises up from the floor of Wai‘oli Valley to a height of 3,745 feet (1,141 m). Some say the mountain’s name comes from Kānāwai Māmalahoe, or “Law of the Splintered Paddle.”[xlv]

The law was declared in 1797 by King Kamehameha I to protect weak and innocent people from injustices imposed by those who were stronger and more powerful. The Law of the Splintered Paddle is considered the first law meant to protect maka‘āinana (commoners).

The declaration stemmed from an event that had occurred years earlier when Kamehameha had attacked a man without provocation, and the man hit him back and fled. When he was later brought before Kamehameha to be punished, the man was instead pardoned by the monarch, who gave him land and set him free.

It is perhaps more likely, however, that the name of the Hanalei mountain called Māmalahoa predates Kamehameha’s encounter with the fisherman, and instead refers to the god Kāne’s wife, also named Māmalahoa.

Frederick B. Wichman notes that “the name Māmalahoa is far older by centuries than Kamehameha’s experience,” and “the attempt to equate this name with the conqueror, it seems to me, is an attempt to foist a victorious conquest upon a beaten people.” [Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.]

In ancient chants the name Māmalahoa refers to a strong ‘awa (Piper methysticum, kava) drink used for medicinal purposes.

The eastern edge of Māmalahoa is a sheer cliff that drops straight down for more than 1,000 feet (305 m) and forms the boundary between the valleys of Hanalei and Wai‘oli. The two watersheds join on the broad plateau above Māmalahoa.[xlvi]

The southernmost tip of Māmalahoa forms the back of the valley of Wai‘oli, about five miles from Hanalei Bay. Above the western side of Hanalei Bay is the peak called Pu‘ukamanu (“The bird hill”), traditionally used as a vantage point to spot fish in Hanalei Bay.

[Photograph: Wai‘oli]

[Photo Caption:]

“The scenery in this vicinity [Wai‘oli] is romantically tropical. The soil is fertile, and produces taro, sugar cane, coffee, and indigo, with fruits and vegetables in great variety. This stream, rushing down a rocky chasm, assumes every fantastic shape possible...a picture more exquisite than any we have seen on the islands.”

Whitney, 1875[xlvii]

The Menehune

Hanalei’s history includes an ancient race of Kauaians who were reputed to be very small but very skilled and had supernatural strength. The Menehune were said to have numbered about a half million, and they built ‘auwai (irrigation canals), heiau (sacred places of worship), roads, and dams—and they did it all at night.

Menehune grew many different foods and fished the sea. Each was a master of a certain craft and had one special function they accomplished with great precision and expertise. The Menehune would set out at dark to build something completely in one night, and if they failed to complete the project it would be abandoned.

There remains some mystery surrounding the exact origin of the stories about Menehune. Early Westerners seeking information about various structures on Kaua‘i may have been told that “Menehune” were responsible, referring to an old meaning of the word “manahune,” which is “common people” (common laborers), likely referring to the early Marquesan settlers of Hawai‘i.

The first humans to reach Hawai‘i most likely came from the Marquesas Islands, about 2,500 miles to the southeast of Hawai‘i. The Marquesas are part of the South Pacific island group known as French Polynesia, an archipelago that includes 130 islands divided into five groups: the Gambier Islands, the Australs, the Tuamotus, the Society Islands, and the Marquesas.[xlviii]

The Marquesans may have been dominated by the later Tahitian settlers and made to perform the hardest work, including stonework. In other words, the term “Menehune” may have been a reference not to the Marquesan settlers’ small size but instead to their lower status in the social system after the arrival of the Tahitians.

This may have led to a myth about a small race of people, and the myth may have been compounded over the years. This is one possible explanation of the mysterious story of the Menehune.

Four Ahupua‘a of Hanalei Bay

The upper portion of the ahupua‘a of Hanalei is deep but relatively narrow. The extremely mountainous terrain includes a massive gorge through which the Hanalei River descends as it makes its way down from the summit of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale to Hanalei Bay.

