After Kuakini’s death in 1844, the Palace passed to his adopted son, William Pitt Leleiohoku. Leleiohoku died a few months later, leaving Hulihe‘e to his wife, Princess Ruth Luka Ke‘elikōlani. It became a favorite retreat for members of the Hawaiian royal family.
The Kapihaʻā Interpretive Trail is an approximate one-mile round trip. The Kapihaʻā preservation area contains at least fifteen distinct sites, made up of more than 60 features, by which we may see how Hawaiians lived, worked and worshiped on Lānaʻi.
Interpretive signs found along the trail identify several different types of sites, including agricultural fields, residences, ceremonial sites and lithic (stone) workshops.
Sign 1 – ”Wahi Pana” are storied and sacred places on the Hawaiian landscape.
Walking the trail from this point, you will step back in time, and glimpse life on Lānaʻi prior to the arrival of westerners in 1778.
Sign 2- Kapihaʻā: Life Along The Leeward Shore Of Lānaʻi
Close to 800 years ago, native Hawaiians settled along sheltered areas of the coast line on Lānaʻi, and then extended inland where extensive dry land agricultural fields were developed.
Because water resources were limited even then, most agricultural pursuits were in the form of dry land crops planted upon the kula (plains) and under the canopy of now reduced forests that collected fog drip.
Along the trail there is evidence of permanent and temporary dwellings, agricultural plots, lithic (stone) workshops and ceremonial sites, and the ancient setting of Kapihaʻā Village.
Sign 3 – Puʻupehe Islet
Native lore describes the platform with an upright stone in it as either a burial place for a woman who bore the name of Puʻupehe, or as a shrine dedicated to the god of bird catchers.
In traditional times, sea birds were an important part of the Hawaiian diet, and koʻa (shrines) were placed on “bird islands to sustain the land with plenty of birds.”
Sign 4 – Heiau (Temple) of Kapihaʻā Village
This heiau is a significant architectural feature on the cultural landscape of Kapihaʻā. There are five features associated with the heiau, which include a walled platform, terraces and an ʻahu (altar or cairn).
The prominence of this site, and the fact that it commands an imposing view of the ocean and surrounding lands, suggests that it was a temple associated with prayers and offerings to promote the abundance of the fisheries, or perhaps to pray for rains and sustainable growth of crops on land.
Sign 5 – Dry Land Agricultural Terraces
Because of the arid nature of Lānaʻi, most of the crops grown here were adapted to the kula (open flat lands), and planted in kīhāpai, and moʻo (walled fields or shallow terraces). Passing showers born by the nāulu (southerly) breezes and the early morning kēhau (dew born upon mountain breezes) provided enough water for the plants to grow.
Both natural terraces, some of which were modified, and formal terraces, in which mulch was developed to support plant growth, may be found in this area. Crops such as ʻuala (sweet potatoes), uhi (yams), hue (gourds), lau ki (ti plants) and clumps of kō (sugarcane) could be grown here.
Sign 6 – Kauhale and Hale Pāpaʻi House Sites, Temporary Habitation Sites and Shelters
On the leeward side of Lānaʻi, Kapihaʻā and neighboring villages of the Hulopoʻe-Mānele vicinity supported a population of at least several hundred people at any given time.
The small house sites were basically shelters from bad weather, with most activities – such as making fishing gear, working on stone tools, and food preparation – occurring outside.
Poles of wood, gathered from the uplands, would have been placed upon the stone foundations of these house sites and shelters as support posts, beams and purloins. Thatching of native pili grass, leaves of loulu (pritchardia) palms, niu (coconut fronds), and leafy branches from shrubs would then be lashed to the poles on narrow cross pieces, thus providing protection from rain, cold and heat.
The house foundation has multiple terraces and separate leveled areas, each of which would have served a special use in domestic life. Generally the highest area on the upslope side was reserved for special functions associated with family worship.
Sign 7 – Koʻa, a Fisherman’s Shrine and Triangulation Station
A significant wealth of this part of Lana’i lay in its fisheries, as marine resources supplied protein for the native Hawaiian diet. In addition to fish, various pūpū (shellfish), papaʻi (crabs), and several varieties of limu (seaweeds) were also collected along the shore and from the sea. These fishery resources, together with crops from the uplands sustained the residents of Kapihaʻā over many generations.
