Moloka‘i Island can be divided into three ecological regions based on rainfall, exposure to northeast trade winds and landform: (1) the wet, windward valleys of the north shore, (2) the dry, leeward valleys of the south shore, and (3) the arid rocklands of the island’s west end.
The Kalaupapa Peninsula, located at the western end of these valleys, is a unique landform formed by a volcanic rejuvenation centered on the Kauhakō Crater (about 330-thousand years ago,) at the base of the north shore’s cliffs.
Archaeological and carbon-dating evidence indicate that the initial settlement and presence of people on the Kalaupapa (“the flat plain”) peninsula on the Island of Molokaʻi was between 800 and 1200.
Next to the peninsula is a distinctly-different, wet ecological zone with sediment soils distributed at the bottoms of the short Waihānau and Wai‘ale‘ia Valleys, the large Waikolu Valley and along the base of the cliffs.
Based on archaeological studies, the northern portion of the peninsula has “two main types of agricultural complexes … alignments with enclosures around them, and alignments without enclosures”. The density of plots within the later type suggested “possible intensification of an earlier field system”.
Identified as the Kalaupapa Field System, there is a grid of rain-fed plots, defined by low stone field walls built, in part, to shelter sweet potatoes and other crops from trade winds, that cover the Kalaupapa Peninsula.
It appears that the field system was a secondary area of settlement and agricultural development, with the wetter valley and sediment soil being the preferred areas.
Like other windward areas, wind erosion is a problem. To address this, long, narrow linear plots (defined by low field walls,) are packed densely together in locations exposed to the northeast trade winds. In addition, plots were in swales between boulder outcrops.
Initial theories suggested the entire field system was primarily the result of a historic boom in the production of potatoes for “gold rush” markets in California.
Recent work by various teams of archaeologists, which included surveys in different ecological zones – specifically, the peninsula and several valleys – revealed a well-preserved archaeological landscape across the region.
Instead of enclosed fields associated with the more recent historic era, archaeologists found dense rows of unenclosed alignments and substantial house sites quite unlike the temporary shelters found in other Hawaiian field systems.
The findings suggest that early agricultural development in the area started well before the “gold rush” exports and was first concentrated in valleys (with permanent streams) and, perhaps more significantly, that most of the Kalaupapa Field System was likely to have been built before European contact.
Although limited cultivation in dryland environments may have begun as early as 1200 and continued through the 13th century, widespread burning across the Kalaupapa Peninsula, which archaeologists suggest signals of the beginning of the Kalaupapa Field System, does not commence until 1450-1550.
It appears that not only is there a correlation between rich, geologically young soils and Hawaiian dryland intensive agricultural systems, but also the creation of these large-scale systems around 1400 appears to have been nearly simultaneous in both windward and leeward districts.
Then, between 1650 and 1795, there were increases in the peninsula population, indicated by house sites, rock shelters, an animal enclosure, a possible shrine and a site interpreted as a men’s house (mua.)
In terms of agriculture, there is good evidence that people continued to actively cultivate the entire area throughout this period.
Following the abandonment of the field system at the end of the 18th century, settlement shifted to small house sites spread along the coast and local roadways.
The introduction of cattle in 1830 caused the construction of large, architecturally-distinct walls to protect fields and yards from roving animals.
In 1849, portions of the fields were reactivated and intensified to supply potatoes and other crops to California’s “gold rush” markets.
The Kingdom of Hawaiʻi instituted in 1865 a near century-long program of segregation and isolation of patients with Hansen’s Disease (leprosy) and patients were banished to the isolated peninsula of Kalaupapa, displacing resident families.
The image is an aerial view of the Kalaupapa peninsula area – the parallel walls are easily evident in the image. Information and images here are from work and publications from Mark D. McCoy, PhD, Assistant Professor, Anthropology at San Jose State University. In addition, I have added other images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
The Hale Nauā (also known as Ualo Malie (Malo)) was a secret royal society established on September 24, 1886 when King Kalākaua obtained a charter for it from the Privy Council.