At lower elevations, the Hanalei River winds its way through a broad valley and flows across the Hanalei coastal plain for the last four miles of its length, then empties into the ocean on the east side of Hanalei Bay.[xlix]

Ka ua Noelehua o Wai‘ale‘ale

The Misty-lehua rain of Wai‘ale‘ale

The rain of Wai‘ale‘ale that moistens the lehua blossoms there.[l]

[Map showing boundaries of Hīhīmanu, ridge of Kamo‘okoleaka, Kalihikai, Kapaka.]

From atop Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale, the border of the ahupua‘a of Hanalei extends past Hīhīmanu along the ridge of Kamo‘okoleaka and then across the coastal plain to the ocean.[li]

A channel in the reef forms the ocean boundary between the ahupua‘a of Hanalei and Kalihikai. This boundary continues across the coastal plain to Kapaka (“The raindrop”[lii]) and eventually to the summit of Mt. Wai‘ale‘ale where the ahupua‘a of Hanalei borders the ahupua‘a of Lumaha‘i.

The ahupua‘a of Wai‘oli is bordered on the west by the ahupua‘a of Waipā and on the east by the ahupua‘a of Hanalei. These watersheds merge on the broad coastal plain bordering Hanalei Bay.

The 3,350-acre ahupua‘a of Wai‘oli has a width of only about ½-mile on the coastal plain along Hanalei Bay, but inland the width of Wai‘oli Valley increases to about two miles wide and forms a massive amphitheater-like area that encompasses the waters of three separate streams and many smaller tributaries. The ahupua‘a of Wai‘oli culminates about five miles from the sea at the southernmost tip of Māmalahoa.

Wai‘oli was probably home to a large Hawaiian population in ancient times, and may have been generally better suited for taro farming than Hanalei Valley. Taro grows best when cool river water surrounds the plants, and Wai‘oli’s gradual slope was better suited for allowing the water to flow continuously through the fields.[liii]

[Photograph: Ridgeline showing Pu‘ukī, Hīhīmanu]

[Photo Caption:]

On the eastern side of Hanalei Valley is the ahupua‘a of Wai‘oli. The boundary between Hanalei and Wai‘oli is formed by a ridgeline that begins about ½-mile inland from the sea and climbs to the peak of Pu‘ukī (“Ti plant hill”).[liv] From Pu‘ukī, the ridgeline rises steeply to Hīhīmanu and then continues to climb for another 2,000 feet.

The ahupua‘a of Hanalei and the ahupua‘a of Wai‘oli join atop Māmalahoa on a broad plateau.

“On the opposite side to us there stretched from the sea, where it terminated in a bold headland, a lofty range of deep purple mountains, the highest part immediately before us. Fronting this were two lower ranges, the nearest of which rose abruptly from the flat, through which the river wound like a snake. A waterfall of immense height streaked like a broad ribbon the huge purple mass behind: beginning at about 1,000 feet from the summit, its course was visibly unbroken for 2,0000 feet at least, when it was lost to view. From other points, smaller cascades of equal height but more slender in width were plainly seen...no less than nineteen streams cast themselves down the huge front presented to us.”

Miss Sophia Craycroft, 1861[lv]

[Panoramic photograph: Waipā and Waikoko.]

The ahupua‘a of Waipā is located along the shoreline of Hanalei Bay just west of Hanalei town beneath the majestic 3,745-foot summit of Mt. Māmalahoa. Waipā means “Touched water,”[lvi] or “Request; prayer, as to gods.”[lvii]

The name of the ahupua‘a was sometimes written as Waipa‘a, which translates to “Dammed-up water,”[lviii] possibly referring to the large sand bar that often builds up at the mouth of the Waipā Stream and blocks the water from flowing directly into the sea.[lix] This often causes the stream to run along the beach for a ways before flowing into Hanalei Bay.