A significant Hawaiian ceremonial site, a koʻa or fishing shrine, lies to the west of this trail, perched on a promontory overlooking the ocean and the fisherman’s trail. Portions of the koʻa have collapsed, but the large mound of coral set upon the stone foundation is symbolic of the god Kūʻula and makes this koʻa one of the most unique sites of its kind anywhere in Hawai’i.
Fishermen sought protection during fishing trips and continued abundance of the fisheries through offerings of fish, urchins, and shell fish to the gods and ʻaumakua (guardians). Offerings would again be made upon return from fishing expeditions to thank the gods for their successful catch and safe return.
Sign 8 – The Kapihaʻā Preservation Area and Interpretive Trail (Coastal Section)
Sections of the Fisherman’s Trail along this coast follow a traditional ala hele (trail) traveled by ancient Hawaiian residents of Lānaʻi for generations.
The ala hele linked coastal communities together, and provided residents with access to various resources. The ala hele that turns mauka (upland) at this point enters the ancient village site known as Kapihaʻā.
Information on the Kapihaʻā interpretive trail is from Lānaʻi Culture & Heritage Center, prepared by Kepā Maly, Kumu Pono Associates LLC. The image shows the map of the area; in addition, I have included some additional images of the area in a fold of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
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.
One of the great achievements of the ancient Hawaiians in this region is evidenced in the agricultural Kōloa Field System on the South Shore of Kaua‘i.
Evidence indicates the Kōloa area was forested to the shore before the arrival of the first Polynesians. When they started to settle in this area, they cleared the land for agriculture by burning.
Because rainfall is low in this area, the early Hawaiians constructed sophisticated irrigation systems for growing taro and other crops. Ultimately, the Kōloa Field System of agriculture was established with formal growing areas and irrigation system tapping off of Waikomo Stream.
Its elements include parallel and branching ʻauwai (irrigation ditches,) terraced loʻi (taro growing ponds,) and dryland plots. Later intensification includes aqueducted ʻauwai, irrigated mound fields, and subdivision of lo’i and kula plots.
Beginning possibly as early as 1450, the Kōloa Field System was planned and built on the shallow lava soils to the east and west of Waikomo Stream.
It is characterized as a network of fields of both irrigated and dryland crops, built mainly upon one stream system. Waikomo Stream was adapted into an inverted tree model with smaller branches leading off larger branches.
The associated dispersed housing and field shelters were located among the fields, particularly at junctions of the irrigation ditches (ʻauwai).
In this way, the whole of the field system was contained within the entire makai (seaward) portion of the ahupuaʻa of Kōloa stretching east and west to the ahupuaʻa boundaries.
The field system, with associated clusters of permanent extended family habitations, was in place by the middle of the 16th century and was certainly expanded and intensified continuously from that time.
Long ʻauwai were constructed along the tops of topographic high points formed by northeast to southwest oriented Kōloa lava flows. These ʻauwai extended all the way to the sea.
Habitation sites, including small house platforms, enclosures and L-shaped shelters were built in rocky bluff areas which occupied high points in the landscape and were therefore close to ʻauwai, which typically ran along the side of these bluffs.
From A.D. 1650-1795, the Hawaiian Islands were typified by the development of large communal residences, religious structures and an intensification of agriculture.
The Kōloa Field System is unique in a number of ways; its makeup and design tells us much of the pre-contact world and the ingenuity of the ancients with respect to planning, architecture, agriculture and social system.
A complex of wet and dryland agricultural fields and associated habitation sites occur in the lava tablelands of the makai portion of Kōloa ahupua’a on the south coast of Kaua’i. Although soil deposits are thin and the land is rocky, plentiful irrigation water was available.
This agricultural system which at its peak covered over 1,000 acres extends from the present Kōloa town to the shoreline and includes a complex of wet and dryland agricultural fields and associated habitation sites.
The Kōloa System, at its apex in the early 19th century (probably due to the opportunity for provisioning of the whaling ships,) represents one of the most intensive cultural landscapes in Hawaiʻi.