William D. Alexander writes, that it was formed “not without difficulty, on account of the suspicion that was felt in regard to its character and objects. According to its constitution it was founded forty quadrillions of years after the founding of the world, and twenty-four thousand seven hundred and fifty years from Lailai, the first woman.” The bylaws are loosely based on Masonic bylaws. (Forbes)
Alexander writes, “So far as the secret proceedings and objects of the society have transpired, it appears to have been indirectly to serve as a political machine.” At the time the organization was also known as the “Ball and Twine Society”. (Forbes)
According to its constitution, the society was “the revival of Ancient Sciences of Hawaii in combination with the promotion and advancement of Modern Sciences, Art, Literature, and Philanthropy.” (Daws)
It was Kalākaua’s idea, and its membership was limited to men with Hawaiian blood – the King served as president. (Daws)
The original hale nauā scrutinized the genealogical qualifications of those who claimed relationship to the chiefs, as Hawaiian historian David Malo described in a short passage of Moʻolelo Hawaiʻi.
The doings at the house were conducted in the following manner. When the king had entered the house and taken his seat, in the midst of a large assembly of people including many skilled genealogists, two guards were posted outside at the gate of the pa. (The guards were called kaikuono.) (Malo)
If the genealogists who were sitting with the king recognized a suitable relationship to exist between the ancestry of the candidate and that of the king he was approved of. (Malo)
Mary Kawena Pukui and Nathaniel B. Emerson refer to nauā or nauwe as the challenge addressed to those applying for admission.
Malo notes that “Nauā?” was the word of challenge which was addressed to everyone who presented himself for admission to this society; the meaning of which it being a question, Whence are you? What is your ancestry? Genealogists and historians investigated claims back to the tenth generation of ancestry. (Malo)
Kalākaua’s Hale Nauā had much broader objectives than those of the original hale nauā. While seeking to revive many elements of Hawaiian culture that were slipping away, the king also promoted the advancement of modern sciences, art and literature. (HJH)
The members of Kalākaua’s Hale Nauā undertook relatively uncontroversial activities such as wearing feather capes and cloaks of the Aliʻi (chiefs), sponsoring displays of Hawaiian artifacts at international exhibitions in Melbourne and Paris, and promoting the production of fine tapa, woodwork and shellwork. (HJH)
Officers, guards and watchmen supervised the comings and goings of aspirants to assure the smooth functioning of the group. However, the founding members of Kalākaua’s Hale Nauā interpreted the name of the organization in two ways: initially as the “House of Wisdom” and later as the “Temple of Science” during the 1886-1891 period. (HJH)
According to Thrum, Kalākaua, through his “Nauā Society” built the Kamauakapu Heiau in Kapahulu on the slopes on Diamond Head. It measures approximately 11 x 15.8 feet in size and was constructed in 1888.
The new society was criticized widely among the largely haole planter-business-missionary alliance for this “new departure in Hawaiian politics,” Kalākaua continued this policy while also delving deeper into Hawaiian culture. (HJH)
During the 1880s, the population of Hawaiians continued to decline (from more than 44,000 to 34,000) as new immigrants from China, Japan and Portugal relocated to the kingdom.
It was a time of political and social turbulence in the Hawaiian kingdom. From the early 1880s, Kalākaua sought to increase the number of native Hawaiians in government positions, hoping to reverse the domination by foreigners that began a half-century earlier.
The image shows Hawaiian Exhibits from the Hale Nauā Society exhibited in Sydney October, 1888. In addition, there are a couple other images related to Hale Nauā Society in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
The Kūkaniloko Birthstones site is one of the most significant cultural sites on O‘ahu. This significance was recognized in the listing of the site on the National and Hawai’i Registers of Historic Places.
Kūkaniloko means “to anchor the cry from within.”
The 5-acre site was acquired by the State of Hawaiʻi in 1992 and placed under the jurisdiction of State Parks to preserve and interpret this important historic site.
