Staying Connected

In our wonderful world of wireless – and connectivity to the internet, etc, we sometimes forget the relative ‘remoteness’ Hawaiʻi has with the rest of civilization. Hawaiʻi is the world’s most-isolated populated-place. While, today, technology keeps us constantly and instantly in touch and aware of world events, the same was not true in the past. Prior to the beginning of the 20th century, you had at least a one-week time lag in receiving “news” (that arrived via ships.)

But without faster worldwide communications to the Islands, Hawaiʻi was deprived of staying current with world events. That changed in 1902, when the first submarine cable across the Pacific was completed (landing in Waikīkī at Sans Souci Beach) linking the US mainland to Hawaiʻi, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Fiji (1902) and Guam to the Philippines in 1903. (The first Atlantic submarine cable, connecting Europe with the USA, was completed in 1866.)

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Mānā is a coastal plain with an ancient sea cliff at its inner edge, which extends from Waimea in the south to the north on the western shores of Kauai. Throughout prehistory, large areas of the Mānā Plain were covered by the great Mānā wetlands, allowing native Hawaiians to canoe as far south as Waimea.

After the arrival of Europeans to the island, the wetlands were drained for cultivation of sugar cane and rice. One of the first European settlers, Valdemar Knudsen, drained a portion of the Mānā wetlands by excavating a ditch through to the ocean at Waiele. The first sugarcane was planted in Kekaha in 1878. The area is now home to farmers and a military facility (Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF.))

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Lapakahi State Historical Park

Lapakahi (“single ridge”) was believed to have been inhabited about 600-700-years ago (1300s. Lapakahi was a place of the maka‘āinana, the fishermen and farmers. They worked to sustain the resources and support their families. As the village prospered, the families moved inland to grow their crops of kalo (taro) and ‘uala (sweet potato).

Families along the shore (makai) traded fish for kalo from the uplands (mauka). Parts of this former village have been partially restored but most of the rocky walls and remains are original. Today, this 265-acre State Park is the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement located along the shoreline of the North Kohala coastline.

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These posts are part of a personal learning experience; I have been searching to learn more about the place I and my family were born, raised, and live (and love) – then, share what I have learned.

Because of my Planning work across the Islands, as well as previously serving as Director of the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, State Historic Preservation Officer and Deputy Managing Director for Hawaiʻi County, I have had the opportunity to see some places and deal with some issues that many others have not had, nor will have, the same opportunity.

So, I am sharing some insights, events and places with others. These informal historic summaries are presented for personal, non-commercial and/or educational purposes. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks, Peter.

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