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Kaimū literally means ‘gathering [at the] sea [to watch surfing].’ This land section and village, at Kalapana, Hawaiʻi, was noted for its surf and its black sand beach. The black sand was formed by steam explosions that occurred when a lava flow entered the ocean in about 1750. (Pukui) “It has a sandy beach, where canoes may land with safety; and according to the houses numbered to-day contains 725 inhabitants. Including the villages in the immediate vicinity, along the coast, the populations would probably amount to 2,000”. (Ellis, 1823)

“The most important reason that settlement in the Kalapana area was on the coast was the availability of fresh food from the sea. Fishing was on the shore, which also hosted gathering of shellfish, crabs and limu, and from canoes. Taro and breadfruit were major crops of the better watered coastal areas in the east but especially in the forested uplands. Bananas, sugar cane, and ‘awa were also grown in the uplands.” “Less than a mile further on, westwards, lies the village of Kalapana, one of the largest Hawaiian villages in the Islands.” (Kinney, 1913) In March 1990, Kīlauea’s ongoing Puʻu ʻŌʻō-Kupaianaha eruption (that began on January 3, 1983) entered its most destructive period of the 20th century when lava flows turned toward Kalapana, an area cherished for its historic sites and black sand beaches. By the end of the summer, the entire community, including a church, store, and 100 homes, were buried beneath 50-80 feet of lava.

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Star of the Sea

Belgian Priest Father John Berchmans Velghe came to the Islands in 1899; he served in South Kona and built, and painted, what is known as the ‘Painted Church’ in Honaunau. His health deteriorated and he had to return to Belgium in 1904, he was never able to finish the church. Even throughout his last years he continued to paint and teach. While teaching at the Sacred Hearts’ Apostolic School at Aarschot, Belgium, in around 1924 or 1926, he met the young student Matthias Gielen, who was to become Father Evarist of Hawai‘i. Father Damien Joseph DeVeuster (now Saint Damien) preceded Father John and Father Evarist to the Island of Hawai‘i (he came in 1857.) He is credited with building the first Catholic place of worship for the Puna district.

Sometime in the early 1900s, Father Ulrich Taube, built a wooden church in Kalapana, closer to the villagers and Father Evarist replaced that church, close to the beach and villagers. The church was blessed on April 19, 1931 and dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary under the title of Star of the Sea. Father Evarist painted stories of the Bible on the walls, columns and ceiling of the Star of the Sea Church; he painted to instruct his parishioners (many could not read.) On January 3, 1983 the Pu‘u ‘O‘o eruption on the east rift zone of Kilauea Volcano began. Almost lost was Star of the Sea. As the lava approached, church parishioners decided to move the building to safety.

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Wahaʻula Heiau

No keia heiau oia ke kapu enaena.(Concerning this heiau is the burning tabu.) ‘Enaena’ means ‘burning with a red hot rage.’ The heiau was so

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