Kūkaniloko was one of two places in Hawai‘i specifically designated for the birth of high-ranking children; the other site was Holoholokū at Wailua on Kaua’i.
These royal birthing sites maintained the antiquity and purity of the chiefly lineages on O‘ahu and Kaua‘i. It is said that chiefs from Hawai‘i Island and Maui often sought greater prestige by marrying those with these strong ancestral lineages.
The site is marked by 180 stones covering an area of about ½-acre. Many of these stones have surface depressions and fluted edges with a coating of red dirt. These surfaces are probably a combination of natural weathering and human craftsmanship over many generations.
Today, they appear as very smooth, round, “sit-spots” in the rocks, with no signs of tools or human workmanship; only their uniform symmetry and design would indicate human craftsmanship.
One can immediately visualize the use of these stone “sit-spots” in childbirth, for many of them have natural backrests behind the depressions, which would have given firm support to a straining mother-to-be. It is small wonder that these birthstones would have been revered and reserved for childbirth for chiefesses.
With assistance from her attendants, the chiefess would lean against the stone and follow the prescribed regulations for birthing (liloe kapu).
Beginning with the birth of Kapawa, Kūkaniloko became recognized as the royal birthsite on O’ahu. Based on genealogical records, the dates of Kapawa’s birth range from A.D. 1100 to A.D. 1400, but the date could be earlier.
A child born in the presence of the chiefs was called “he ali‘i” (a chief), “he akua” (a god), “he wela” (a blaze of heat). The births of at least 4 renown chiefs of O‘ahu are recorded at Kūkaniloko – La‘a (ca. 1420,) Mā‘ilikūkahi (ca. 1520,) Kalanimanuia (ca. 1600) and Kākuhihewa (ca. 1640).
The reign of these chiefs was marked by good deeds, peace and prosperity.
This place was so highly viewed that, even in later times, Kamehameha I, in 1797, previous to the birth of his son and successor, Liholiho (Kamehameha II,) made arrangements to have his birth take place at Kūkaniloko; but the illness of Queen Keōpūolani prevented that (Liholiho was born in Hilo.)
Major trails crossed the island and intersected near Kūkaniloko. The Waialua Trail ran from Waialua through Wahiawā to ‘Ewa. The Kolekole Trail from Wai‘anae crossed the Wai‘anae Range and joined the Waialua Trail near Kūkaniloko.
To the south of the birthstones is the Wai‘anae Mountain Range with prominent peaks such as Kaʻala and a dip known as Kolekole. According to oral tradition, these features create an image of a pregnant woman known as “wahine hāpai.”
From Kūkaniloko, the setting of the sun at peaks (pu‘u) along the Waiʻanae Range could be observed and used as a calendar. Some of the stones at Kūkaniloko may have been used as reference points to observe the sun setting behind, Mt. Ka‘ala at the equinox.
Likewise, it is believed that alignments and marking on the stones illustrate navigational directions. (Today, September 22, 2012) is the Autumnal Equinox; from Kūkaniloko, the setting sun is aligned with Mt. Kaʻala.)
Wahiawā is translated as place of rumbling. It is said that Wahiawā is where thunderstorms, the voices of the ancestral gods, welcomed an offspring of divine rank. Being the center of O‘ahu, Kūkaniloko is also symbolic of the piko (navel, as well as center) and thus, birth.
The site is managed and maintained through a partnership between DLNR-State Parks, the Hawaiian Civic Club of Wahiawā and the Friends of Kūkaniloko. Additional support for interpretive efforts at the site has been provided by the Wahiawā Hospital Association and the Wahiawā Community and Business Association.
The Kūkaniloko birthstones are located next to a dusty (or muddy) plantation road and are partially surrounded by former pineapple fields. The turn-off from Kamehameha Highway just north of the town of Wahiawā, at the Whitmore Village intersection (bridge repair in Wahiawa is making traffic in the area a challenge.)