Legends tell of a boy named Lauhaka who was raised by his uncle, a bird catcher in the hills of Waipā. On a steep trail, Lauhaka confronted and killed two bird catchers who were hunting protected ‘ua‘u (petrels),[lx] and the bodies of the slain bird catchers fell into the river where they formed a dam that blocked the water.

Since ancient times the ahupua‘a of Waipā was used by Hawaiians for growing kalo (taro) and for raising fish in loko i‘a (fishponds). It was also the site of heiau dedicated to Kāne, the god of fresh water and life, and the leading god of the four primary Hawaiian gods: Kāne, Kū, Lono and Kanaloa.

Located on the western end of Hanalei Bay, the ahupua‘a of Waikoko consists mostly of low, marshy plain. Wai means “water”; koko means “blood” or “rainbow-hued.”[lxi]

The name Waikoko has many possible origins. It translates literally as “Rainbow tinted mist,”[lxii] “Blood water,”[lxiii] or “Bloody stream,”[lxiv] possibly referring to the legend of Lauhaka mentioned above, when the blood of the slain bird catchers at Waipā flowed into the neighboring ahupua‘a of Waikoko.

The name Waikoko has also been attributed to a red-colored algae said to have once grown plentifully in the Waikoko Stream before rice-growing became a prominent land use in the area.”[lxv]

Hanalei in Ancient Times

By the 13th century, perhaps much earlier, Hawaiians began cultivating taro in Hanalei Valley and on the slopes above the valley floor. A 1980 study claimed to have found evidence of agricultural activity (taro patches) from around 7th century, the oldest date found in the Islands, but subsequent analyses failed to replicate the results, and only 13th century dates have been confirmed.

A 1980 analysis of material from subsurface excavations in Hanalei Valley found evidence of ancient pondfield agricultural activity (e.g., lo‘i kalo, or taro patches, farmed in irrigated ponds).

A radiocarbon date of A.D. 660 ± 95 and a true age of A.D.610 ± 95 (A.D. 515-705) was obtained on a charcoal sample, making the site the oldest yet found in the Hawaiian Islands for such pondfield agricultural activity. Schilt, A. Rose (1980) Investigations in Specified Areas of the Hanalei Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei Valley, Kaua‘i. Ms. 101680, Department of Anthropology, Bishop Museum, Honolulu.

A 1983 study was unable to replicate the early date for agricultural activity cited by Schilt, and cast doubt on Schilt’s results, concluding only that agricultural activities in Hanalei Valley took place from at least the 13th century, and noting that this later date (13th century vs. the 7th century) was more closely aligned with other research and archaeological analyses regarding prehistoric irrigated agriculture in the Hawaiian Islands and the accompanying rapid population expansion.

The study utilized macrofloral and carbon analyses of subsurface excavations to date buried deposits on the alluvial river plain of Hanalei, and cited numerous previous archaeological studies and historical sources. [Athens, Stephen J. Prehistoric Pondfield Agriculture in Hawai‘i: Archaeological Investigations at the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Kaua‘i. Prepared for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Ms. 060283, Department of Anthropology, Bishop Museum, Honolulu, 1983.]

The 1995 study entitled Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i noted that “Due to the uncertain provenience of [Schilt’s] radiocarbon samples, this early date does not verify pondfield agriculture...the stone tools in the deposit...may evince early habitation prior to irrigated cultivation...If the early 7th century A.D. date is accepted, it may represent this initial occupation.” P. 73, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

Many pre-contact agricultural sites have been located on the hillsides of Hanalei Valley, “including seven agricultural complexes...on the steep valley slopes above the major ‘auwai [irrigation ditches] in the Valley.

Some of these agricultural sites were probably for dryland cultivations, while others may have been irrigated by springs.” [p. 2, Pre-Contact Hanalei. Hanalei Yesterday, Part I, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1990; p. 70, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

Also located in Hanalei Valley were many living sites as well as heiau (sacred places of worship).

