At the time of initial contact, Hawaiian subsistence economy was dominated by two distinct agricultural ecosystems: (1) irrigated ponds (primarily for taro production) near permanent streams that could feed irrigation canals and (2) extensive tracts of dryland, rain-fed intensive cultivation (focused on the cultivation of sweet potatoes.)
Although irrigated ponds continued after contact, the intensive dryland field systems were abandoned in the early decades of the nineteenth century (probably due to greater labor demands for the dryland systems.)
Until recently, no intensive, dryland rain-fed field systems had been identified on Maui. However, now, there is clear evidence of such a system at Kaupō.
Before getting into the specifics of the field system, let’s recall what was happening in and around Kaupō in late pre-contact times.
Kaupō is associated in Hawaiian oral traditions with Kekaulike, a famous Maui king (ali‘i nui) who on genealogical estimates is dated to approximately the early eighteenth century.
Kekaulike made Kaupō his residential seat, and assembled his army at Mokulau, preparing for a war of conquest against his rivals on Hawai‘i Island.
After returning from his invasion of Kohala, Kekaulike resided at Kaupō, where he died. The succession of the Maui kingship demonstrated the importance that Kaupō had in the late pre-contact Maui kingdom.
Kaupō is on the south-eastern flanks of Haleakalā, Maui.
The district is dominated by the “Kaupō Gap,” a breach of the southern wall of Haleakalā Crater with a rejuvenation phase of a massive outpouring of lava flows (and one major mudflow) through the Kaupō Gap and down to the sea, creating a vast accretion fan. The Hawaiians called this fan Nā Holokū (“The Cloak.”)
It was this great fan of young lavas with high nutrient content, combined with ideal climate conditions that provided the environmental potential for intensive agricultural production in Kaupō.
Given its use as a Royal Center for Island Ali‘i, there was a definite need for sufficient crop production. Fortunately, the area has an ideal combination of soils, elevation and rainfall making it also a predictable environment for an intensive dryland field system to feed the people.
Historic records note that this region was identified as “the greatest continuous dry planting area in the Hawaiian islands,” both in ancient times and well into the 1930s. But this old culture was vanishing due to a combination of economic and climatic circumstances.
Oral traditions state that sweet potatoes were cultivated from sea level up to about 2,000 feet elevation and great quantities of dry taro were planted in the lower forest belt from one end of the district to the other.
Using high-resolution color aerial photographs of Kaupō and then confirming their findings on the ground, archaeologists identified grid patterns over significant parts of the landscape, confirming the existence of a major dryland field system, the first to be identified for Maui Island.
The field system a closely spaced grid of east-west embankments and small field plots bisected at right angles by longer north-south trending walls; it covered an area of 3,000 to nearly 4,000-acres and could have supported a population of 8,000-10,000 people.
A range of smaller features such as enclosures, shelters and platforms are found within the field system area indicating the presence of a complex social community integrated within the system.
This was truly dryland agriculture, there was no evidence to level terraces as in irrigated pondfield systems (taro lo‘i,) and there was no evidence of water control features or channels; so the conclusion was the system was strictly rainfed.
The most common feature type consists of stacked or core-filled stone-walled enclosures; many of these are rectangular and may be the foundation walls for thatched houses, but a few larger, irregular enclosures may be animal pens.
On Hawai‘i Island, field system complexes are associated with prominent ceremonial structures (heiau) and royal residential centers, such as Mo‘okini Heiau at the northern tip of Kohala, and the royal centers at Kealakekua and Hōnaunau in Kona.
This strong association between field systems and ceremonial architecture is not surprising, given that these intensively cultivated field complexes provided the underpinning of the elite economy.
Like other areas, two heiau at Kaupō stand out for their massive size and labor invested in their construction, Lo‘alo‘a and Kou.
Lo‘alo‘a Heiau is one of the largest on Maui and indeed in the entire archipelago and is associated in Hawaiian traditions with King Kekaulike, who ruled Maui in the early 1700s. Kou Heiau, on a lava promontory jutting into the sea is on the western end of the Kaupō field system.
It is believed that Kaupō with its field system at one time played an important role in the emerging Maui population, particularly in the final century prior to European contact, when it became the seat of the paramount Kekaulike.
The enormous capacity of these field systems enabled the rise of a population center; Lo‘alo‘a and Kou heiau on either side of the Kaupō fields illustrate the inseparable links between agriculture and the religious traditions of ancient Hawai‘i.
The image shows the general location and some of the field walls of the Kaupo Field System. A special thanks to Patrick Kirch for information and images on the Kaupō Field System (P. V. Kirch, J. Holson, and A. Baer, 2009, Intensive dryland agriculture in Kaupō, Maui, Hawaiian Islands. Asian Perspectives 48:265-290.)
