Makapu‘u was a supernatural being who, after arriving from Tahiti, took up residence on the point now bearing her name.
This being’s defining feature was her set of eight bright eyes, which is reflected in her name Makapu‘u (meaning bulging eye.)
Makapu‘u Point is the extreme southeastern point of the island of Oahu. To the east of it is the Ka‘iwi Channel, which passes between the islands of Oʻahu and Molokaʻi.
For years, there was no light on the entire northern coast of the Hawaiian Islands to guide ships or warn them as they approach those islands.
The lack of such a light not only rendered navigation at times very dangerous, but in bad weather or at night often compelled them to slow down and await clear weather or daylight.
With the increasing importance of commerce between the United States and the Hawaiian Islands, and the commerce passing the Hawaiian Islands and stopping at Honolulu, the need was evident for this aid to navigation
Essentially, all the commerce from the west coast of North America bound to Honolulu passes Makapuʻu Lighthouse.
On October 1, 1909, the light from another bright, bulging eye was seen on the rocky point of Makapu‘u as the giant lens in the Makapu‘u lighthouse was illuminated for the first time.
Although the tower is only 46-feet high, the light is 420-feet above the sea.
Makapu‘u Lighthouse has the largest lens of any lighthouse of the US, known as a hyper-radiant lens. The inside diameter is 8’2”, sufficient for several people to stand in.
The 115,000-candlepower light can be seen for 28-miles. The effectiveness of this lighthouse has been greatly increased in recent years through the establishment of a radio beacon at the station; radio signals may be heard 200 and more miles at sea.
The lighthouse and about 5,000-square feet around it are owned by the Coast Guard and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The rest of the surrounding area – about 40 acres including a lookout – belongs to the State and is under the control of State Parks within DLNR, which maintains a public wayside park and trail to the vicinity of the Makapu‘u Lighthouse.
The Makapu‘u Point trail, within Ka Iwi State Scenic Shoreline, offers outstanding views of O‘ahu’s southeastern coastline, including Koko Head and Koko Crater.
From the trail’s destination at Makapu‘u Head, there are also magnificent views of the windward coast and offshore islets, as well as the historic red-roofed Makapu‘u Lighthouse (the lighthouse itself is off-limits).
On a clear day, you may even see Moloka‘i and Lāna‘i.
The offshore islets (Mānana – Rabbit Island and Kāohikaipu – Flat Island) are wildlife sanctuaries for Hawaiian seabirds.
This trail is an excellent place to view migrating humpback whales in season (November-May). An interpretive sign and viewing scope along the trail help you view and identify the whales seen from this location.
This is a moderate 2-mile hike that is paved but is a bit steep in spots. There is no shade or restroom facilities along this trail (start before noon due to the heat, bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.) STAY ON THE TRAIL.
When I was at DLNR, we finally made necessary improvements to get hikers’ parked cars off Kalanianaole Highway and into parking lots (one at the Makapuʻu Beach overlook and a larger on at the head of the Makapuʻu Point trail.)
Nelia wanted to hike this past Mother’s Day, so we ventured, again, to Makapuʻu – it was too late for whales, but we had a great time, anyway.
I noticed padlocks on the fencing at the lookout at the end of the trail. These are called “Love Locks” – padlocks affixed to a fence, gate, bridge or similar public fixture by sweethearts to symbolize their everlasting love – a phenomenon that apparently started in Europe in the early-2000s.
The image shows the Makapu‘u Lighthouse. In addition, I have included other images of this site and surrounding area in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
Kalanimōkū was a trusted and loyal advisor to Kamehameha I, Liholiho (Kamehameha II) and Kauikeaouli (Kamehameha III.)
Kalanimōkū was born at Ka‘uiki, Hāna, Maui, around 1768. His father was Kekuamanohā and his mother was Kamakahukilani. Through his father, he was a grandson of Kekaulike, the King Maui. He was a cousin of Kaʻahumanu, Kamehameha’s wife.
In various written documents Kalanimōkū’s name appears with various spelling. Sometimes he is called Kalaimoku, Crymokoo, Craymoku, Craimoku and Krimokoo. In documents personally signed by him, he spelled his name Karaimoku.
Kalanimōkū was made Prime Minister for Kamehameha I and held the same position during the reign of Liholiho and of Kauikeaouli, until his death.
He adopted the name William Pitt, because of his great admiration for the British Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger. He was frequently addressed as Mr. Pitt or Billy Pitt.
He had great natural abilities in both governmental and business affairs. He was well liked and respected by foreigners, who learned from experience to rely on his words.
Captain George Vancouver described Kalanimōkū as someone possessing “vivacity, and sensibility of countenance, modest behavior, evenness of temper, quick conception.”
