Hiʻiaka (Pele’s sister) passed along the kula (plain) of Māʻili, and then turned to look at the uplands. She saw the dazzling light of the sun on the uplands of Lualualei and chanted:
Wela ka la e! Wela ka la e!
Ua wela i ka la ke kula o Lualualei.
Ua nau ia e ka la a ‘oka‘oka.
The sun is hot! The sun is hot!
The heat of the sun is on the plain of Lualualei.
The sun chews it up entirely.” (Maly)
Two meanings are suggested for the place name Lualualei; one meaning “the valley of the flexible wreaths,” a kaona, and the other meaning “beloved one spared.” (Sinoto)
A reference to Lualualei ahupuaʻa is found in Kamakau where he recounts Kākuhihewa’s birth and upbringing. Taken to ʻEwa and raised on “the sweetness of the poi of Kamaile; the soft mullet of Lualualei…,” it is evident that the Waiʻanae coast was beloved, especially for its coastal resources and quality of kalo. (Sinoto)
Further evidence that Lualualei must have been a favored locality for settlement is indicated by the remnant agricultural terraces in the inland areas and the fact that Kamehameha III kept the ahupuaʻa for himself. For that reason, the number of Land Commission Awards is limited to only six mauka lands. (Sinoto)
In 1921, Congress designated 2,000-acres at Lualualei for Hawaiian Homelands. Then, in the early-1930s, Territorial Governor Judd, through Executive Orders, granted all but 475-acres to the US Navy. (This removed a chunk of land from Hawaiian Homelands.)
The transfers under the EOs were later disputed and in 1998 an agreement was reached between the State and Feds where DHHL gained control of lands at Barber’s Point Naval Air Station (at Kalaeloa) and the Navy had continued use of the Lualualei property.
The agreement was signed in a ceremony at Washington Place with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt and Governor Ben Cayetano signing the memorandum of agreement, with Deputy Assistant Navy Secretary William Cassidy in attendance.
The Navy has used Lualualei as an ammunition depot (initially Naval Ammunition Depot Oʻahu, now Naval Magazine Pearl Harbor) and a communications facility (Lualualei Naval Radio Transmitting Facility) since 1934.
Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Lualualei Annex’s primary tenant is Naval Magazines whose mission is to receive, renovate, maintain, store and issue ammunition, weapons and technical materials for the Navy, Air Force, Army and other activities and units as designated by the Chief of Naval Operations.
Kolekole Pass forms a low crossing point through the Waiʻanae Mountains. A prehistoric trail crossed Kolekole pass linking Waiʻanae Uka with Waiʻanae Kai.
Kolekole Pass Road is located on the federal lands connecting these military facilities on Waiʻanae coast of Oʻahu to Schofield Barracks Army Installation in Central Oahu. The Army’s 3rd Engineers corps constructed vehicular passage in 1937.
The Magazine facility, a terminus for the Kolekole Pass road, contains 255 aboveground storage structures capable of housing 78,000 tons of ammunition and explosives. (hawaii.gov) The shipping and receiving center is located at West Loch, Pearl Harbor.
The Lualualei Naval Radio Transmitting Facility is used to transmit state-of-the-art radio signals for the navigation of Navy vessels throughout the Pacific. It is the primary Department of Defense long-range transmitter installation in Hawai‘i. The Navy and Coast Guard jointly use the facility. (hawaii-gov)
The very low frequency (VLF) transmitters communicate with submerged submarines in the Pacific and Arctic regions. VLF signal can travel to extreme depths enabling submarines to receive messages without surfacing and are used 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week.
The most notable features related to this are two 1,500-foot cable-stayed steel truss mast antennas of the Navy’s communication systems at Lualualei (built in 1972) which are the state’s highest structure.