I have added other images and maps of this area in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
Pūowaina (hill of placing [human sacrifices]) was formed some 75,000 to 100,000 years ago during the Honolulu period of secondary volcanic activity. A crater resulted from the ejection of hot lava through cracks in the old coral reefs which, at the time, extended to the foot of the Ko‘olau Mountain Range.
A 1916 article in Scientific Monthly described it: “The Hawaiian name for this venerable crater is Pu-o-Waina and it has a tragic significance. The original form, from which the modern spelling is abbreviated, was Puu O waiho ana, literally the hill of offering or sacrifice.”
The people “were dominated by the dreadful tabu system that once ruled all Polynesia. The penalty for any violation of its intricate regulations was death. Pu-o-waina was one of the places near Honolulu where the bodies of the offenders were ceremoniously burned” (the penalty for any violation of kapu.)
Later, during the reign of Kamehameha dynasty, a battery of two cannons was mounted at the rim of the crater. “There were only three men in the fort … The guns were mounted on a platform at the very edge of the precipice that overlooked the harbor and town. They were thirty-two pound caliber. … The situation is very commanding, and notwithstanding the distance, the battery would be formidable to an enemy in the harbor.” (Lieutenant Hiram Paulding, USN, 1826)
Early in the 1880s, leasehold land on the slopes of the Punchbowl opened for settlement and in the 1930s the crater was used as a rifle range for the Hawaii National Guard (the military references to uses include Reservation, Punchbowl Battery or Fort Kekūanaō‘a.)
Punchbowl Battery under King Kalākaua consisted of six four-pounders, though the “fort” was no longer manned; an observer noted that upon this “novel promontory…a few rusty old cannon slumber in the ruins of what may have been once considered a fort.” (Hemenway 1887)
During the late 1890s, a committee recommended that the Punchbowl become the site for a new cemetery to accommodate the growing population of Honolulu.
The idea was rejected for fear of polluting the water supply and the emotional aversion to creating a city of the dead above a city of the living.
Toward the end of World War II, tunnels were dug through the rim of the crater for the placement of shore batteries to guard Honolulu Harbor and the south edge of Pearl Harbor.
In 1943, the governor of Hawaiʻi offered the Punchbowl for use as a national memorial cemetery; in February 1948 Congress approved funding and construction began. The first interment was made Jan. 4, 1949.
The cemetery opened to the public on July 19, 1949, with services for five war dead: an unknown serviceman, two Marines, an Army lieutenant and one civilian—noted war correspondent Ernie Pyle.
Initially, the graves at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific were marked with white wooden crosses and Stars of David; however, in 1951, these were replaced by permanent flat granite markers.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific was the first such cemetery to install Bicentennial Medal of Honor headstones, the medal insignia being defined in gold leaf. On May 11, 1976, a total of 23 of these were placed on the graves of medal recipients, all but one of whom were killed in action.
The National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific contains a memorial pathway that is lined with a variety of memorials that honor America’s veterans from various organizations – most commemorating soldiers of 20th-century wars, including those killed at Pearl Harbor.
More than five million visitors come to the cemetery each year to pay their respects to the dead and to enjoy the panoramic view from the Punchbowl.
The image shows Pūowaina (Punchbowl) from a Google Earth perspective. In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
Ni‘ihau was formed from a single shield volcano approximately 4.89-million years ago, making it slightly younger in age than Kaua‘i.
It is approximately 70-square miles or 44,800-acres, and sea cliffs are a prominent feature of the eastern coast. Approximately 78-percent of the island is below 500-feet in elevation.
Ni‘ihau has no perennial streams. Among Ni‘ihau’s most unique natural features are several intermittent lakes.
Halulu Lake is a natural freshwater lake covering approximately 182 acres and Halāli‘i Lake is an intermittent lake covering approximately 841 acres (considered the largest lake in Hawai‘i.)
These lakes are sometimes called “playa” or “intermittent lakes.” This is because the water comes from rainfall, which only averages between 20 to 40 inches per year on Ni‘ihau. During dry years, the lakes are typically dry.
The lakes provide habitat for ‘alae ke‘oke‘o (Hawaiian coot), ae‘o (Hawaiian stilt) and koloa maoli (Hawaiian duck).
The lakes and island fit into a story about the 1941 Pearl Harbor attacks.
As early as 1924, it was reported that the military had predicted a possible attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor.
Back then, they even suggested that the remote and relatively vacant island of Niʻihau might be used as a staging area for the attack.
The obvious concern was that Japanese plans could land their attack planes on the open and level areas on the island.
Niʻihau owner, Alymer Robinson, took it upon himself to take precautions against the Japanese landing on Niʻihau by plowing trenches in the dry lake bed to preventing planes from landing and taking-off.