The rich bottom lands of Hanalei Valley, irrigated by the Hanalei River, were eventually filled with hundreds of taro patches stretching from the sea up into the valley and on the surrounding hillsides.

A 1987 study, titled The Prospect from This Hill: The Hanalei Cultural Landscape Survey, Report of Findings and Significance, identified three major irrigation systems and 396 lo‘i kalo (taro patches) in Hanalei Valley.

The study area included approximately 2,200 acres, including the current site of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Also identified were 81 historic structures. [p. 7, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.]

An extensive irrigation system was developed on the valley floor for the cultivation of taro. Despite the potential importance of Hanalei Valley as a center of food production in ancient Hawai‘i, relatively little archaeological investigation has been completed on sites within Hanalei Valley, though many potentially significant sites have been found.

By 1990 at least 20 archaeological sites were located, including habitation sites, stone walls, agricultural areas, and heiau (sacred places of worship).

The 1995 study conducted an intensive survey of 527 acres on the valley floor and surrounding slopes, recording 43 archaeological sites on 915 acres within the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.

The study was completed in May of 1995, based upon five weeks of fieldwork that took place between July 19, 1993 and August 20, 1993, concluding that “evidence indicates that the bottomland has continually been dominated through time by irrigated agricultural systems for the cultivation of taro.”

Twelve of the archaeological sites identified by the 1995 study were newly discovered, and 29 are thought to date to the prehistoric period. These documented sites are all located on land that is now part of the National Wildlife Refuge, and include heiau (sacred places of worship), lo‘i kalo (taro patches), ‘auwai (irrigation ditches), rock walls, terraces, habitation sites, tool manufacturing sites, and a pit thought to have been used as an imu (underground earthen oven) where pua‘a (Sus scrofa, pig) and other food was cooked.

Many farmers of Hanalei lived near the coast and traveled daily to their inland farms, while others lived in the valley and on the surrounding hillsides. Living sites and stone enclosures were often located above and overlooking agricultural terraces.[lxvi]

“According to old residents,” wrote Ethel Damon in 1931, “the natives would go into the valleys to mahiai [mahi ‘ai], or farm, during the day, and return at night to their homes on the beach. Remains of these terraced taro-lands are still to be found far up in the valleys where no one now lives.”[lxvii]

In addition to ‘auwai (irrigation ditches) in Hanalei Valley, there were stone walls, tool manufacturing sites, and imu (underground earthen ovens). Ancient construction methods documented at the archaeological sites include rock-lined terraces that incorporated flaked and modified basalt. Set into one rock alignment was a basalt adze blank, a tool traditionally used for wood carving and tool making.[lxviii]

An agricultural site discovered on a southwest hillside of Hanalei Valley revealed “a large complex of platforms, enclosures, waterworn rocks and upright stones that incorporated both agricultural and habitational features.” To the east, researchers discovered “an upright stone and platform feature...suggesting a religious aspect to this large agricultural and occupational site.”[lxix]

Concentrations of cultural artifacts were also located at two nearby sites along the irrigation channel known as Kuna Ditch, which runs north to south on the eastern edge of the valley. The other primary irrigation canal of Hanalei Valley is the China Ditch, running south to north along the western margin of the lower portion of the Hanalei Valley.

An extensive network of smaller ditches connects to these two primary ditches, forming a complex irrigation system designed to bring water to the many taro patches on the alluvial floodplain of the Hanalei River.

The China Ditch is cut about six feet deep into the hillside slope, and is almost three miles long with an intake on the west side of the Hanalei River.[lxx] An earthen berm reinforces the downslope side of the ditch, whose path crosses several small streams that in turn contribute to the water flow. Today only parts of the China Ditch remain, and much of the watercourse has been abandoned and is overgrown.[lxxi]

In the post-contact era, new irrigation channels were built along the former course of the China Ditch.

