Thursday, May 20, 2010

OHA grant funds ahupua'a project

Civic club will place signs delineating 11 ancient districts

By Eloise Aguiar
Honolulu Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawai'i Kai will be included in the Windward area when an educational project to delineate ancient Hawaiian ahupua'a boundaries with signs is completed.

The sign project is one of three that the Ko'olaupoko Hawaiian Civic Club will conduct with a $47,269 grant from the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, said Mahealani Cypher, club president.

There are 11 ahupua'a districts in Ko'olaupoko. Ahupua'a are land divisions from the mountain to the sea whose resources once provided all the needs for the people living there.

The OHA grant will also be used for two other projects by the civic club: a book featuring distinguished kama'aina from the Kane'ohe Bay area, and a retreat and directory of cultural practitioners in the Ko'olaupoko area.

The boundary signs project received matching funds from the Harold K.L. Castle Foundation, Cypher said.

The sign project has been under discussion for years and the club decided to use old maps of the Hawaiian Kingdom that place Hawai'i Kai in the Waimanalo ahupua'a, she said.

"We met with the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board and all the other boards and the Hawai'i Kai board seems very happy," Cypher said.

The designation was a surprise to Hawai'i Kai residents, said Greg Knudsen, chairman of the Hawai'i Kai Neighborhood Board. But board members are concerned about the protection and preservation of the Hawaiian culture and archeology, Knudsen said.

"There is a general sense of support for having things acknowledged historically and knowing their traditional place names," he said, adding that he thought the civic club's decision was consistent with the board's past decisions.

The ahupua'a are Kualoa, Hakipu'u, Waikane, Waiahole, Ka'alaea, Waihe'e, Kahalu'u, He'eia, Kane'ohe, Kailua and Waimanalo (including Hawai'i Kai).

In the second phase of the project the club will hire teams of educators, including kupuna and youths, to teach everyone about their natural and cultural resources and Hawaiian sustainability practices, Cypher said.