Poetically the island is reportedly called, “Manōkalanipō”, or “Kauai a Manō” after the ancient chief who was largely responsible for elevating Kauai’s ancient society to sophisticated heights of advancement and productivity. (NativeKauai)
Geologically, Kauai is the oldest of the main inhabited islands in the chain. It is also the northwestern-most island, with Oʻahu separated by the 70-mile long Kaʻieʻie Channel.
Kauai is the fourth largest island in the Hawaiian chain, comprised of a land area of 352,000-acres. Kauai was traditionally divided into 5 moku (districts) including: Koʻolau, Haleleʻa, Nā Pali, Kona and Puna.
(Common district names that are universally used across of the Hawaiian Islands include “Koʻolau” marking the windward sides of the islands; “Kona” – the leeward sides of the islands; and “Puna” – indicating regions where springs and fresh water abound.)
Moku were changed in the late 1800s to Kawaihau, Hanalei, Waimea, Kōloa and Līhuʻe. In 1877, Hanalei and Līhuʻe shared a common boundary.
Kawaihau was set apart by King Kalākaua, who gave that name to the property lying between the Wailua River and Moloa‘a Valley.
Formerly, Anahola (fish poison cave) was part of the moku or district of Ko‘olau. Within the Ko‘olau district were the ahupua`a of: Kīlauea, Kāhili, Waiakalua, Waipake, Lepe‘uli, Ka‘aka‘aniu, Moloa‘a, Papa‘a, Aliomanu and Anahola.
Lae Kuaehu (also Kuaehu) is the promontory that divides Anahola from Aliomanu. Lae Lipoa serves as the southernmost boundary in the Anahola Ahupua‘a – the boundary line runs toward Kalale‘a mountain from east to west.
The Kalale‘a mountain at Anahola includes two prominent mountain peaks known as Hōkū‘alele peak and Kalale‘a Mountain. This latter pu‘u can be seen from land and sea and is spoken of in chants and mele.
With the Anahola Stream as its main water source, generations of native Hawaiians thrived in the ahupua‘a of Anahola inhabiting mostly the valley and nearby coastal areas.
The principal location of the house sites is on the shore line, especially near the mouths of the river valleys where the taro was growing; in the mountains are some house sites and small villages.
In pre-contact times, prior to transformation of ancient Hawaiian religious and political systems, Anahola’s population was comprised of ali‘i, kahuna and makaʻāinana that were experts in the professions of planting and farming, fishing, healing and kapa making.
Commercial sugar cultivation began in 1880 and continued until 1988. The shift from subsistence lifestyle to commercial agricultural impacted the Anahola Hawaiian community.
Cultural traditions like canoe construction, tapa making and traditional houses were lost with the shift of lifestyles.
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is one of the large landowners in the region with approximately 5,000 acres in the Anahola region. DHHL’s 20,565-acres make up 6 % of the total land area of Kauai.
The Hawaiian Homelands Program was started in 1921 with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The department extended the first homestead lease on the island of Kauai to native Hawaiian families in Anahola in early 1957.
An Anahola Japanese community was established by first generation Japanese immigrants from DHHL leaselands in the early 1900s.
Records show that prior to 1947, there were 70 Japanese families living in the Anahola area as farmers. By 1991, there were 19 Japanese families.
In 2008, it was estimated that Native Hawaiians accounted for approximately 5,700 (9%) of the 63,000 residents on the island of Kauai.
Anahola is home to the largest population of Native Hawaiians, approximately 61%, residing on Kauai. Based on historic trends and proposed development, the population in the Kawaihau region can be expected to increase between 8-10% over the next 10 years.