An unmodified section of the China Ditch, cut into the hillside for about 1/3 mile through the southwest portion of the Refuge now lies abandoned. On the north side of the overgrown former ditch a newer channel runs a parallel course. An underground pipe supplies water to the newer section of canal, bringing water from a newly built concrete intake.

The current China Ditch extends along the hillside for about 1¼ miles to a point near the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service buildings on ‘Ōhiki Road, where the ditch splits in two. The north fork of the China Ditch is a relatively new irrigation canal known as “Little China Ditch,” which provides water to the taro patches in the northern part of the Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge.

Two dam-type devices on the Hanalei River are constructed of boulders and stacked rocks and extend into the river to control the flow of water. Flow control devices such as hand-controlled wooden boards in the irrigation canals divert water into smaller ditches.

Various changes to the course of the China Ditch have taken place since the pre-contact era.

The Kuna Ditch is on average about seven feet wide and five feet deep,[lxxii] running north-south for about two miles along the east side of Hanalei Valley.[lxxiii] The irrigation canal is designed to irrigate the eastern taro patches in the southern and western portions of the land that is now Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge. Some portions of the Kuna Ditch are no longer in use, including the northern section.

Like the China Ditch, the Kuna Ditch is mostly an earthen channel without rock reinforcement. Several abandoned ‘auwai (irrigation channels) are located near Kuna Ditch. These channels are built primarily of stacked rock, and some are faced with concrete. A recently built intake for the Kuna Ditch was constructed near the China Ditch intake, and includes a buried pipeline.[lxxiv]

Atop a hill on the eastern side of Hanalei Valley is Po‘okū Heiau, one of the largest heiau on Kaua‘i, located on the plains of Princeville near a grove of hala (screwpine) that was one of the largest hala groves in the Islands. Po‘okū means “Upright head”[lxxv]

Hanalei Bay

The broad, curving coastline of Hanalei Bay is about five miles long and lined with a sandy crescent of golden-sand beaches. The horseshoe-shaped bay is more than two miles across at the mouth, making it one of the largest bays in the Islands. The warm, turquoise waters of Hanalei Bay are the final destination of the streams and rivers of four ahupua‘a: Hanalei, Wai‘oli, Waipā, and Waikoko.

[Photograph: Hanalei Bay showing both Pu‘upōā and Makahoa]

[Photo Caption:]

“The view from the anchorage has been pronounced by travelers as one of the finest in the world.”

Whitney, 1875[lxxvi]

The eastern point of Hanalei Bay is known as Pu‘upōā; pu‘u means “hill” or “peak,” and pōā means “robber, pirate; to rob, plunder.”[lxxvii] The western point of Hanalei Bay is Makahoa, which means “Friendly point.”[lxxviii]

Ironically, Makahoa was said to be the home of an ‘ōlohe (robber) named Ka-pua‘a-pilau and his two friends who were trained in the ancient skills of lua (bone breaking). They attacked people passing by and placed the bodies in caves at the bottom of Makahoa Ridge. The robbers were finally dealt with by the konohiki (headman) of the ahupua‘a of Wainiha.[lxxix]

The first two British ships of war to visit Hanalei were the Sulphur and the Starling, which sailed into Hanalei Bay in July of 1837. According to Captain Belcher of the Sulphur, the ships “anchored in the snug bay of Hanalae, on the N.W. side of the island.”[lxxx]

The crews also completed the first official survey and charting of Hanalei Bay. The Hawaiian Islands were then known by Westerners as the Sandwich Islands, having been given that name by Captain Cook in honor of his patron, the First Lord of the Admiralty, the Earl of Sandwich. Captain Belcher recorded the name of Kaua‘i as Atooi (Taui).