The image shows Kūkaniloko; I have added other images related to Kūkaniloko in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
In 1846, Article V of the “Statute Laws of His Majesty Kamehameha III” was published. The law defined the responsibilities and rights the konohiki and people had to the wide range of fishing grounds and resources. It codified the prior traditional and customary fishing practices.
The law also addressed the practice of designating kapu or restrictions on the taking of fish, tribute of fish paid to the King and identified specific types of fisheries from the freshwater and pond fisheries to those on the high seas under the jurisdiction of the Kingdom.
Section II of the law stated, “The fishing grounds from the reefs, and where there happen to be no reefs from the distance of one geographical mile seaward to the beach at low water mark, shall in law be considered the private property of the landlords whose lands, by ancient regulation, belong to the same”.
Therefore, a typical ahupuaʻa (what we generally refer to as watersheds, today) was a long strip of land, narrow at its mountain summit top and becoming wider as it ran down a valley into the sea to the outer edge of the reef. If there was no reef then the sea boundary would extend into the deep water.
While Hawaiʻi has some fantastic reefs, there are areas where there are no reefs (i.e. sandy bottom or muliwai (estuaries and river mouths where flowing freshwater prevented coral growth.))
So, how can a konohiki and the tenants of an ahupuaʻa that does not have a reef fronting the land fish for reef fish?
Like today, in many cases, the ancient Hawaiians built artificial reefs. They were called umu (or imu.)
In Hawaiʻi, as well as other areas of Polynesia, rock shelters were constructed that provided protections and sources of food for reef fish.
Large and small stones were piled into walls with an underwater chamber. Algal growth on the rocks provided them a source of food. Small fish attracted larger fish. Openings in the rock piles allowed small fish to hide.
These rock piles acted like naturally-occurring rock outcrops and coral reef habitats. They provided protection from predators and a food supply for reef fish.
“Such shelters were quite common in the islands. On Oʻahu, evidence of their existence has been found in Kāneʻohe Bay and around Kahaluʻu and Waiʻāhole.” (Kanahele)
“Besides providing stability and some protection from predators, these shelters also helped to regulate fish growth and potentially increase fish stocks by serving as artificial homes for fish to congregate and reproduce.” (Kikiloi)
Some of the prominent fish species that inhabited these shelters were squirrelfish (u‘u), unicornfish (kala), surgeonfish (manini), goatfish (moano), greater amberjack (kahala), parrotfish (uhu) and eels (puhi). (Kikiloi)
“These were the predecessors of present-day attempts to attract fish to Waikīkī and other places with artificial reefs.” (Kanahele)
The Territory of Hawai`i began looking into the possibility of installing artificial shelters in areas of sparse natural habitat. Back in 1957, the proposed purpose of these shelters was to increase and enhance opportunities for fishermen.
In 1961, the State’s first artificial reef was created at Maunalua Bay, off Kahala, Oʻahu (74 acres). Then, in 1963, two more artificial reefs were created off Keawakapu, Maui (54 acres) and Waianae, Oʻahu (141 acres).
A fourth artificial reef was created in 1972 off Kualoa, O`ahu (1,727 acres). The Ewa Deepwater artificial reef (31 acres) was built in 1986.
Unlike the other four reefs, which were deployed at depths of 50-100 feet, the Ewa reef was sunk in 50-70 fathoms (300-420 feet) of water for “new” bottomfish habitat.
Initially, car bodies were the primary material used to construct artificial reefs. Then, from 1964-1985, concrete pipes were mainly used to build these reefs. In addition, several barges and minesweeper vessels were sunk.
From 1985-1991 the program used concrete and tire modules as the main artificial reef components. Other items used included derelict concrete material, barges, and even large truck tires.
From 1991 to the present, materials deployed have mainly been concrete “Z-modules” (4-feet by 8-feet, with 1-foot high “legs” on end of opposing sides.) Other components include barges, derelict concrete material and several small vessels.
The image shows a layout and depiction of the Hawaiian Imu – Umu (from Kekuewa Kikiloi.) In addition, I have added other images of artificial reefs in Hawaiʻi in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.