However, in his earlier years, Kalanimōkū was known for excessive drinking, and according to Kamakau, was the first Hawaiian chief to buy rum. This behavior appears to have stopped after his acceptance of the Christian faith.
In 1819, Kalanimōkū was the first Hawaiian Chief to be baptized a Roman Catholic, aboard the French ship Uranie, in the presence of Kuhina Nui (Premier) Kaʻahumanu and King Kamehameha II. Kalanimōkū had a passion for Christianity and later regularly attended services at Kawaiahaʻo Church.
Kalanimōkū witnessed and participated in some of the significant historic moments in Hawai‘i.
When Kamehameha set out to conquer O‘ahu in 1795, Kalanimōkū commanded a large segment of Kamehameha’s invading army.
In 1816, Kalanimōkū, with a group of warriors, found that the Russians had begun construction of a trading post/fort at the entrance of Honolulu Harbor and were flying the Russian flag. However, when confronted by Kalanimōkū’s warriors, they quickly departed and no hostilities took place.
Realizing the advantage of a fortification at the harbor’s entrance, Kalanimōkū issued a proclamation ordering people throughout the island to assist in the construction of a fort.
As Kamehameha’s health slowly declined, Kalanimōkū’s role increased; as treasurer of the kingdom, he supervised the collection of taxes and oversaw the lucrative sandalwood trade.
Kalanimōkū was one of several chiefs who treated Kamehameha as his illness worsened, and was present when Kamehameha died.
Following the wishes of Kamehameha’s sacred wife, Keōpūolani, Kalanimōkū took charge of matters, deciding who might remain with the body, and dispatching messengers to spread the news to all islands.
For his strong leadership and strength in a time of great turmoil, Keōpūolani declared Kalanimōkū the “iwikuamo‘o” (literally the spine or backbone,) defined as “a near and trusted relative of a chief who attended to his personal needs and possessions and executed private orders.”
Kalanimōkū, following ancient custom, offered himself as a death companion to the great chief he so idolized; he was prevented from carrying out his desire by other chiefs.
In 1819, when Liholiho proclaimed an end to the kapu system and Kekuaokalani and his wife Manono refused to accept the new order and vowed to go to war rather than abandon the ancient system, Kalanimōkū led an army against the revolt of Kekuaokalani in December 1819, in the successful battle of Kuamoʻo.
When the missionaries first anchored at Kawaihae, they invited some of the highest chiefs of the nation; Kalanimōkū was the first person of distinction that came to greet them.
Reportedly, Kalanimōkū developed an immediate and sincere liking for the New England missionaries. Throughout his life, they turned to him for assistance and their requests invariably met with positive results.
He served as regent along with Queen Kaʻahumanu, while Kamehameha II traveled to London in 1823, and to Kamehameha III after Kamehameha II’s death in 1824.
Kalanimōkū died at Kamakahonu (the former home of Kamehameha I) in Kailua Kona, Hawai‘i Island on February 7, 1827. He had only one son, William Pitt Leleiohoku I, who married Princess Ruth Keʻelikōlani.
His death was a great loss to the Hawaiian kingdom; he demonstrated loyalty and faithfulness toward Kamehameha I, his cousin Ka‘ahumanu, as well as Liholiho and Kauikeaouli.
For 4½ years, as Director of DLNR, my office was in the Kalanimōkū Building. At the time, I didn’t know of the profound positive impact Kalanimōkū had in Hawaiian history. I am glad I followed-up and learned a little more about him. (There is a lot more to tell about him; some bits have been added to other stories of his time and place.)
The image is Kalanimōkū, drawn by Alphonse Pellion in 1819. In addition, I have added a few more images of Kalanimōkū in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.
‘Iolani Palace was the official residence of both King Kalākaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani.
It is actually the 2nd palace for Hawaiian Royalty.
The first palace was known as Hale Ali‘i (House of the Chief). Kamehameha V changed its name to ‘Iolani Palace in honor of his late brother and predecessor.
Although the old palace was demolished in 1874, the name ‘Iolani Palace was retained for the building that stands today.
(‘Io is the Hawaiian hawk, a bird that flies higher than all the rest, and ‘lani’ denotes heavenly, royal or exalted.)
The cornerstone for ‘Iolani Palace was laid on December 31, 1879 with full Masonic rites. Construction was completed in 1882; in December of that year King Kalakaua and Queen Kapi‘olani took up residence in their new home.
The first floor consists of the public reception areas – the Grand Hall, State Dining Room, Blue Room and the Throne Room.
The second floor consists of the private suites – the King’s and Queen’s suites, Music Room, King’s Library, and the Imprisonment Room, where Queen Lili‘uokalani was held under house arrest for eight months in 1895, following a counter-revolution by royalists seeking to restore the Queen to power after the overthrow of 1893.