Hanalei farmers and ranchers supplied the crews of the Sulphur and Starling with a variety of food products. “Our object in coming hither was to embark bullocks,” wrote Belcher, “which, we were assured, were better and cheaper than at Oahu; and we were fully repaid for the trouble; we obtained noble animals.”[lxxxi]

Belcher also noted that “large quantities of meat had been salted, and much butter cured...the cattle we embarked twelve, having already experienced their superiority over any I have met out of England.”[lxxxii] The ships’ crews also acquired “vegetables of the finest quality...fruits, poultry, turkeys, &c., cheap and in abundance. Water can be filled in the boats, by sending them into the river.”[lxxxiii]



[i] p. 267, Hazlett, Richard W. and Hyndman, Donald W. Roadside Geology of Hawai‘i. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1996.

[ii] See Timeline: c.200-500 A.D.

[iii] See Timeline: c.4,000 B.C.

[iv] See Timeline.

[v] p. 2, Pre-Contact Hanalei. Hanalei Yesterday, Part I, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1990.

[vi] p. 6, Examples of Hanalei Land Commission Awards. Credit: Carol Silva, Hanalei Yesterday, Part I, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1990.

[vii] Wall, W. A. Map of Hanalei. Map and Survey, 1893. Traced from Government Survey Map No. 1833, August, 1913

[viii] p. 9, Polk-Husted Directory of Honolulu and the Territory of Hawaii, 1914. Hanalei Yesterday, Part II, 1000 Friends of Kauai, 1997.

[ix] p. iv, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[x] p. 33, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 263.

[xi] Schnack 1915: 198

[xii] p. 1, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xiii] p. 106, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xiv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[xv] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998. [Halele‘a is also translated as “pleasure house.” [p. 3, Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.]

[xvi] p. 266, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 2441.

[xvii] Name meanings come from: Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974. Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998; and Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names.

[xviii] Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[xix] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xx] Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[xxi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[xxii] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxiii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[xxiv] Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[xxv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[xxvi] Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society. Another meaning is “To request to the gods in prayer.” Wichman also suggests other means of Waipā: “‘touched water,’ or Wai-pa‘a, ‘dammed-up water,’...the translation ‘dammed-up water’ refers to the frequent building up of a sand bar that prevents the stream from flowing directly into the ocean,” P. 114, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxvii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[xxviii] p. 3, Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[xxix] Frederick B. Wichman wrote: “According to Lyle A. Dickey the name is pronounced as one word, Lumahai, so named for a medicinal plant and also a string figure (a cat’s cradle)”, p. 116, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxx] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[xxxi] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998. Also, “Fierce water.” Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society. Dickey adds, “as the WAINIHA stream often is when in flood.” p. 3, Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[xxxii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974. A saying is noted: “a Lohi‘au-ipo i Hā‘ena lā, ‘ena‘ena ke aloha ke hiki mai,” which translates to “and Lohi‘au-ipo at Red-hot, hot the love that comes.” [P. 34, Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[xxxiii] pp. 322-323, Damon, Ethel M. Koamalu: A Story of Pioneers on Kauai and of What They Built in That Island Garden. Volume 1. Privately Printed, Honolulu, 1931.

[xxxiv] p. 110, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxxv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[xxxvi] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxxvii] Hīhīmanu means “Great Ray Fish (from its shape),” or “Various sting rays (Dasyatidae) and eagle rays (Actobatus narinari).” [Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986.] Manta rays may have a wingspan of up to 22 feet.

[xxxviii] p. 109, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[xxxix] p. 239, Damon, Ethel M. Letters from the Life of Abner and Lucy Wilcox, 1836-1869. Honolulu: privately printed, 1950.

[xl] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974

[xli] Island Folklore, Kauai Magazine, Fall, 1995.

[xlii] Island Folklore, Kauai Magazine, Fall, 1995.

[xliii] p. 113, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998

[xliv] p. 113, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998. citing Akina’s “Story of the Menehune People.”

[xlv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[xlvi] Moffat, Riley M., and Fitzpatrick, Gary L. Surveying the Māhele. Honolulu: Editions Limited, 1995.

[xlvii] p. 104, Whitney, Henry M. The Hawaiian Guide Book for Travelers. 1875. Reprint. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1970.

[xlix] 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.