Kōloa Field System was in use through 1850 AD. Remnants of this field system still remain in parts of the region.
The Koloa Field System is a significant Point of Interest in the Holo Holo Kōloa Scenic Byway. We are working with the Kōloa community in preparing the Corridor Management Plan for this project; one of our recommendations is to restore a portion of the field system.
A special thanks to Hal Hammatt and Cultural Surveys for information and images used here that is based on their extensive research in this area. In addition, I have added other images and maps of this region in a folder of like name in the Photos section of my Facebook page.
Hulihe‘e Palace is Kona’s only existing royal residence and one of three palaces in the United States. (The other two are ‘Iolani Palace and Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, both on O‘ahu.)
Hulihe‘e, built in 1838, was the residence of Governor John Adams Kuakini and a favorite retreat for Hawai‘i’s royal families.
The Palace was constructed by foreign seamen using lava rock, coral, koa and ōhi‘a timbers. Kuakini oversaw the construction of both Mokuaikaua Church and Hulihe‘e Palace and these landmarks once shared a similar architectural style with exposed stone.
Flanked to the north by Niumalu and to the south by Kiope Fish Pond, Hulihe‘e Palace was also the site of the observation of the Transit of Venus (when the planet Venus crosses between the Earth and the Sun) in 1874 by British astronomers, one of the most important astronomical observations of the 19th century (helping to calculate the distance between the Sun and the Earth.)
When Princess Ruth passed away in 1883 leaving no surviving heirs, the property passed on to her cousin, Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop. Princess Bernice died the following year and the home was purchased by King David Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani.
Extensive remodeling by King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi‘olani in 1884 transformed the original structure to suit the Victorian tastes of the late 19th century (with stucco and plaster, widened lanai, and much to the interior décor.)
Early description of Hulihe‘e Place (Hawai‘i Nei, by Mabel Clare Craft Deering – 1898:)
”There is a fine royal residence there, now the property of the dowager Queen Kapiolani. It is a big house with a wide hall and immense rooms. The kitchen and servants’ quarters are detached, and there is an open lanai a little way from the house where Kalakaua gave famous luaus and hulas, and where his celebrated red chairs were set in rows.”
“The house is marked by the tabu-sticks set up at the doors, sticks with white balls at the top, in imitation of the old days when balls of white kapa at the top of the sticks marked the residence of the king, within which common people could not go on pain of death.”
“Inside, the house is a marvel of polished woods. There is a table of satiny koa, the mahogany of the Pacific, the” royal tree,” fit to make you weep. This table stands in the center of the drawing-room, and around the walls are elaborate carved chairs, vases, and fine pottery from China and Japan. There are portraits of Kalakaua, Kapiolani, and Liliuokalani, as well as busts of royalty. At the windows are exquisite lambrequins of the finest kapa I saw on the islands, painted in patterns, and some of it extremely old.”
“The big dining-hall across the vestibule has a fine carved sideboard, and on it are a number of koa calabashes, polished, and marked inside with the crown and royal coat – of- arms, etched with a poker. These calabashes all have covers, and were designed for pink poi.”
In 1925, Hulihe‘e was purchased by the Territory of Hawai‘i to be operated as a museum by the Daughters of Hawai‘i. (My mother was a Daughter.)
Most of the furnishings were originally in the Palace during the Monarchy. Hulihe‘e Palace was placed on the National Register of Historic Sites in 1973.
Hulihe‘e Palace contains a fine collection of ancient Hawaiian artifacts, as well as ornate furnishings that illustrate the lifestyle of the Hawaiian nobility in the late 19th century. Intricately carved furniture, European crystal chandeliers and immense four-poster beds fill the rooms.
Hulihe‘e Palace reveals the Hawaiian nobility’s passion for western fashions and is a reminder of Kailua’s past as a favorite royal residence.
The image shows Hulihe‘e Palace and Princess Ruth’s hale on the palace grounds (while she used and enjoyed the Palace, she typically slept in the grass hale – 1885.) In addition, I have added other images of Hulihe‘e place in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.
The Bond Historic District is located in the rural, agricultural area south of the town of Kapaʻau, North Kohala, on the Island of Hawaiʻi.
