Crew Blog: Na Pōhaku o Hauwahine, Ulupō Heiau and Kailua
Kailua, Koʻolaupoko —
By Brad Kaʻaleleo Wong.
On Friday October 18th, the Hōkūleʻa crew visited two restoration projects bordering majestic Kawainui. The first stop was at Na Pōhaku O Hauwahine, a large basalt rock outcropping located on the west section of Kawainui along Kapaʻa Quarry road. Here, the community group ʻAhahui Mālama I Ka Lōkahi works to restore the area into a native dryland forest. Once overgrown with introduced koa haole and java plum trees, the area now boasts a large area of native plant species creating a rare complete dryland forest ecosystem from ground cover to canopy. For over a decade, volunteers and other workers have cleared invasive vegetation and created a trail system through the area where panoramic views of the Kailua ahupuaʻa from Oneawa to Maunawili can be seen. A couple of us on the trip were amazed at the progress the area has made since our time at Kamehameha Schools where Doc Burrows, a former teacher, had us do volunteer work in the area.
Na Pōhaku o Hauwahine is also rich in moʻolelo, and as the name suggests, was a hangout spot for the moʻo of Kailua, Hauwahine. In the travels of Hiʻiaka, Hauwahine was the only moʻo that Hiʻiaka did not fight. As we stood at the lookout overlooking Kawainui, the mele O Kailua I ke oho o ka Malanai was offered to Hauwahine. This mele was chanted by Hiʻiaka as she passed by the area to reveal Hauwahine as a moʻo. As we continued on the trail, it was also shown to us by our hosts that one of the rock formations is also shaped like the head of a giant moʻo.
The purpose of our visit to Na Pōhaku was to plant niu at the site to build the foundation of a relationship between Kailua and Hōkūleʻa. Crew members planted 4 niu pointed in the cardinal directions, with plenty of water and an oli to follow. It was an awesome start to the day, and we quickly headed out to our second stop, Ulupō Heiau.
Once again, ʻAhahui Mālama I Ka Lōkahi greeted us along with the Kailua Hawaiian Civic Club, and gave us a brief history of one of the largest heiau on Oʻahu. Ulupō is located on the eastern edge of Kawainui opposite of Na Pōhaku. The specific type of heiau has changed several times, starting off as a māpele or agricultural heiau, then to a luakini, and recently rededicated back to a māpele. Below the heiau, restoration work is being done on numerous loʻi kalo fed by multiple springs. At the bottom where the hill meets Kawainui, active clearing of invasive grass was taking place, and this is where we helped out for the day.
After removing a black tarp used to kill the grass and clearing out any sticks or other vegetation, the crew planted the first kalo in that section of Kawainui in over a hundred years.
This was a special day paying tribute to two locations along Kawainui, which was one of the main food sources for many aliʻi, with Kawainui itself being a large fishpond and many loʻi kalo covering its banks. The crew learned a lot of this place and shared in the joy and dedication that this community has to mālama honua.
The next day, Hōkūleʻa departed Kailua after an unbelievable sendoff with hula from 6 halau of Kailua. The ceremony was topped by a performance from almost a hundred keiki. As the crew prepared to leave on a windless morning, the malanai breeze picked up just enough as they were ready to depart, and the canoe was able to sail out of the bay. Those four days that Hōkūleʻa was in Kailua were probably the four most perfect days I had every seen in Kailua, complete with epic sunrise and sunsets each day. There are a few of us crewmembers who have lived in Kailua all if not most of our lives, and the experience was definitely very surreal and special, one we will always remember.