[l] p. 172, Pukui, Mary Kawena. ‘Ōlelo No‘eau: Hawaiian Proverbs & Poetical Sayings. Honolulu: Bishop Museum Press, 1983. Proverb 1590.

[li] p. 108, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[lii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[liii] p. 105, Moffat, Riley M., and Fitzpatrick, Gary L. Surveying the Māhele. Honolulu: Editions Limited, 1995.

[liv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974

[lv] p. 138, Korn, Alfons L. The Victorian Visitors; An Account of the Hawaiian Kingdom, 1861-1866. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1958.

[lvi] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[lvii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986. Wai means “water,” or when it is used in a place name, wai means “river” or “stream.” Pā is defined as “to touch, get, contact, reach, gain control of, hit, experience.

[lviii] p. 114, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[lix] Hanalei Place Names (1934), gave the meaning of “Waipa” as “walled off water -- perhaps because of the constant sand bar at the mouth of the WAIPA STREAM.” Page 3, Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[lx] Dark-rumped petrels, Pterodroma phaeopygia sandwichensis.

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

[lxii] p. 3, Dickey, Lyle A. Hanalei Place Names. Read at the meeting of the Kauai Historical Society, Oct. 22, 1934. On file at Kaua‘i Historical Society.

[lxiii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[lxiv] Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998.

[lxv] p. 115, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998, citing Rice, Hawaiian Legends, pp. 47-48.

[lxvi] The authors noted, “Usually, dryland terraces are assembled from locally derived and unaltered rock. These are two sites that exhibit an otherwise undocumented construction technique for the area and may represent agricultural, occupational and tool manufacturing processes...Habitation attributes include platforms, terraces, enclosures and walls...settlement in the surrounding hillsides involved the placement of habitation features upslope from and overlooking agricultural terraces.” p. 80, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxvii] p. 323, Damon, Ethel M. Koamalu: A Story of Pioneers on Kauai and of What They Built in That Island Garden. Volume 1. Privately Printed, Honolulu, 1931.

[lxviii] p. 62, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxix] p. 65, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxx] The China Ditch intake on the Hanalei River is about 3.7 miles from the ocean.

[lxxi] pp. 67-68, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxxii] p.68, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxxiii] P. 68, Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxxiv] “This modern diversion connects with the historic ditch south of the tunnel systems and the open ditch continues north for approximately 1,000 m through the tunnel systems and around the bend of the Hanalei River in the east side of the valley. Two historic artifact concentrations are recorded at different locations along the ditch.” Archaeological Investigations of Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge, Hanalei, Island of Kaua‘i, by Lisa Shapiro, M.A., and William A. Shapiro, M.A., May, 1995.

[lxxv] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. & Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised & Expanded Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1974.

[lxxvi] p. 104, Whitney, Henry M. The Hawaiian Guide Book for Travelers. 1875. Reprint. Rutland, Vt.: Tuttle, 1970.

[lxxvii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, and Elbert, Samuel H. Hawaiian Dictionary: Revised and Enlarged Edition. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1986. According to legend, “not so kind were the winds ‘Ō-lau-niu-o-Pu‘upoa, ‘coconut-leaf-piercing wind of Pu‘upoa,’ and Pae-hahi-o-ka-iholena, ‘Row of trampled iholena banana trees.’” P. 109, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998, citing: Winds of Kauai, translated by Mary Kawena Pūku‘i (Ka Na‘i Aupuni, June 18-20, 1906).

[lxxviii] Pukui, Mary Kawena, Elbert, Samuel H., and Mookini, Esther T. Place Names of Hawaii: Revised and Expanded Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 1974.

[lxxix] pp. 115-116, Wichman, Frederick B. Kaua‘i: Ancient Place-Names and Their Stories. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1998, citing Knudsen, Teller of Hawaiian Tales.

[lxxx] p. 60, 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.

[lxxxi] p. 61, 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.

[lxxxii] p. 281, 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.

[lxxxiii] p. 61, 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.