The Palace area was originally enclosed by an eight-foot high coral block wall with wooden gates. Following the Wilcox Rebellion in 1889, it was lowered to 3’6″. In 1891, it was topped with the present painted iron fence.
The four principal gates each display the Coat of Arms of the Hawaiian Kingdom, and have a distinctive name and purpose:
- Kauikeaouli – was named in honor of King Kamehameha III and used for ceremonial occasions
- Kina‘u – was named after the mother of Kings Kamehameha IV and Kamehameha V and used by tradesmen
- Hakaleleponi – was named for Queen Kalama, consort of Kamehameha III and used by servants and retainers of the royal household
- Likelike – was given the name of Princess Likelike, sister to King Kalakaua and Queen Lili‘uokalani and reserved for private use by the royal family
The Sacred Mound (previously a stone mausoleum) – Pohukaina – was constructed in 1825 to house the remains of Kamehameha II (Liholiho) and his consort, Queen Kamamalu. Both had died of measles while on a journey to England the year before.
For the next forty years, this royal tomb and the land immediately surrounding it became the final resting place for the kings of Hawai‘i, their consorts and important chiefs of the kingdom
In 1865, the remains of 21 Ali‘i were removed from this site and transferred in a torchlight procession at night to Mauna ‘Ala, a new Royal Mausoleum in Nu‘uanu Valley.
Halekoa – ‘Iolani Barracks – was completed in 1871 to house the Royal Guard. This coral block structure contains an open courtyard surrounded by rooms once used by the guards as a mess hall, kitchen, dispensary, berth room and lockup.
Kanaʻina Building – Old Archives – was built in 1906 and was the first building in the US erected solely for the custody and preservation of public archive materials.
ʻIolani Palace was outfitted with the most up-to-date amenities, including indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water. The King also installed a modern communications system that included the recently invented telephone.
Gas chandeliers installed when the Palace was first built were replaced by electric lighting five years later (less than seven years after Edison invented the first practical incandescent bulb, and, four years before the White House).
After the overthrow of the monarchy, `Iolani Palace became the government headquarters for the Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawai‘i. The palace was used for nearly three-quarters of a century as a government capitol building.
During WWII, it served as the temporary headquarters for the military governor in charge of martial law in the Hawaiian Islands.
Government offices vacated the Palace in 1969 and moved to the newly constructed capitol building on land adjacent to the Palace grounds.
After the overthrow of the monarchy, Provisional Government officials inventoried the contents of `Iolani Palace and sold at public auction whatever furniture or furnishings were not suitable for government operations
‘Iolani Palace is owned by the State through DLNR. While Director of DLNR, I had several opportunities to visit and tour the property. Through a lease agreement with the State, the Friends of ʻIolani Palace supports, guides and manages Palace activities, including public guided tours.
The image shows ‘Iolani Palace in 1882, shortly after it was completed.
Kalawao, encompassing the Kalaupapa Peninsula (also known as the Makanalua Peninsula,) is midway along the North Shore of Moloka‘i.
Archaeological evidence suggests the earliest settlers in the peninsula probably lived in the Waikolu Valley in the A.D. 1100-1550 timeframe. At that time, people had been living in the windward Hālawa Valley for hundreds of years.
The Kalaupapa Peninsula, however, was probably not occupied until slightly later, perhaps around 1300-1400 A.D.
On the peninsula where it is dry and there are no permanent streams, people built field walls to protect crops like sweet potato (‘uala) from the northeast tradewinds. The remnant field walls can be seen from the air as one arrives at Kalaupapa Airport.
In wetter areas near the base of the cliffs, people built garden terraces. True pond field agriculture may have only been practiced in the Waikolu Valley or at the mouth of the Waihanau Valley.
The first peoples of Kalaupapa also collected marine resources along the shore, the reef, and offshore except when strong winter storms prevented it. People visited other parts of the island both by canoe and by trail over the cliffs.
In 1905, the Territorial Legislature passed a law that formed the basis of modern government in Hawaii, the County Act, forming local County governance.
While we easily recognize the four main Counties in Hawai‘i: Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui and Hawai‘i; we often overlook the County of Kalawao, Hawai‘i’s 5th County (encompassing the Kalaupapa Peninsula and surrounding land.)
The four main Counties are governed by elected County Councils. Kalawao is under the jurisdiction of the state’s Health Department; the director of Health serves as the Kalawao County ‘Mayor.’
State law, (HRS §326-34) states that the county of Kalawao consists of that portion of the island of Moloka‘i known as Kalaupapa, Kalawao and Waikolu, and commonly known or designated as the Kalaupapa Settlement, and is not a portion of the County of Maui, but is constituted a county by itself.