Plowing using mules began in 1933. In 1937, a small tractor was purchased to expedite the furrowing. Reportedly, they had crisscrossed the island with over 5000 miles of furrows.
The tractor continued to be used as a farm implement until around 1957.
On December 7, 1941 a Zero did crash land on Niʻihau, changing the lives of those who lived there and the lives of thousands of American citizens of Japanese descent. (I summarized that incident in a May 6, 2012 post – http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=3083845418429&set=a.1519996763190.2073258.1332665638&type=3&theater)
In 2004, I had the opportunity to visit Niʻihau (landing at a Navy facility at the top of the pali, as well as circling most of the island by helicopter.)
I saw the still-remaining furrow-work throughout the Niʻihau lakes. The image shows one of the lakes and you can see the patch-work furrows cut into the lake bottom.
The tractor used by the Robinsons is on display at the Pacific Aviation Museum Pearl Harbor. (Some photos and portions of this text are from information from pacificaviationmuseum-org newsletter and on flickr-com (WallyGobetz.))
In addition, some other Niʻihau and related photos are included in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
Waipā, at 1,600-acres, is one of the smallest in a series of nine historic ahupuaʻa within Kauai’s moku (district) of Haleleʻa. Located along the north coast of Kauaʻi, Haleleʻa today is commonly referred to as the Kauaʻi “north shore”.
Haleleʻa is a historic moku, which today encompasses the communities of Kilauea, Kalihiwai, Wanini/Kalihikai, Princeville, Hanalei/Waiʻoli, Wainiha, and Haʻena. Waipā is located between the ahupuaʻa of Waiʻoli and Waikoko.
What started as a fight in 1982 to preserve the valley and stop a development, the Waipā Foundation of Hanalei Valley and Kamehameha Schools (land owner) are now partnering in restoring the ahupuaʻa of Waipā as a cultural complex.
The Waipā Foundation is a community-based 501 (c) (3) nonprofit, whose mission is to restore the health and abundance of the 1,600-acre Waipā watershed, through the creation of a Hawaiian community center and learning center.
The Foundation, and its predecessor The Hawaiian Farmers of Hanalei, have been implementing this mission in their management of the valley since 1986.
One of Waipā Foundation’s core goals is to empower and enrich the communities along Kauaʻi’s Haleleʻa district – with a special focus on the Hawaiian, low-income and at-risk communities – through the creation of community assets, development and implementation of programs focusing on culture, enrichment, education and leadership and that foster a strong connection with, and love of, the land and resources.
Waipā is a living learning center that hosts organized groups from Hawaiʻi and beyond that are interested in contributing to the work at Waipā, and learning about the Hawaiian culture and environment – and the relationships between the two – through hands-on experiences.
Two of Waipā Foundation’s long-range goals are:
• To restore the health of the natural environment and native ecosystems of the ahupuaʻa, and to involve our community in the stewardship, restoration, and management of the land and resources within the ahupuaʻa of Waipā.
• To practice and foster social, economic and environmental sustainability in the management of Waipā’s natural and cultural resources.
In the mauka area, restoration of the native forest has been an important priority. Upper Waipā was historically deforested by the Sandalwood trade, cattle ranching and forest fire; and today is overrun by non-native grasses, shrubs and trees.
In the past few years, over 2,000 native trees and shrubs have been established in a network of planting sites in the mauka riparian zone at Waipā. Most of the seed for the outplantings was collected from within Waipa, and the surrounding areas.
In the ‘kula’ zone of the ahupuaʻa (where in ancient times was the area for growing food and living,) Waipa Foundation has been creating and restoring wetland and dryland farming areas, for kalo and other food crops.
Waipā’s lo’i is a 2-acre area that is farmed by staff, volunteers and program participants, as a learning site and for kalo production through experimenting with more organic and sustainable approaches.
Waipā hosts a farmers market which makes fresh, local produce and food available to community and visitors. They also grow, make and distribute produce (grown at Waipā) and poi to community and ohana, on a weekly basis.
In the makai area, work has been ongoing to restore the muliwai (estuary,) as well as the Halulu fishpond. Likewise, with restoration and native plant planting along the stream bank, efforts are underway to protect Waiʻoli Stream.
Lots of good stuff is going on at Waipā.
In addition to all this, join them – 11 am – 3 pm, Sunday, August 19th (today) Waipā Foundation is hosting a community festival celebrating the summer mango harvest.
Adult Admission $1, Keiki FREE Music! Local Artisans! Fresh Fruits & Veggies! Recipe Contest for Best Dessert and Best Pickled Mango.
The image highlights the Waipā Mango Festival; in addition, I have added other images related to this in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.