The buildings are grouped in three sections – The Bond Homestead (established in 1841 by Boston missionary Reverend Elias Bond,) Kalāhikiola Church (completed in 1855) and Kohala Seminary (Kohala Girl’s School – complex founded in 1872.)
The Reverend and Mrs. Bond sailed with the Ninth Company of Missionaries from Boston and settled at Kohala, Hawai‘i. Bond arrived in Honolulu in May of 1841. They were then assigned to Kohala.
Reverend Isaac Bliss, an elderly missionary in Kohala, had already completed the main house of what is now known as the Bond Homestead compound when Bond arrived in Kohala in June, 1841.
As a means to provide employment to the people in the region and support his church and schools, Reverend Bond founded Kohala Sugar Company, known as “The Missionary Plantation,” in 1862.
Reportedly, by 1885, Bond, who gave all his dividends and profits beyond his living expenses to the Board of Missions, was their largest single contributor. The plantation was shut down in 1973.
The heart of the Bond District is the Bond Homestead located in makai portion of the property. The Homestead consists of two residential buildings, one doctor’s office and several out buildings. The buildings contain many historic furnishings and artifacts dating from 1844.
The area is described in an 1849 account (in ‘The Island World of the Pacific’) as follows: “It stands in the center of an area of some five or six acres, enclose with a neat stone wall, and having a part of it cultivated as a garden, adorned with flowering shrubs and trees, as the pineapple, guava, acacia, mimosa, tamarind, kukui, mulberry, geranium, banana, Pride of China, sugar cane, etc. The house is thatched with long leaves of the hala-tree (Pandanus), and has a very pretty, neat appearance, in connection with that tasteful keeping of the walks and grounds, like the pictures we have of thatched cottages and rural scenes of Old England.”
Kalāhikiola Church is located on a gently sloping site in the middle section of the property. The structure was a rectangular building made of lava rock walls.
Kalāhikiola (“the life-bringing sun” or “the day bringing salvation”) is the name of a small hill on the side of the Kohala Mountain; the name goes back to the time of the arrival of the first Christian missionaries. ‘Ōhi‘a timbers from forests on the hill were used in building the church; so when the church was consecrated on October 11, 1855 it was appropriately given the name Kalāhikiola.
In 2006, an earthquake severely damaged the building. In the restoration, the congregation decided to remove the stone walls entirely, shore and brace the building, and erect new walls of reinforced concrete, which was then plastered and scored with mortar lines to resemble the church’s original exterior.
The Kohala Girl’s School was Reverend Bond’s last major undertaking. For 30-years prior to the 1874 founding of the Kohala Girl’s School, Reverend Bond ran a boarding school for boys. His decision to build a separate facility to educate native Hawaiian women in Christian living and housekeeping was made in 1872.
The Kohala Seminary (Kohala Girl’s School) is located mauka of Kalāhikiola Church; it consists of six wood frame buildings scattered over approximately 3 acres.
The main residence building is a generally rectangular two-and-one-half story structure; the building was constructed in 1874 and was used as dormitory and classroom space. In 1955, the school stopped functioning.
In addition to the missionary work and founding and operating the school, the Bonds had 11-children born in Hawai‘i.
The District is listed on both the State of Hawai’i and the National Registers of Historic Places.
Many years ago, I had the good fortune to have been able to tour the Bond Homestead with Lyman Bond, great grandson of Reverend Elias Bond. It was a wonderful experience to have a descendent relate stories of the people and the place.
My brother-in-law, Paul Morgan, while studying architecture, did extensive review of the Kohala Girls School structures; he gave me a tour of the Girls School.
New Moon Foundation acquired about 48 acres of the Bond Historic District and 580 surrounding acres from the Bond family. The purchase agreement included covenants specifying that real property located in the Bond Homestead is of historic significance and should be preserved and protected.
New Moon Foundation has been working to restore the buildings and put them to education adaptive reuse. As part of its future vision, they intend to offer public tours of the Historic District.
The image shows the Bond Homestead in about 1900. In addition, I have included additional Bond Historic District images in a folder of like name in the Photos section on my Facebook page.