This area was set aside very early on as a colony for sufferers of Hansen’s disease (leprosy.) The isolation law was enacted by King Kamehameha V; at its peak, about 1,200 men, women and children were in exile at Kalaupapa.
The first group of Hansen’s disease patients was sent to Kalawao on the eastern, or windward, side of the Kalaupapa peninsula on January 6, 1866.
The forced isolation of people from Hawaiʻi afflicted with Hansen’s disease to the remote Kalaupapa peninsula lasted from 1866 until 1969.
This is where Saint Damien and Blessed Marianne Cope (to be canonized October 12, 2012) spent many years caring for the lepers.
On January 7, 1976, the “Kalaupapa Leprosy Settlement” was designated a National Historic Landmark to include 15,645 acres of land and waters.
On April 1, 2004, the NPS renewed its cooperative agreement with the State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health for an additional twenty years, entitled “Preservation of Historic Structures, Kalaupapa.” The NPS is maintaining utilities, roads and non-medical patient functions and maintenance of historic structures within the park.
Access to Kalaupapa is severely limited. There are no roads to the peninsula from “topside” Molokaʻi. Land access is via a steep trail on the pali (sea cliff) that is approximately three miles long with 26 switchbacks.
Air taxi service by commuter class aircraft provides the main access to Kalaupapa, arriving and departing two to four times a day, weather permitting.
Mail, freight, and perishable food, arrive by cargo plane on a daily basis. The barge brings cargo from Honolulu to Kalaupapa once a year, during the summer months when the sea is relatively calm.
While at DLNR, I had the opportunity to visit Kalaupapa on two occasions: once on a visit to the peninsula to review some of its historic buildings, the other as part of a planning retreat/discussion with the National Park Service.
The image is art done by Edward Clifford of the Kalaupapa Settlement in the 1880s. In addition, I have added additional images of Kalawao – Kalaupapa in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.
Hawai‘i has been labeled the endangered species capital of the world. We have more endangered species per square mile than any other place on earth.
Of the extinctions that have been documented, 28 species of bird, 72 snails, 74 insects and 97 plants have disappeared.
The State, in partnership with a bunch of federal, university and private interests, conducts more than 50 projects across the state to monitor, protect and enhance native and endangered species populations.
Statewide surveys to monitor population status and trend for water birds, sea birds and forest birds are conducted on all the main islands.
The surveys contribute to long term data to understand population changes and to provide early detections of any potential threats to population stability.
A project on Kaua‘i has been developed to use modified marine radar to survey threatened and endangered seabirds that fly inland to nest at night.
The surveys are critical to a determination of the population status of these species that appear to have experienced a severe population decline over the last 10 years.
Also notable was the discovery of what is perhaps the largest known breeding colony of the endangered Hawaiian Petrel on Lāna‘i. This species was feared to have declined or been lost from Lāna‘i until crews conducted extensive night surveys using radar.
Full-time field teams are now deployed to coordinate and conduct special projects for select species and habitats. These include the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Project, the Kaua‘i Forest Bird Recovery Team and the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project.
These teams carry out management needs for native birds that include predator control, population monitoring, assessment of threats, and reintroduction into new habitats to reestablish populations.
Likewise, there are other groups and agencies that support and participate in recovery activities, including DLNR, USGS, US Fish and Wildlife Service and others.
A field unit for the recovery of the ‘Alala, Hawaii’s most critically endangered species has been established. The ‘Alala Recovery Team is involved in an extensive community and landowner involvement program to lead the recovery of this species.
For many of Hawaii’s most critically endangered species, captive propagation and reintroduction is the only viable recovery strategy. Captive propagation programs are continuing for these species, which include five forest bird species and hundreds of plant species.
Notable long-term program successes include:
• Nēnē – (the State Bird) recovered from a population on the brink of extinction with fewer than 50 birds to nearly 2,000
• ‘Alala – saved from extinction with a captive flock that has grown to 95 (the `Alala population rose by more than 23%)
• Puaiohi – recovering from a population numbering only a few dozen to approximately 500 (found only on Kaua‘i)
• Palila – a new population has been established on the north slope of Mauna Kea (I recall the excitement and flurry of e-mails going around announcing a new nest with eggs on the north slope when I was at DLNR)
To date, hundreds of birds have been reintroduced into native habitats statewide. In addition, an extensive cooperative partnership continues a program for propagation and outplanting of native plants, maintaining hundreds of species, and outplanting thousands of plants into the wild.
There are a lot of people across the state (as well as support from the mainland) that are doing waaay cool stuff to help with the recovery of Hawai‘i’s native bird populations. We owe each our gratitude for their commitment and hard work. Thank you to all.
The images illustrate the Nēnē and ‘Alala on the top (L-R) and the Puaiohi and Palila on the bottom (L-R.)